This quarter, we read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton with our 8th grade English class. I love studying this book with my newly-turned-teenagers because it looks at themes like social class, violence, and brotherhood. We look at judgement, at cliques, at assumptions that we make about people and the damage that it does. If this book wasn’t a part of your high school English curriculum, I suggest checking it out!
Our culminating activity for this unit is “Outsiders Day”, primarily known for the costume of the day. We all dress up like 50’s style Socs (rich, preppy kids) or Greasers (the tough kids). The kids attend their first few classes of the day in their get-up, then the whole 8th grade converges on the meeting room to partake in a fashion show, games, and conversation.
They go through games representing daily activities, but soon find that the Soc team has all of the advantages, while the Greasers are handicapped for almost every contest. We cap everything off with a “rumble”; all of the boys from each team line up and arm wrestle until there is only one man left standing!
After finishing the competition (which the Socs always win), we sit and take time to reflect on how we felt during the games and how they relate to the book.
The kids came up with some great thoughts about class privilege, the way it made them bond together, the way that it made the underdogs get creative in trying to rise up.