This curriculum unit includes tested and proven materials for teaching A Yellow Raft in Blue Water to high school students. We have developed it to offer teachers an introduction to the work of Michael Dorris, a modern author whose work includes novels, short stories, essays, and book reviews.
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water is an easy novel to read, and we have taught it to sophomores, juniors, and seniors with equal success. You can assign it in one of several ways. Some teachers give it as homework to be finished by a specific date; others have students read it by chapters; still others read it out loud with less able groups. All of these approaches work. You will notice that the sample time line suggests a five-week unit. This is the format we often use with the novel, but we have done it in a variety of other sequences. We hope that these materials will make the teacher’s job easier and more productive.
We would like to comment on the language and the treatment of sexual relationships in the novel. Although some may object to the contemporary language used and sexual activities chosen by the characters in the book, our students have not found these to be a problem for them, and they accept them as appropriate in the context of the story. We agree with that assessment and hope you and your students will view the book in the same way.
We like to end on one final comment: this unit is very flexible. We offer approaches based on firsthand experience, but we know that there are many other combinations that will work as well. We believe that all teachers adapt ideas to fit their own teaching styles, and this format, like those in all of our curriculum packets, is easily and successfully modified.