Last year I started teaching the novel with a small group of seniors. We already read the entire Hunger Games trilogy when they were sophomores, so I was in need of another good book for those reluctant readers. This year I teach almost all the seniors and decided to use it again. I was a little nervous, wondering if the girls in my classes would like it as well as the boys (I only had one girl in class last year). But I found out that the girls liked it just as much as the boys. I have a waiting list of students wanting to check out my classroom copies of The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men, the other two books in the Chaos Walking trilogy.
If having a lack of materials keeps you from using this novel in your classroom, I've recently uploaded several and there are others out there, as well. Candlewick Press has a page with links and resources. (Let me say that the audio version is phenomenal!)
This year I opened up with this anticipatory activity, in which students record their thoughts in a thought bubble. Then, I had students read their thoughts aloud. In small groups they recorded their thoughts using Quicktime, though some students used online tools like Voki. The class came together and everyone played their thought recordings at once. They agreed that it sounded like a noisy cafeteria, barely being able to pick out individual thoughts. I asked them what they thought it would be like to always hear this noise? This led into our discussion about the "Noise" in The Knife of Never Letting Go and the challenges we would have with others if people could constantly hear what we were thinking.
You can listen to their final recording here:
You can download the anticipatory activity free from my teacher store, here:
You can also check out my other lessons, which are aligned with the 11-12 Common Core State Standards.