High School
English Language Arts

Teaching The Glass Castle with Sensitivity and Focus

Oftentimes texts for English classes focus much more on fiction than nonfiction. Students like reading memoirs because they are relatable and many memoir writers are still living. Students have the opportunity to read interviews, watch movie adaptations and create their own memoirs. The Glass Castle must be taught with sensitivity due to possible student associations with hunger, poverty, and abuse.
A Collection By Melissa Mirabello
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Teaching The Glass Castle with Sensitivity and Focus
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    Wow! This is a comprehensive site that truly gives everything you need to start your lessons and activities for this book. I especially liked the resource list with interviews of Walls and her mom. The "Bad Parenting" article can lead to inspired classroom discussion. The essay topics that focus on controversial issues are also relevant to modern teenagers and will foster constructive debate. Overall, an outstanding site.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    It is important for teachers to know what their students may be accessing online to support their understanding of the book. This novel guide may serve as an aide for class discussion or it may help a teacher know if a student is truly reading the book or just summaries and analysis on the Internet. I tell my students that it is not "wrong" to look at online resources; however, reading the actual text is paramount to their learning.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    If you do not have the time to create your own questions about the book, this is a powerful resource for you. It has nine pages of interdisciplinary prompts that thoroughly examine the text and give teachers the opportunity to teach the book as a school or with a cohort.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    The Glass Castle has an abundance of themes and conflicts that it may be difficult to determine student goals for the text. This lesson plan focuses on the family and its effect on students. The author includes poetry, thought-provoking journal prompts, poignant discussion points, and video clips to enhance instruction. I plan on using some of the ideas on this site.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    One of the beauties of teaching English is the ability to choose how we teach a book. Prereading activities and questions can often make or break a student's motivation to read. Here are some provoking questions regarding nature vs. nurture and guided reading prompts. You may use them as is or revise/edit them to work for your students.
  • Melissa Mirabello says:
    The book was published in March 2015 and this interview occurred in October, so I like the proximity between the two…the material is still fresh in the author's mind and the book is "new" on the scene. You could use excerpts from the interview, look at the comments, or ask students what questions they would ask the author. Either way, this interview helps students understand the author's background and rationale for writing the book.
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:How can a memoir encourage student empathy?