George Orwell’s Animal Farm


George Orwell’s Animal Farm is regarded as one of the most famous satirical allegories of Soviet totalitarianism. Orwell based the book on events up to and during Joseph Stalin's regime. Orwell, a democratic socialist, and a member of the Independent Labour Party for many years, was a critic of Stalin, and was suspicious of Moscow-directed Stalinism. The novel was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. During our study of Animal Farm, students will develop their reading and critical thinking skills; they will hone their research skills through immersion in an in-depth inquiry-based learning project, and they will develop their writing skills through careful daily reflective compositions.


Student Work and Assessment

(i) Minor Assignments -- 10 double-spaced, single-sided, one page reflective responses (one per chapter): Every student will write one single-page personal response for each of the ten chapters in Orwell’s book. These reflections are not to be simply descriptive summaries of each chapter; submissions must provide evidence that the student has seriously encountered the text and considered some of the problems, insights, or questions that it poses. Each single-page reflection ought to end with a question that the student has about the readings. We will discuss some of these student questions together as a class. All submissions should be carefully proofread.


(ii) Minor Assignment -- Animal Farm Crossword puzzle: Every student will complete the crossword vocabulary/comprehension assignment. Students caught cheating will not receive credit for this assignment.


(iii) Major Assignment -- Inquiry into Animal Farm as Allegory Assignment: Every student will engage in teacher-selected research to respond in complete sentences and paragraphs to the 20 questions prescribed as part of this assignment. Student work will be graded for thoroughness, research depth, and grammatical correctness. Students caught cheating will not receive credit for this assignment.


(iv) Movie Review: As time permits, we will watch a cinematic version of the book. Students will be expected to complete a movie review in which they answer the following questions:

q       Students must discuss what they liked about the movie and why.

q       Students must discuss what they did not like about the movie and why.

q       Students must discuss whether or not the movie is "true" to the book as written by Orwell. Did anything get left out? Was anything added?

q       Students must grade the movie on a scale of one to ten (ten being the best).


(v) Multiple Choice Unit Final: Students will complete a multiple choice Unit Final on Animal Farm.


*** Minor assignments must be submitted either by the end of class, or at the beginning of the next class in order to receive credit. Students who miss assignments are expected to complete them as soon as possible. Students will not receive credit for missing assignments unless prior arrangements have been made; however, all assignments must be finished. Missed assignments are not accepted late (unless through prior arrangement) because the allure of copying other students' work is too great for many students, and plagiarized work from classmates is hard to police. Rather, students who miss assignments will receive credit for completing extra reading comprehension.

*** Any student who wishes to improve his or her mark in English 30-1 can complete extra reading assignments. I use these assignments both to fill in blank/missing assignment grades, and to replace lower marks on older assignments where a student is ambitious enough to take advantage of this opportunity. Every student, through his/her own initiative, is thereby given ample opportunity to excel in English class. (NOTE: In order to avoid the "plagiarism factor" among the student populace, extra assignments are NOT handed back to students.)