To gain a deeper understanding of the era in which S.E. Hinton wrote and set her bestselling novel “The Outsiders,” Westhampton Beach Middle School eighth graders ventured on a WebQuest prior to the read.
A WebQuest, as defined by webquest.org, is “an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web.” English teachers Donna Flaherty and Alicia Niosi, teacher Lori Reinfurt and librarian Yvonne Perez collaboratively assisted students in researching the 1960s, from cars and cultural landmarks like drive-in movie theaters to the music of the Beatles and Elvis Presley. Students also took a Google Earth tour of some iconic locations mentioned in the novel.
“Whenever I read a book, I visualize everything about it — what the characters look like, what kind of clothes they wear, what hairstyles they might have, the surroundings, everything,” said student Isabelle Schneider. “This WebQuest helped me see everything like I was living in the book. I felt like I could have gone back in time and lived in the ’60s.”
Fellow eighth grader Meghan Pomroy agreed. “It was like looking into a time capsule,” she said. “We got to see how things have changed since the 1960s and what the environment was like for the characters in ‘The Outsiders.’ This information can help us better understand the book and further immerse ourselves in the wonders of the time period.”