Classic novels for the "eggs and bacon with a side of classics" program

Educator Name: Luke Nowinsky
School Name: All Saints Catholic School

Approximately five years ago, our Middle School language arts department started a program titled "Eggs and Bacon with a Side of Classics." Two mornings a week before the start of the school day, the students have breakfast and engage in an in-depth discussion and analysis of a variety of assigned classic novels. Some of the authors who have been used in the past include Steinbeck, Cather, Hemmingway, Twain, and Dickens. For the program to be truly successful, it is essential that classroom sets of novels be purchased so that each student can have his/her own copy to read outside of class. While we do have a limited supply of novels on hand, we would like to purchase many more classroom sets so that students are exposed to a greater variety of classic literature.

The literature-based topics and concepts covered in this extra curricular program (setting, theme, conflict, character analysis, plot) would serve to increase the students' knowledge and skill level within the normal classroom setting.

Because differentiated instruction is a key initiative of our school, we are always looking for ways to diversify our instruction so as to meet the educational needs of our students. We feel that this program definitely helps us to move in that direction. The program has been successful in its first five years and the interest level has been extremely high, but in order for us to maintain that level of interest, we need to have the necessary resources to regularly rotate the classic novels being taught.

We currently use the Measures of Academic Progress standardized test with students three times per school year. Data analysis of students enrolled in this program for evaluative, interpretive, and literal comprehension, as well as literary response/analysis is fairly easy to obtain and measure. My teaching strategies, instructional techniques, and delivery of material can always be adjusted based on the results of the tests. In addition to this quantitative data, qualitative data on students' opinions and feelings could be obtained through the use of Likert-based surveys.