Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild novel study full lessons, CLICK HERE.
Clipart from Queen’s Educational Resources HERE
Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild is an iconic work of non-fiction that has captivated readers for decades. In it, Krakauer tells the story of Chris McCandless, a young man who ventured off into the Alaskan wilderness in search of adventure and ultimately perished. The book is a timeless tale of human perseverance, ambition, and determination—all qualities that make it perfect for teaching in the classroom. Here are some tips on how to teach this classic work of literature in a meaningful and engaging way.
Set the Stage by Exploring McCandless’s Motivations
Before diving into the book itself, spend some time exploring why McCandless decided to take his journey in the first place. Discuss what drew him to nature – was it a desire to escape from society or something else? Talk about how our motivations can often lead us down paths we never anticipated. This will help your students appreciate why McCandless embarked on his ill-fated journey and will provide them with valuable insight into his character.
Discussing Different Perspectives
In Into the Wild, Krakauer presents several different perspectives on McCandless’s life and death. He interviews many people who knew McCandless as well as those who encountered him during his travels. Ask your students to compare these perspectives and discuss how they shape our understanding of what happened to McCandless. This exercise will give them practice in analyzing multiple points of view on complex topics—a skill that is essential for success both inside and outside of the classroom.
Exploring Nature vs Nurture
One of the themes at play in Into the Wild is nature versus nurture – did Chris’s upbringing influence his decision to venture off into nature or was he simply born with an adventurous spirit? Hold a class discussion about this topic and ask your students which side they think had more influence over Chris’s decisions before having them read excerpts from the book to back up their opinions. This type of analysis will help your students develop their critical thinking skills while also immersing themselves in Krakauer’s text.
Create an Engaging Discussion
One of the most important pieces of teaching any book is creating an engaging discussion about it. Before beginning to read, ask your students questions such as “What makes this story interesting?” or “What do you think will happen throughout the story?” After reading each chapter or section, have your students discuss their thoughts and feelings about what they just read. This encourages critical thinking and active engagement with the text. Additionally, when possible, draw connections between what your students are reading and their own lives. This can help bring relevance to the material and make it more meaningful to them.
Teach Different Perspectives
Into the Wild is told from multiple perspectives and is full of difficult-to-answer questions about life and morality. During your discussion of each character’s perspective, encourage your students to consider other points of view and weigh different sides in order to form their own opinion on various topics raised in Krakauer’s novel.
Integrate Technology into Your Lessons
Using technology in the classroom is a great way to keep your students engaged with challenging material like Into the Wild. Have them create podcasts or short videos about their favorite part of each chapter or share digital presentations about their interpretations of characters’ motivations or actions within the story. By allowing them to express themselves creatively through technology, you can help make sure they stay involved with learning this book inside and outside of class time!
CLICK HERE for the Digital Course Above.
Choose Your Format
The first step in teaching “Into the Wild” is to decide which format you want to use. You can assign it as required reading, or you can break it up into smaller sections and assign each section over several weeks or months. Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages; for example, assigned reading requires less preparation but also takes longer to complete. On the other hand, breaking up sections allows for more flexibility and customization but requires more preparation time upfront.
Create Discussion Questions
Once you have chosen your format, it’s time to create discussion questions. This is important because it helps students think critically about what they are reading and encourages them to engage with the text on a deeper level. If you are assigning sections of “Into the Wild” over several weeks or months, then create discussion questions for each section so students can interact with each other as they read through different parts of the book. Some good topics might include Chris McCandless’ character development throughout his journey, his motivations for living off the land in Alaska, and his interactions with other people he meets along the way.
Encourage Deeper Thinking
Once students have finished reading Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, encourage them to think critically about what they’ve read by asking them open-ended questions such as: What did you learn from this book? How do you think Chris McCandless would feel if he could see himself today? What advice would he give his younger self if given the chance? These types of questions help students explore ideas on their own without being constrained by predetermined answers or responses from instructors or peers. They also encourage students to reflect on their own values and beliefs based on what they’ve read in “Into The Wild.”
Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild is a powerful story that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and discussion when taught in a classroom setting. Through examining different perspectives, discussing motivations, and looking at nature versus nurture, teachers can help their students gain valuable insights about human behavior while also giving them practice with essential reading comprehension skills such as interpretation, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. By introducing this classic work into their lesson plans, educators can ensure that their classes have an engaging experience with one of literature’s most enduring works!
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