Shelbi Ciccone Exploring a change of scenery in Khaled Hosseini’s

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Exploring a change of scenery in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner

Teaching a unit to your students on the book The Kite Runner will expand their vocabulary and broaden their cultural literature. Juniors and seniors should be taught this lesson plan. Teaching these students that are in their last few years of high school should allow them to understand the novel and all its vocabulary. To fully teach this novel you should set a time frame of 3 weeks. This will allow you time to spend each class working with the novel. A unit on this novel will allow students to not only focus on the different vocabulary that will be great to incorporate in the unit but also give the class a cultural expansion. Most students are taught novels that only involve the American culture. Branching out and introducing your students to another culture can be easily achieved in this book.

In this unit students will hold discussions daily to make sure they fully understand all that the novel entails. It is necessary that your discussions allow all questions students may have to be answered. Journals are to be handed out to your class and assigned at the beginning of the unit to be written in once nightly. This will allow your students to write any questions they may have while reading and keep up with their writing. Afghanistan culture will play a big role in this unit so background information on the culture should be researched by your students in the beginning of the unit.

By completing this lesson plan with your class students will gain knowledge on a new culture that they have not learned previous information on. My big writing assignment strays away from the typical essay completed after most units and focuses on a different way of making sure students understood the novel. Since The Kite Runner is a book that will introduce the students to a new culture, I thought that creating an ending assignment around this culture would be interesting for the students. The relationship that Amir and his father have with Hassan and his father was an interesting concept to me. Assigning the students an project where they were to take that relationship and life the four men have and put them into a different culture was the first thing that I could think to have the students do. This assignment will allow the students to not only learn about the Afghanistan culture but also learn about four other cultures as well. Although each student will only be researching and writing about either the European, Mexican, urban American, or high class American culture, they will present their papers at the end of the unit to inform their research to the rest of the class.

From this final project students will be expected to…

  • learn new or more information on cultures different from their own

  • learn how to work better in groups and learn to use the information given by classmates in peer reviews or group discussions to their advantage

  • learn how to use the resources around them better i.e. the library and computer lab.

To teach this unit you will need to provide your students each with a copy of the book The Kite Runner and also pick up a copy of the film The Kite Runner. It is important to make sure that you have gone through and read the book taking in depth notes on the novel. Showing the entire film in class will take up to much time so little clips from the movie should be pulled out. These clips can be found on youtube or marked in the movie. When showing the clips in class make sure you explain to your students why you chose to pick these parts out of the movie. Showing such spots as the kite-fighting tournament and when Amir and his father escape from Kabul. Making sure that your students have access to the computer lab at least one day a week is also necessary. When you first introduce the unit you should also provide your students with journals that will be used continually throughout the unit. These journals will play a huge role in making sure your students are completing the reading they are assigned every night. Also creating a new setup for your classroom will play a role in your preparation. To teach this unit since it will involve much teacher student’s discussion, rearrange the desks in your classroom into a big circle. This will create a better atmosphere for the discussions and give you a view of your entire class to hopefully keep everyone in on the conversations.

On the first day of this unit once you have taken attendance you should introduce Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner to your students. When doing this present them with information on the author and give a brief summary of this book. Background information on the author will allow the students to understand some context behind the novel they are about to read. Once you have introduced and handed out the novel to your students a good beginning activity can be worked on. Hand out the journals you have bought for your students and explain the use of these. Clarify that these journals are to be written in every night after the students have completed their reading. It is important for your students to understand that you will not be judging them with a grading scale on what is written in these journals just making sure they are keeping up. Writings in the journal can include things such as: thoughts on the chapter(s) read, what you think it would be like to live Amir’s life, words you did not understand, etc. Once you hand out these journals split your class into groups of 3-4 people. In these groups inform the students that they will be discussing any previous knowledge that they may have on the Afghanistan culture. When in these groups the students should write some thoughts or information in their journals to document the knowledge they have discussed as a group. As homework tell your students that they are to research the Afghan culture and each write down something they found interesting in their journal’s to share with their class in the morning. Before your students leave for the day make sure that they know they have to read chapters 1 and 2 for reading.

On the second day of your teaching unit begin the class discussing the interesting facts that your students learned via research last night. Allow each student to discuss what they found with the class. This could also lead into a discussion on how the information that students found when researching online varied from their previous knowledge on the Afghanistan culture before. After you hold this discussion give the students 5 minutes to write down in their journals how their knowledge has changed on this culture from researching it. Once the students complete this journal writing spend time with your students discussing their thoughts on the first two chapters they have read. Encourage your students to read what they have written in their journals about these chapters. Allowing your students to read these may encourage them to keep up with their writings so they can share their thoughts. Since it is the first day after reading the discussion and questions may stretch to the entire class period. This is not a bad thing because it will allow you to ask your students about any questions they may have had when reading or questions they may have before continuing on reading. Again before you leave remind your students that chapters 3 and 4 must be read and the journals are to be written in again. Inform the students that words they did not understand can be added to the journals and discussed in the classroom the following day.

