Tag Archives: Fahrenheit 451

Making connections between texts and the world

9 Mar

The Huffington Post recently ran two articles which would be perfect to use when making real world connections with texts.

In the first article, entitled ‘Is This Modern Book Burning?‘ the author refers, amongst other things, to the recent decision of a Catholic school to ‘dis-invite’ an author to speak to students after he revealed he was gay.  The author sees this act as a form of censorship which is unconscionable and, (perhaps melodramatically) notes that this puts Australia “one step away from building a pile of books, dousing them in petrol, and striking a match.”  This article, and the inevitable ensuing discussion about censorship as imposed by institutions, would be a great springboard for making connections between the ideas in Fahrenheit 451 and the real world.

The second article, entitled ‘Are We Living in 1984, Even Though It’s 2016‘ is about surveillance as facilitated by citizens’ sharing (often unknowingly) of data and information with various applications and companies.   As suggested by the title of the article, this article can be used to prompt students to discuss some of key themes of Orwell’s 1984.


Summing it up in song

22 Feb

My students responded really positively to the Extension Activity that sought to tease out the connection between ‘I could be the one’ and quotes from Fahrenheit 451.

Their enthusiasm got me thinking about what other songs could be added to the F451 playlist.

Below are my thoughts thus far:

  • I’m glad you came’ by The Wanted: Montag thinking about the impact that Clarisse has had
  • Radioactive‘ by Imagine Dragons:  Montag approaches Faber with a plan to change the system
  • Time is on my side‘ by the Rolling Stones: Granger explains that they have to wait until society is ready for the knowledge contained in books (and now stored in their minds)

I think I might challenge my students to collaborate and create a playlist.

That is my song!

16 Feb

I have mentioned previously that I have a fantastic year 10 English class.  The are fantastic for a whole range of reasons, not least of all because they are participating in their online extension activities and offering meaningful feedback about the tasks they have been set.

My students have just completed a task focused on the type of freedom represented by Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451.  One student offered a suggestion for stimulus.  He suggested that I set the Avicii song ‘I could be the one‘ and ask students to comment on how it illuminates the concept of freedom.

I really like his suggestion, however I think it might be a bit too broad to elicit focused answers.  Instead, I want to provide students with the clip and the poem ‘Barter‘ and ask them to identify the character represented in these stimuli and provide a justification for their choice.

Another option would be to provide the song and two key quotes and ask the students to construct an essay using the provided information.  See, for example, HANDOUT – Extension task 4 (aka super extension).

The impact of technology

9 Feb

As you have no doubt figured out by now, I am a HUGE fan of spoken word poetry.  So much so, I am on a mission to introduce as many students to it as possible.  As it turns out, many of the themes addressed through spoken word appear very relevant to Fahrenheit 451 (see, for example, this post and this post).

Today I found yet another spoken word poem that can be used in this unit!  The poem is entitled ‘Touchscreen‘ and it is written and presented by Marshall Soulful Jones.  I want to use this stimulus for a discussion activity about the role of technology in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.  I am going to ask students to view the clip and note down key ideas.  We are then going to discuss some of the downsides of relying on technology and existing in a society where reliance on technology is the norm.

After this activity, students will be broken into small groups.  In those groups, they will discuss whether the technology in Fahrenheit 451 constrains or enhances freedom.

Importance of writing

9 Feb

I wrote earlier about a spoken word poetry performance that I wanted to show my year 10 class in order to help them understand the importance of reading.  I also want to show them the importance of writing and, in particular, the idea that writing can be transformative.

Again, I am turning to spoken word to illustrate those ideas.  The Twin Poets’ poem ‘Why I write‘, for example, emphasises that we should write to acknowledge society and fill gaps experienced in society.  As with the poem ‘I can’t read’, I would get my students to listen to the performance and write a reflective piece about the poem’s message.  I might also get students to reflect on whether or not they consider these valid reasons for writing, and if there are other reasons why writing is important.

‘I can’t read’

8 Feb

My year 10 class is studying Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.  As part of their study, they will be examining ideas about censorship, literacy and technology.

One of the ideas that I want students to understand is that reading opens doors; it is an essential skill.

In order to get them thinking about that idea, I want them to view Lamont Carey’s Def Poetry performance of ‘I can’t read‘.  Students will view the performance, and then write a short reflective piece on the importance of reading.

Year 10 English

5 Feb

I have a fantastic Year 10 English class!  They are smart, relatively engaged and willing to give things a go.

In order to reward their hard work, and to facilitate opportunities for student extension and support, I have put together a website for the class.  In essence, the website will act as a repository of they key information and ideas that we cover this year.

The website is very similar to the one that I made for Year 11.  Like the Year 11 site, there are links to related texts, glossaries, dictionaries and the like.

A pinball debate

4 Feb

Today my Year 10 class participated in a pinball debate.

What is a pinball debate?  Well, quite simply, it is a debate during which ideas bounce around the classroom.  It works as follows:

  • The teacher suggests a topic/poses a question (ours was: should we, as a society, be allowed to read whatever books we wish?)
  • Student 1 stands up and offers an opinion.
  • Student 2 wishes to counter that opinion, so student 2 stands up.
  • Once student 2 stands up, student 1 must sit down.
  • Student 2 offers an opinion.
  • Student 3 wishes to offer an example that supports the view of student 2, so student 3 stands up.
  • Once student 3 stands up, student 2 must sit down.
  • Student 3 offers an opinion.
  • Student 4 wishes to throw a complicating question into the mix, so student 4 stands up.
  • Once student 4 stands up, student 3 must sit down.

The game continues like this until such time as everyone/most people have had their say.

I was super impressed with my students today.  They had some really interesting ideas and they were quick on their feet.


Celsius 232.778

1 Feb

As it turns out, my Year 10 students have already studied To Kill a Mockingbird.  As such, I spent yesterday afternoon hunting in the book room for a new book, and I will be spending this weekend writing a new unit of work.

As flagged in the title of this post, our new set text is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Our unit, entitled ‘fREADom’ will focus on the power of language and the importance of books.

However, before we begin analyzing, students must understand (in general terms) what the story is about.  I am going to give my students two options for accessing a text summary: Thug Notes, or a John Green vlog post.  I will also have handouts available in case the technology does not work.