Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding Teaching Aids for Huckleberry Finn

My goal in this research was to find ideas, teaching aids, or lesson plans to help teach students about Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I was interested in this because it is an area of focus for one of my classmates Bri Zabriske. To do so I went to the MLA bibliography online database. This database is a detailed bibliography of articles, books, book chapters and dissertations. The electronic version dates back to the 1920s and is home to 1.8 million indexed works.

I started like I do most research queries by just typing in the title of the book and see what comes up to start. First off I found that I have a very difficult time spelling the word "Huckleberry" (and consequently just as difficult of a time typing it, the post has involved a lot of backspace already.) But once I got that minor issue taken care of I went from 0 results to hundreds. Trying to narrow down my search a little bit and find a little more easily information on teaching Huck Finn I went to the advanced search. I tried putting "Huckleberry Finn AND teaching aids" but I didn't get any results. So I reduced my search to "Huckleberry Finn AND Teaching." This is where I found a really interesting article on teaching Huck Finn.  Howard, Douglas L. "Silencing Huck Finn." Chronicle of Higher Education 50.48 (2004): C1-4. Print. (reference put together by the site RefWorks. Such a great tool for those who are in school or put together scholarly works.)

This article isn't exactly the angle or medium that I was looking for from the start, but I think it presents an interesting way to teach Huckleberry Finn. Douglas shows how by showing that a book was once censored from public schools drives kids to want to read it to see why. I think that this article has validity because it points out that a natural curiosity (even if its morbid) will always supersede and artificial sort.

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