The fourth grade theme is RELATIONSHIPS which lends itself wonderfully to a study of the novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In the story, the character Mary Lennox is handed over to an Ayah at birth and left to be raised by the servants. Mary is a self-absorbed child who does not respond to affection or even cry when her mother dies. What could cause a child to be so crass?
In steps the fourth grader to analyze this character from the perspective of a psychologist. First, however, the students work as a group to define the work, language, skills and products of a psychologist in the form of a Kaplan Frame. ”Can fourth graders really do this?” you might ask. “Isn’t it a bit lofty?” Indeed it is lofty, and they are rising to the occasion!
Thinking like a psychologist, students have made several entries on their Sharepoint sites in which they are analyzing the characters’ relationships and behaviors in The Secret Garden. Their ability and insight to do this has been quite impressive and a bit surprising! Stay tuned for a few samples of student work.