Jazzing up our Big Classic Read for the “Roaring 2020s”

Jazzing up our Big Classic Read for the “Roaring 2020s”

  • Description:

    The CHS Library Classic Big Read is an annual fall event where we promote a classic novel (Frankenstein, Pride & Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland) and challenge the entire student body to read the book. CHS librarians have selected Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby for our next “Classic Big Read.” We want to make our promotion of The Great Gatsby an even greater event. Our plan is to go beyond the celebration of one book to a school-wide, cross-curricular extravaganza that looks back at America and CHS during the 1920s. Flappers, Gangsters, Jazz, Charlie Chaplin, Harlem Renaissance, Female Voters— the decade known as the “Roaring Twenties” has much to study. We also have CHS newspapers, yearbooks and memorabilia to create a captivating walkthrough timeline in the library.

  • Need Represented: Our classic read is an annual literacy promotion project, but we want to make it even more than that. The 2020-21 school year has been a struggle for all. We want to plan something fun, educational, collaborative, and inclusive to combat the isolation felt during the current school year. We want to lure our crowds back to the library next year, and this fun and special event will be just the thing students need to reconnect with their school in a shared experience.
  • Academic Impact: Students will come away from this project with a renewed interest and appreciation of the classic novel The Great Gatsby. Since this is a cross-curricular project, we hope that a look back at our school and country 100 years ago will provide students with some knowledge of American history and culture. The English Dept. is on board to promote Gatsby (already in the Eng III curriculum) and celebrate Harlem Renaissance greats like Langston Hughes. Though only the trailer to the 1926 Gatsby film still exists, the film studies classes will use this opportunity to explore a silent film from the decade. The Art Dept. is enthusiastic about helping decorate using the Art Deco motifs of the period. “Jazz Age” is another name for the 1920s, so we will enlist our music department (band, orchestra, choir) as well. FACS teachers will ask students to research and prepare some foods of the time period and possibly sew some glitzy flapper-age headbands/armbands. Early planning provides time to develop cross-curricular library activities. We plan to invite the American History and Science students to the library for research activities or mini-lessons. The 1920s saw the immediate effects of two Constitutional Amendments: 18th (Prohibition) and 19th (Women’s vote), while scientific advances range from the first J & J adhesive band-aid to Hubble’s study of the universe. The 1920s were the “1st Golden Age of Baseball” so even the math department can participate with a look at the statistics of Babe Ruth and others. And the Business Dept has an excellent opportunity to examine the causes of the stock market crash of 1929. Opportunities to participate will be available for all CHS students and teachers.
  • Student Population: Central currently servers 1747 students in grades 6-12.
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