Days three four and five will each continue on with discussions. On day three work with vocabulary that students not fully understand. The fourth day should allow time for discussion that should factor in making sure the students realize the five main characters in this book. Establishing the main characters can help the students to understand the novel better. Day five should continue with discussion but end with reminding the students that three journals are to be written over the weekend. Although these days will mostly be made of discussion’s these discussions must be focused on discussing what is happening in the book with the characters and making sure that your students fully understand how Amir’s culture plays such a great role in his lifestyle. Making sure that the students understand that is important because it will help them in writing their big assignment due at the end of the unit.

On day six when the students return from the weekend hold a short discussion to make sure the students not only completed the reading they were to do over the weekend but also understood what they read. The majority of this class should involve discussing and assigning the big assignment due at the end of this unit. Hand out the sheets for what is expected for your end project and break your students into groups. Explain to the students that for their final project instead of creating a traditional essay they will write a different essay. This essay will involve the students researching different cultures for Amir’s lifestyle. Make sure the students know that they are not writing a new storyline but instead writing a paper on how the story would be different if Amir were to be raised in a different culture. These papers should include cultural information on the new culture Amir is put in and how the relationships would change in the story due to this new culture. Also instruct the students to explain how cultural plays a role in a person’s lifestyle. These groups will remain the same for the rest of the unit. In these groups have the students exchange emails and phone numbers so that they can stay in contact to help each other with the final project. In the groups explain that each group is going to be assigned the same culture. The different cultures that will be divvied up between your students are European, Mexican, urban American, and high class America. If discussing the final project does not take up the entire class period allow the extra time at the end for students to start brainstorming in their groups with one another. Make sure that students understand this is an individual project and you are just in groups to peer edit and help each other brainstorm.

On the seventh and eighth day students should spend the class period in the computer lab researching and beginning their papers. Create a checklist for your class of tasks that should be completed while they are in the computer lab so they can stay focused. Make sure to notify the students that you and the librarian can help with any questions they may have. If your students do not feel like researching their culture online let them know that they are permitted to wander into the book stacks to search for books on their culture that may be of better help. These entire class periods will be held in the library allowing students in class time to work on their papers. On days nine ten and eleven students should continue to work for some time in class but mostly out of class on their papers. Day nine you as a teacher should meet one on one with each student to make sure that they are coming along alright with their writing assignment. On the tenth day allow a break from discussion for the students to peer edit their rough drafts with each other in their original groups. Day eleven should hold a discussion on not only the chapters read but also the student’s papers. In discussing their papers students will be able to offer any suggestions they may have for their classmates.

The twelfth and thirteenth day should start with a short discussion again on the chapters read but focus mainly on the papers that are due today. Break up the two days into cultures. On the first day have the European and urban American groups lead the class. Have the students discuss information that they have learned on their cultures and how this played into writing their papers. On the second day have the other two groups lead the class in the same format. Students should educate the class on their culture and papers by holding an open discussion with the class allowing questions to be asked. Before students leave on the thirteenth day make sure that they are reminded that tomorrow they will be viewing a movie so they are allowed to bring in snacks and drinks to share with one another.

Day fourteen the students should been done with the novel and final writing project. On this day the desks should be moved back into regular arrangement. To start the class ask for student’s feedback on the novel. Allow a short 10-15 minutes for any last minute questions students may have. After you have finished discussing the rest of the time should be spent watching clips from the movie. Since it is not only the last day of your unit but also a Friday students will enjoy ending the class with a movie. End the movie ten minutes before the bell rings and allow students to give feedback on their thoughts of the movie.

Michigan Content Expectations that will be met:

  • Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed)

  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.

  • Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact\

  • Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence

  • Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, wellreasoned exchange of ideas

Day One

Previous knowledge Of Afghanistan Culture

  • Write a short paragraph in your journal explaining your knowledge of the Afghanistan culture before reading this book. Make sure to include things you may have heard and any thoughts you may have on this culture.

Day Two


  • After researching information on the Afghanistan culture compare and contrast in your journal your previous knowledge and knowledge after researching.

    • Make sure to write how your views may have changed also from reading the first few chapters in the book.

Day Six

The Final Project


Role, Audience, Format, Topic


You will assume the role of Amir in the culture you have been assigned


The audience is your classmates


In reading this novel you have developed an understanding of Amir and his father and how their relationships are laid out due to their culture. Your paper will be written in a format of you being the main character using I as the voice of Amir.


Create a new lifestyle for Amir based on the culture you have been given.

The Writing Task: Take the culture you have been given and spend time researching background information that can be incorporated into your paper. This information should not take up the entire paper but give the reader context into Amir’s new lifestyle. The main portion of your paper should involve you describing how this new culture would alter the way of this novel. How would relationships change, how would Amir’s life change etc. Make sure your paper is at least 3 double spaced pages Times New Roman font.

Before you start writing plan your paper!

Describe your culture: ___________________________________________________________


Describe how this culture may affect Amir: (relationships/lifestyle) __________________________________


Day Fourteen

Movie vs. Novel

Write in your journal how your views on the movie varied from your views of the novel. After completing this writing assignment turn in your journal to the teacher and have a wonderful weekend!

While in the library


  • How do the people of this culture live

  • Are there certain traditions that they may uphold

  • Are men and women treated the same

  • Do relationships between different family members vary

  • How does this culture mix with other cultures

  • Are there any events, holidays, traditions held in this culture that are important

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