How to Bring the Ricochet River Teaching Unit into your Classroom

It’s time to celebrate! Ricochet River had a successful launch. For many of us on the Rivers team, our hard work is done and we can finally take a well-deserved break. But for others, the hard work is just beginning. Our wonderful marketing and social media staff are working tirelessly to promote our book. But come fall, there will be another group of people who have to think critically about Ricochet River—high school teachers and their students.

Ricochet River has been a staple in Pacific Northwest classrooms for over two decades. And now, in honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Ricochet River, Ooligan has put out a handy new Ricochet River Teaching Unit so high school teachers have a great resource to refer to as they bring Ricochet River into their classrooms.

The Ricochet River Teaching Unit is an excellent—and free!—resource for whoever wishes to use it. In this teaching guide, Ooligan shows teachers how to integrate an intuitive classroom unit into practice. Over the course of thirteen to seventeen days, teachers can help their students navigate the text with critical questions, writing prompts, and classroom activities.

This teaching unit is meant for grades nine and ten, which is apropos to the content of the book itself. Students at this age will find themselves relating to Wade, Lorna, and Jesse. These characters are people that students this age either know or relate to personally: “the local high school hero with the grades, popularity, and prospects for a bright future; the outcast and trouble-maker, stranded between two worlds; and the dreamer, suffocating within the confines of rigid, small-town expectations” (Ricochet River Teaching Unit).

Notably, the Ricochet River Teaching Unit lends itself well to online classrooms. Resources for teachers include suggested links to Blackboard or Google Classroom. However, the teaching unit also includes digital ways to teach students, linking to websites such as YouTube, which are educational and engage teenagers on their own turf.

On top of that, the teaching unit is incredibly easy to use. The website, which can be found both in the back of the Ricochet River twenty-fifth anniversary edition and on the Ooligan Press website, is simple to navigate and contains well-cited hyperlinks for every resource one could possibly need in order to teach Ricochet River in a classroom. Not only that, it is easy to use as much or as little of the teaching unit as desired. The teaching unit is a structure, a skeleton used to frame classroom discussions. It’s just as easy to follow the unit to a T as it is to use as a jumping-off point. Want to go off the rails and spend a class period discussing what it means to be Native American in the Pacific Northwest? The Ricochet River Teaching Unit has got you covered, and even can give you some ideas of where to begin researching your discussion.

Each daily lesson is reflected in the back of the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Ricochet River and on the Ooligan Press website.

Overall, as a free resource, there’s not much more one could ask for from a teaching unit. Feel free to check it out and get some ideas for how to teach Ricochet River in the coming school year.

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