Union, NJ – Seventh grade students at Kawameeh Middle School had the opportunity last week to participate in a reflective activity in their language arts classes after the completion of the novel “The Outsiders.”
The novel, by S. E. Hinton, follows two rival groups, the Greasers and the Socials, who are divided by their socioeconomic status. As part of the activity at Kawameeh, students and teachers dressed up like either the Greasers or the Socials and participated in relay race activities that enabled them to understand what life is like as an outsider, face adversity and challenges, and how to overcome those obstacles.
“For many preteens, their middle school years are often a time when cliques or groups begin to form, and people begin to feel ostracized,” said a seventh grade teacher. “Feeling like an “outsider” or being judged unfairly based on stereotypes can have negative implications, and for many students, the main character’s experience is one in which they can relate.”
“Although violence played an integral part in how the Greasers and Socials attempted to solve their problems,” continued the teacher, “our students learned that there are many other ways to resolve conflicts. In addition, we hoped that students realized that “things are rough all over” and all people face challenges in life regardless of your social status. The important lesson is learning how to overcome those obstacles.”
By participating in the relay activities and seventh grade cross curricular activities/lessons, the students had an opportunity to assume the role of either a Greaser or Social, and experience what life may have been like for a teenager in the 1960s. Through this first-hand experience, students were also able to examine the adversity, identity, stereotypes, and loyalty.