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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

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Student Activities for The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton Include:

I remember reading this novel in middle school. There was something that captivated me about the quote, “I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.” It is truly amazing how quickly an average, everyday moment can turn bad, and how adversity can make life pass in the blink of an eye. This is part of the reason I love to teach literature: to watch students grow and experience life through the eyes of a protagonist they connect with.

In this teacher guide, your students will experience Ponyboy's life first hand, and bring it to life through storyboards. Check out these activities for The Outsiders below.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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A Quick Synopsis of The Outsiders (Contains Plot Spoilers)

The Outsiders begins with Ponyboy, a member of a gang called the "Greasers", being jumped by a rival gang, the "Socs", outside a movie theater. Throughout the novel, tempers between the two gangs flare, and Ponyboy struggles with his brother, who becomes increasingly tough on him. After coming home late one night, he gets into a fight with his brother and runs away to meet up with his best friend Johnny, also a Greaser. As they wander around the neighborhood, they are again jumped by drunken Socs who nearly drown Ponyboy in a fountain. Out of terror, Johnny stabs Bob, a Soc, and kills him, forcing Johnny and Ponyboy to hide in an abandoned church.

As emotions and actions run hot on the gang front, the church that they are hiding in catches on fire and several children are trapped inside. Johnny and Ponyboy rush to rescue the children; Ponyboy escapes relatively unscathed, but Johnny is badly injured. After the incident, Ponyboy and Johnny are declared heroes for rescuing the kids, but Johnny will still be charged with manslaughter for Bob's death. Johnny later dies, causing a grief-stricken fellow Greaser, Dallas, to rob a store. As the police arrive, Dallas points his gun at them, and the police shoot him.

When Ponyboy returns to school, he is failing his classes. However, his English teacher says he will pass him if he writes a decent essay. Using the recent events of his life he starts with: "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home..."


Essential Questions for The Outsiders

  1. How can fear control you?
  2. Why is stereotyping bad, and how can it lead to negative profiling?
  3. How do dire situations cause people to act out of character?
  4. Is loyalty an attribute of a true friend?

The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

The Outsiders Summary | Plot Diagram


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Students can make a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, it also reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the novel in the sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



The Outsiders Plot Diagram Example

Exposition

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ponyboy Curtis (Greaser), the main character, is introduced as he is going to the movies when Socs, members of a rival gang, jump him. He is saved when a group of fellow Greasers come to his rescue.


Conflict

There is a rivalry between two major gangs: the Socs and the Greasers. The Socs are wealthy, while the Greasers are poor.


Rising Action

Johnny kills a Soc to protect his friend. This forces Johnny and Ponyboy to flee. While they are gone, tension mounts between the gangs. Johnny and Ponyboy take refuge in an old church. One day the church catches fire with young children inside. Johnny attempts to save them, but is badly injured.


Climax

Johnny dies from his injuries.


Falling Action

A major battle between the gangs happens, and Dallas dies. Ponyboy was knocked unconscious and wakes up after several days, at home. He then reconciles with his brother Darrel.


Resolution

In the end, Ponyboy recovers from the emotional and physical trauma that has occurred. The novel ends with Ponyboy writing the opening line.


The Outsiders Plot Diagram
Create your own at Storyboard That Image Attributions: Georgian Terrace_6372 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/2383453764/) - hoyasmeg - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ponyboy Curtis (Greaser), the main character, is introduced as he is going to the movies when Socs, members of a rival gang, jump him. He is saved when a group of fellow Greasers comes to his rescue. There is a rivalry between two major gangs: the Socs and the Greasers. The Socs are wealthy, while the Greasers are poor. Johnny kills a Soc to protect his friend. This forces Johnny and Ponyboy to flee. While they are gone, tension mounts between the gangs. Johnny and Ponyboy take refuge in an old church. One day the church catches fire with young children inside. Johnny attempts to save them, but is badly injured. Johnny Dies from his injuries. A major battle between the gangs happens, and Dallas dies. Ponyboy was knocked unconscious and wakes up after several days, at home. He then reconciles with his brother Darrel. In the end, Ponyboy recovers from the emotional and physical trauma that has occurred. The novel ends with Ponyboy writing the opening line. Paper Due Next Tuesday!! & Gold When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of The Outsiders.


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
  4. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.



Story Outline Storyboard Template
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION

Example

(Use this rubric or create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Themes, Symbols, and Motifs for Ponyboy and His Gang!


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Valuable aspects of any work of literature are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA strands is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. Abstract ideas can be difficult for students to anatomize without assistance, but using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of deep literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities for themes, symbols, and motifs.

An example of this in the classroom could be to track the themes this novel uses to send a strong lesson to its readers.

Themes Motifs and Imagery to Look For & Discuss

Rich vs. Poor

A prevalent theme throughout literature is contrasts and comparisons between the rich and the poor. This theme focuses on the socio-economic differences between groups of people. Throughout the novel, these differences cause the major conflict between the gangs. The Greasers are poor, with their long hair slicked back, and the Socs, or Socialites, come from the west side of town known for its wealth. Although they may believe they are different, they all must face some similar challenges in life.


Loyalty and Honor

No matter what side a character is on, their group has a code. The Greasers uphold what they believe is right and fair. This can be seen when Johnny rescues the children, or when Dallas takes the heat for a crime his friend committed.


Girls

Throughout the novel, girls get a bad rap. Although no one is fighting directly over them, they seem to be a center of controversy and trouble. When lines are blurred, and a Soc girls starts talking to a Greaser, or when Sandy becomes pregnant with another man’s child, the message is clear: Hinton women cause conflict.


Reference to Literature

Throughout the novel the author uses allusions to literature such as Gone With the Wind and Great Expectations. For Ponyboy, characters create bonds with his friends and with the world he hopes to make sense of.


The Outsiders - Themes
Create your own at Storyboard That In the novel, Ponyboy thinks of himself like Pip from "Great Expectations". They share many commonalities. Growing up as a poor orphan, he relates to Pip's struggles. This novel has multiple meanings. Johnny uses the southern gentleman as a comparison to Dally, and Ponyboy uses it to remember Johnny. This alludes to "Gone with the Wind". In the death of his best friend, Ponyboy learns a valuable life lesson: nothing lasts. This references Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay". Ponyboy, a member of the Greasers, has a philosophy about sticking together. He doesn't believe he is in a 'gang'; his honor and loyalty to his friends is like that of family​. When their parents died, Darrel forfeited a college scholarship to work full-time supporting his younger brothers. This commitment shows his unwavering loyalty​ to his family. ​ Johnny's friendship and loyalty seem to go too far when he kills Bob, a Soc, who started to drown Ponyboy after threatening the two Greasers with a knife. EXAMPLE 1 EXAMPLE 2 EXAMPLE 3 LOYALTY AND HONOR REFERENCES TO LITERATURE