This presentation provides all of the details needed for students to understand and appreciate the novel. There are 40 slides that cover author, historical context, related political terminology, settings, point of view, conflict, characters, themes, symbolism, and related videos. Additionally, this unit contains two sets of now (one question/answer form, one cloze note form for differentiation) that follows the presentation exactly. Click the images below to see a preview. If you would like to download this presentation, click here.
This is a fun activity that I do with my 12th graders just before they embark on their major research paper. They love it because it is all about them, and I also get the added bonus of teaching them how to use the internet to conduct research, how to document their sources, and how to respond to informational text.
Students use computers or comparable technology to take a test and learn their Meyer-Briggs personality profile. From there, the complete research to see how this profile explains who they are and their plans for the future.
This activity could be used in an English or a psychology class. I use it with my 12th graders, but it could also be used in any high school classroom, college, or adult education situation.
This is a three-page PDF that contains detailed lesson plans, teacher tips, standards, objectives, and the two-page webquest form.
***COMPUTERS ARE REQUIRED***
I advise a 400-page chronological yearbook, and we publish on a year-round basis. Training new staff members at the beginning of the year is important, and it must be done as quickly as possible. This is the first activity I have my new staff members do as an introduction to the parts of a yearbook and some of the terms that we used in publishing.
This worksheet is to be used in conjunction with sample yearbooks. I keep 20-30 different yearbooks in my classroom at any time as they serve as good inspirational and educational resources.
Each student takes a sheet and a yearbook. The form is rather self-explanatory and directs them to look for certain elements in the book. Upon completion, students are asked to rate the book and then present their findings in from of the class.
Most students are familiar with what a yearbook looks like and what he or she can expect to find inside on. This worksheet focuses on important terms and vocabulary that students will need to know for the rest of year.
What is the most unexpected thing that has ever happened to you while you were teaching? I bet it had nothing to do with your students. My most unexpected moment of teaching came in an otherwise ordinary afternoon, but I never would have suspected the danger that lurked just over my head.
At the time, I taught freshmen and sophomore students at a beautiful high school in the middle of an otherwise deserted area. We have seen all manner of wildlife, from rabbits to hawks to barn owls, find their way onto our campus. Needless to say, the students are not the only creatures who have made their way inside the walls of my classroom.
It was a lovely spring afternoon, and I had just settled in with my sixth period freshman English class to read Act Three of “Romeo and Juliet.” Rome had just slain his new wife’s cousin, and things for the Montagues and the Capulets were going downhill fast. My students were on the edge of their seats, DYING to find out what happened next.
There was a sudden movement in the room. If you have ever taught a class of freshmen, you know that they can be squirrelly, but even this was out of the norm for my students. A subtle rustle began, a murmur like a gentle hum, and then a general movement. Something was amiss. The students knew what it was, but I was clueless.
Frustrated by this interruption of the great Shakespeare, I demanded to know what was going on. “Ms. Flint!” The kids said excitedly, “There’s a bat on the floor.” They pointed to a small brownish object lying on the floor next to my storage cabinet.
I looked, and then I looked closer. “What is it?” I asked the kids. We gathered around it, giving it a respectable berth. “It’s a bat,” they chimed.
I looked it over again. It was small and looked unreal. For a moment, I wanted to believe one of my students had brought in a fake bat. “Did someone put this here?” I asked. “No,” said one brave soul,” It came though the ceiling.”
I looked up. I was in a second floor classroom, and it was true that I had heard scampering in the ceiling when the students were gone for the day, and I walked through the empty hallways. I had assumed it was birds, or even a squirrel. The thought of a bat had never entered my mind; but there it was, lying prone on the floor of my classroom.
There are things they teach you about in college: methodology, techniques, how to write a lesson plan, aligning your teaching with standards. But never had I been taught how to handle this.
“Is it dead?” a quivering voice asked. We stood staring, nobody answering, and nobody wanted to see for sure if the creature was actually alive. It was about that time that I remembered I was the only adult in the room. It was up to me to take decisive action, although I just really wanted to flee from my room.
