Jen Yang’s Stargazing in the Classroom novel study full lessons, CLICK HERE.
In Jen Yang’s graphic novel Stargazing, readers are taken on a heartwarming journey of self-discovery with a young girl named Moon. Through her struggles at school, dealing with bullies and trying to fit in, Moon finds comfort in finding the constellations that fill the night sky. Educators can use this story to help students develop empathy, resilience, and an appreciation for the natural world. Let’s take a look at how you can use this novel to teach your students.
Introduce Students to Graphic Novels
Graphic novels offer an exciting way for students to engage with literature, but many may not be familiar with them. Before introducing Stargazing, it’s important that you explain what a graphic novel is and how it differs from traditional novels. Talk about the features of graphic novels, such as words and illustrations working together to tell stories, panels showing different scenes or moments in time, and the use of text bubbles or thought boxes. You can even show examples of other popular graphic novels (e.g., Maus or Persepolis) so that students have a better understanding of what they’re going to be reading.
Explore Themes Through Discussion
Stargazing is full of interesting themes which can be explored through classroom discussions. Have students think critically about topics like family dynamics, identity formation, cultural norms and expectations, mental health issues, and more. Ask open-ended questions such as “What do you think this character was feeling?” or “What message do you think this scene conveys?” These discussions will help your students develop critical thinking skills while also deepening their understanding of the book’s content.
Encourage Creative Thinking
Graphic novels offer endless possibilities for creative expression! As your class reads Stargazing, encourage your students to express their interpretations through artwork or writing pieces related to the story’s themes. For example, ask them to create a comic strip inspired by one of the characters’ experiences or write a poem about one of their own personal struggles related to Stargazing‘s themes. This will give them an opportunity to practice their own creativity while also giving them an outlet for self-expression.
Creating Connections Between Characters and Students
The story of Stargazing is about a girl overcoming adversity through her resilience and perseverance. By connecting with Moon’s struggles, students can understand that they are not alone when facing challenges in their lives. Stargazing offers educators an opportunity to discuss issues such as bullying and peer pressure, as well as how these experiences can shape our identity and sense of self-worth. Through discussion questions or writing prompts, educators could ask students what they think of Moon’s journey and if they have ever experienced similar situations themselves.
Integrating Science into the Curriculum
Stargazing also provides an opportunity for educators to introduce concepts related to astronomy and science into their lesson plans. The story takes place in Taiwan where Moon visits multiple sites of astronomical significance like the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. Educators can use these sites as examples to discuss topics such as star formation, constellations, different types of stars, etc., while relating them back to Moon’s journey throughout the book. By incorporating science into the novel study, educators can create meaningful connections between literature and science that will stay with students long after they finish reading the book.
Stargazing offers readers a unique perspective on intersectionality by exploring themes around culture, family dynamics, gender roles, language barriers among other things through its characters’ experiences. You could ask your students how they think these issues relate to their own lives or even compare their own culture or family dynamics with those presented in Stargazing. This allows students to explore different perspectives while also developing empathy for others who may have different backgrounds than them.
The conversation surrounding Stargazing should be open and honest. Encourage students to discuss their own experiences like those of Moon, the protagonist of the novel. Allow students to share stories with each other and have conversations about topics such as immigration, identity, bullying, prejudice, family dynamics, and more. Help guide these conversations by asking questions like “How does Moon feel when she experiences racism?” or “What advice would you give Moon if you were her friend?” Use these conversations to help your students better understand themselves and their peers while fostering empathy and understanding amongst one another.
Technology can provide many opportunities for learning with Stargazing. Have students create character profiles on Google Slides or use video editing software like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Rush to create short clips based on events from the novel (with parent permission). You could also ask students to create podcasts discussing themes from the book or use a 3D animation program like Blender to design a scene from the novel that they then share with the class. Allowing students to be creative with technology will facilitate engagement with both the material itself as well as contemporary digital tools that can be useful later on in their lives.
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Encourage Writing Projects
Writing projects are a great way for students to express what they have learned from Stargazing through traditional literary expression such as poetry or short stories. Ask them to write about events from the book that resonated strongly with them or use character dialogue prompts (such as “How would Moon respond if…?”) as writing assignments for your class. Give your students options so that they can choose which kind of writing project works best for them personally – creativity is key here! Once completed, encourage them to share their work with one another so they can learn from each other’s unique perspectives too!
Jen Yang’s Stargazing is a wonderfully impactful story about resilience, self-discovery, perseverance and cultural differences that both children and adults alike can connect with on so many levels—whether it be through its characters’ stories or its exploration of astronomy concepts within its narrative structure.. As an educator looking for ways to engage your students while teaching important life lessons around empathy and understanding others from different backgrounds – then look no further! With proper discussion points & activities prepared beforehand – educators have everything they need at their fingertips to successfully integrate Stargazing into their curriculum!