A Review of this Book & an Activity Suggestion:
In his book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie paints a picture of what it is like to live in between two very different worlds; the world of white people and that of the Indian Reservation.
One of my favorite parts in the story is “The Unofficial and Unwritten Spokane Indian Rules of Fisticuffs.” Here, Alexie lists the rules that all Indian boys know about fighting. I enjoy discussing these Rules with my students, as well as the description of the fight afterwards and how there are so many unofficial rules in our society.
These Unspoken Rules are a good starting point for discussing the unofficial rules about life (e.g. eating your vegetables, coloring inside the lines, going to bed early). The students share their ideas and then write their own set of rules for a specific situation or event in their life. This set of rules could easily become the basis of a memoir or personal narrative.
Teacher’s Note: Review the text carefully, before sharing it with your students. Alexie is carefree with the curse words and some of the content may be objectionable. This book is not appropriate for a younger audience unless you share it as a read-aloud where you can edit the school-inappropriate sections. Don’t let this scare you, it’s a wonderful book, just proceed with caution.
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