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Little Fires Everywhere TPT Teaser

I’m using my education experience developing curriculum materials to build products for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have not launched materials... yet. I finished reading Little Fires Everywhere and it was such an incredibly powerful read. It has the kind of the depth that knocks your breath out. It also covers a number of mature topics and includes a sprinkling of colorful profanity that would bar it from most middle school and conservative high school classrooms. However, I understand the limitations many teachers face. As much as they may want to, a deep dive novel study is not always a feasible option when paired with a plethora of district requirements.

Depending on how hands-on a district can be with respect to mandating or suggesting curriculum materials, teachers may or may not have the autonomy to select their own resources. In other words, the reality is most teachers have little more room in their lesson plans than a bell ringer or, if they’re lucky, a weekly literature circle activity, to interject their own selections. Given that reality, I do not plan on creating full-fledged deep dive novel studies. I plan on creating resources that could be incorporated as bell-ringers, literature circles, or other extension activities priced at the $1-$5 price range.

What I am asking from my teacher friends out there is feedback. Is something like this feasible for you given your district expectations? If you were to spend $1 on TPT for a resource, what is your expectations? How would your expectations vary for a $1 versus $5 TPT product? If you do not follows TEKS or CCSR because your state uses different standards and you’re interested in products, please email me your state standards and I’ll incorporate those in future products. In fact, if you’re a teacher, have an idea but don’t have time to develop it, email me. Print friendly PDF below.

Also, teachers, pedagogical strategies, and districts have their own jargon for essentially the same action. Whether you’re encouraged to say Think, Pair, Share; Pair-Trio-Share; Turn and Talk; or any other variation, adjust accordingly and try to maintain consistency.

Little Fires Everywhere Anticipatory Book Review

Note to Teachers: These activities can be done independent of reading Little Fires Everywhere (LFE) by Celeste Ng and you can certainly pick and choose which ones you wish to incorporate in your class. What I would strongly encourage is allocating a couple minutes for steps 1 and 2. Don’t underestimate the growth returns derived from independent struggle. If this paragraph is too difficult, there are numerous other reviews to select that are shorter and more accessible to struggling readers.

1. Share the following review with your students from the Boston Globe about LFE.

“Delectable and engrossing... A complex and compulsively readable suburban saga that is deeply invested in mothers and daughters... What Ng has written, in this thoroughly entertaining novel, is a pointed and persuasive social critique, teasing out the myriad forms of privilege and predation that stand between so many people and their achievement of the American dream. But there is a heartening optimism, too. This is a book that believes in the transformative powers of art and genuine kindness— and in the promise of new growth, even after devastation, even after everything has turned to ash.”

—Boston Globe

Suggestion: This is a very rich paragraph. For quality student results, enjoy the silence and allow ample think time. Student copy below for annotation and notes.

2. Independently, have students jot a list of observations about the review. If they’re stuck, suggest the following to get them started:

  • Word Choice/Vocabulary (words that stand out, have an impactful connotation, or this could also be a list of unfamiliar vocabulary words);

  • Punctuation (specifically the use of an ellipsis. Out loud wondering can be, “Hmmm... an ellipse consists of three periods in a row. Why would the author of this review choose to include the ellipsis in those places?” Mini lesson on ellipsis in step #5);

  • Themes (mother-daughter relationships, privilege and predation, achievement of the American dream, transformation);

  • Tone (pointed and persuasive social critique, teasing, heartening optimism)

  • Setting (suburban community);

  • Predictions about LFE based on evidence in the review (emphasize evidence-based predictions, not conjecture) Answers will vary;

  • Write questions about the text? Answers will vary.

3. Share with a partner or small group (pairs and trios are preferred because it allows greater participation from all members). Compile observations into chart paper, Padlet (if class is digital), a class notebook, or have groups add their observations to a whole class list or idea map on the board.

4. Gallery walk and class discussion. Gallery walk can be digital or other modifications based on classroom protocols;

The purpose of steps 1-4 is to allow students to create their own ideas, build on each other’s ideas, and hone in on evidence-based predictions.

5. Mini-Lesson on the Ellipsis:

Definition: The ellipsis ..... ., or …, also known informally as dot-dot-dot, is a series of dots that indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.

This link ( is the unabridged review from the Boston Globe. Have students take the unabridged review and highlight the parts of the condensed review.

Guiding Questions:

5a. Why would the author include those specific passages?

5b. Many of the omissions include a plot summary. Why would a summary not be included in a condensed review?

6. Allow students to find (or you select) a multi-paragraph book review. Have students highlight the most important parts of the review. Using the ellipsis, condense the review to a single paragraph while keeping the original language of the text.

Little Fires Everywhere - Anticipatory B
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