Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LAFFF by Lensey Namioka

The story LAFFF is about two Chinese families and their invention of a time machine.  The topic not only deals with cultural differences,but also it is science fiction text, which can be hard to decipher for anyone.  I chose this text because I was teaching it today and saw the difficulties it gave my struggling readers.  Here is my list:
1. The kids talk about how important education is to Chinese parents .  They do not have a choice but to do well in school. To help them with this they can make a Venn diagram comparing the similarities and differences between Chinese parents and their parents.
2.  They talk about how the main characer is a nerd. He dresses in bright colored socks, and wears glasses.  To some cultures that would not mean nerdy, but just part of their culture. ELL students could draw a picture with the teacher and discuss the vocabulary word "nerd".
3. The next topic would be that of time travel.  This is not a term that can be visualized, so whatever is done must be very explicit.  Cooperative groups would work well.  With teacher and students explain what time travel would look like.  Also, make it very clear that this is somthing that can't be done.  My students really wanted to discuss this concept.  They really wanted to believe that it could.
4.One of the characters, Angela decided to use the time machine to win a writing contest.  This is a moral decision that effects the plot of the story.  The importance of this may be hard for students to understand.  Teachers can use a graphic organizer to discuss the difference between right and wrong.  Why is cheating not the right thing to do? What does cheating mean? 

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