Objectives Introduce students to difficulties Learning Disabled students experience. Introduce students to difficulties Gifted students experience. Help students relate to LD and Gifted student’s insecurities by making them aware of the same insecurities in their own lives.
Materials Needed Set of Freak the Mighty books written by Rodman Philbrick “The Pile of Junk” reading disability worksheet
Book Overview Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick, is a young adult novel based on the friendship between two eighth grade boys named Max and Kevin. Max, a shy, giant-sized boy with a Learning Disability forms very unique friendship with Kevin, a small handicapped gifted boy, that just moved into the neighborhood. Throughout this fun and cleverly written novel, Kevin shows Max that he is not the “stupid butthead” he thinks he is, while Max allows Kevin to experience some much needed fun and a friend to confide in.
Reading Disability Worksheet After chapter three, the students will be aware of Max’s learning disability. The students will be led through an activity that will help them see through the eyes of Max while he tries to read. The symbols are a representation of something an LD student sees, followed with a translation. The students will need to remember the meaning for the symbols for future sentences.
Essay Activity Why is Max convinced he doesn’t have a brain? Is his assessment of himself as a “butthead” correct? Do our opinions of ourselves affect what others think of us? Do others opinions of us affect how we feel about ourselves?
Preventing Antisocial Behavior in Disabled and At-Risk Students http://www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/ad d_adhd/ael_behavior.html This website is about preventing antisocial behavior in disabled and at-risk students. It talks about risk factors specific to ADHD and LD students. This relates to the previous activity because antisocial behavior can cause students to look at LD students differently.
“My name is Maxwell, but kids at school and in my class call me many other names. I'm not too smart, and am in the LD class at school. “ -Max
Debate With Freak’s help, Max is making great progress as a learner. Mr. Meehan is convinced that Max has never had learning disabilities, but that he was simply lazy, stubborn, and disinterested. Prepare yourself for a debate. Choose a partner and prepare arguments supporting the opinion that Max is lazy or that Max is smart but has a learning disability. Then use your arguments to debate your partner.
Debate Prompts I believe Max is lazy because….. I believe Max is learning disabled because….
Site Information This site provides information concerning questions about educational options, medication, and ways for families to cope with learning disabled children.
A Gift of Words: Dictionary Activity Students will be asked to make their own dictionary as they read the last 15 chapters of the book. Any words that they do not know, or any words that they find funny should be underlined and added to their own personal dictionary, just like Kevin’s personal dictionary. The students should also look up the definitions for each of the words, and make up a definition for the funny words they choose.
A Gift of Words This activity emphasizes Freak’s true intelligence and creativity. Why might Max have hated dictionaries? What might Max hope to gain from having Freak’s dictionary? Invite students to share their new words with the class.
Helping Your Highly Gifted Child http://www.ericfacility.net/ericdiges ts/ed321482.htmlhttp://www.ericfacility.net/ericdiges ts/ed321482.html This web site deals with the social and emotional needs of gifted children, as well as information on schools and understanding differences.
Walk in a character's shoes Imagine that, by magic, you switch places with either Freak or Maxwell. Pick an important event from the story and retell the scene with yourself in the character's place (be sure to show how you would act differently and/or make different decisions.)
Sample Gifted Program Curriculum This website provides a description of activities for gifted students at a middle school in Georgia. http://hub.catoosa.k12.ga.us /rms/gifted.htm