“If you really want to know…”
So began Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. Long a favorite novel of mine to read and teach, I wanted to help students really understand the cultural milieu of the 1950s, when the work became instantly popular.
The great thing about this era in terms of resources available for a WebQuest is that it’s both recent enough to have lots of video recordings of key people & topics, but the footage is old enough to have that otherworldly feel. Students often assume Holden comes from a world roughly contemporaneous to their own, even with his dated slang. They also often think radicalism in culture and the arts began with the 60s. So these archival videos bring that world between WWII and the Beatles to life.
In the video below, I take a deep dive into my Some Crazy Cliff WebQuest as a an example for literature WebQuests and also to invite you let me know if you want to use the WebQuest. As with anything, the resources need a little checking for Link Rot and I’d probably want to make a few tweaks.
As an added bonus, I also creating some Look to Learn Thinking Routine activities related to the main themes of the WebQuest. You can check these out and use them as warm-up / thinking prompts if you like.