The first year that I decided to teach the novel Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, I did not want my Hoot lesson plans to simply consist of reading a chapter, answering comprehension questions, and discussing the plot diagram and conflicts. So, I read the book chapter by chapter looking for literary techniques that could be analyzed and the craft of the author that could be examined and challenge my students to become better writers themselves. I ended up with Hoot lesson plans with titles like “Beatrice and her Barbecue Sandwich” in which we take a look at Hiaasen’s brilliant technique of suspense and voice. It was then that I fell in love with creating solid, standards-based fun lesson plans for novels. It all started with this novel, Hoot, and I must say, I think it’s one of the best teaching units we have ever created.
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Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen, is one of our very favorite novels to use in our seventh grade classrooms. Some years we use it as a class read. Other years we use it as a book club choice along with Flush by the same author. We’ve even used it as an individual novel study unit.
Filled with realistic and quirky characters, this book has just the right amount of humor and suspense to keep our students begging to read. We take a good look at Hiaasen’s craft, how he uses voice, suspense, imagery, and creates such realistic characters. This book also has an omniscient point of view, so we examine that, as well as other literary devices such as irony and symbolism.
Many teachers have said so many kind words to us about our teaching unit for this novel. We encourage you to try it out.