A ruler, a puppy-emblazoned student folder, and a panicked phone call to the school custodian later, and the bat — which was not dead after all, only stunned — and the disruption was over. The bat was gone, the students returned to their desks, and the rest of the period was free for Romeo and Juliet. But really, after a bat falls through your ceiling, can Shakespeare really compete with that?
Do you ever find yourself with too much grading and not enough time? Yes, it’s the song of our people. I cannot honestly remember the last weekend I did not have a least a few hours of paperwork to catch up on that I did not have time for during my regular work week.
Splat: Divide students into two or more teams and give each team an unused flyswatter. Hang relevant vocabulary word on the wall. Provide the students with a definition or a sentence — minus the word. The first team to swat the correct word with the flyswatter gets a point. This would also work well with literary terms, characters, quotes — the sky’s the limit! This activity requires 30 minutes of preparation
Jeopardy: This is my absolute favorite way to prepare my students for a test over a novel, play, or other major unit. Simply create your Jeopardy game to highlight the important information you want your students to know. Divide the class into two teams, have them pick a spokesperson (the only one who can give answer), and have fun! I do recommend picking a squirrelly student to assist you with keeping score. Additionally, I take away points when a team is talking out of turn. You can find a template to create your own Jeopardy! review game here. This activity requires 1-2 hours of preparation, but you can reuse it over and over.
Timeline Puzzle: This is a quick review activity that requires 5-10 minutes of preparation. Take a short story, play, or novel and chose 10-15 important events. You can either write them on the board — out of order, or type them up and cut them apart. Have students, in groups, arrange the events in the correct order. When one group is done, send members out to help other groups.
Students create their own test: This is another one of my favorite collaborative pre-test activities. In groups, students create the test they think they may see in the next day or two. I have them write a mix of questions: multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay. Not only are they responsible for coming up with meaningful questions (no gotcha! questions, they are also responsible for writing the answer key to their test. Once complete, I team up groups to challenge their classmates. Preparation time: none! Give credit for participation.
Students Teach their Peers: Here’s another minimal-prep activity. Assign collaborative groups to a particular section of a novel or play. I use this all the time when I teach Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales. Tell students they are responsible for teaching the rest of the class their assigned portion of the novel, play, or ____. (Add your own ideas here.) I grade them as they present their information. Additionally, all students are required to take notes during presentations.
Four Corners: This activity is good discussion theme, persuasion, and some controversial topics related to literature. The instructions can be found here, although you can adapt them to fit your needs. I love doing this activities with my older students, as the discussions we have are meaningful and increase their interest in the reading. Prep time: 20-30 minutes.
Who Am I? — This is a fun post-novel or play activity. Write the names of characters on tape or address labels. Put them on students’ backs so they cannot see their name, but other students can. Students may ask each other only yes or no questions until they figure out which character they are. This would also be fun with literary terms. Prep time: 15 minutes.
Snowball fight: This fun vocabulary game is a crowd-pleaser. This works with vocabulary, literary terms, or even as a review before a test. Prep time: 10 minutes.
If you are anything like me, you have run into a lot of people who tell you that teaching must be easy. They say things like, “I’ve thought about teaching, after I’m done working” or “How hard can it be?” or “I don’t know why you’re so busy all the time; you’re just a teacher.”
They day you are running late and need to make copies, the copiers will be jammed — all of them.
When you are halfway through a long teaching unit, you will get three new students.
Your administrator walks into your classroom during the last hour of the day, on a Friday, after a pep rally, when you are sick.
The parents you really want to talk to do not show up to parent-teacher night.
The one kid who always pushes your buttons is never absent.
Students enjoy the lesson plans you think up in your car on the drive to school more than the ones you spent hours writing.
You spill coffee on your shirt the day you wear that cute new outfit you have been saving up for.
The school WiFi will go out the day you plan for that awesome technological lesson plan.
You have permanent bruises on your legs that are exactly student desk height.
When you are sick, you suck it up and go in anyway because it’s easier to go in and feel like you might die than to put lesson plans together for a sub.
They day you give a big test, there will be a fire alarm.
Parents blame you when a student is failing your class, even though the student has refused to do any work in your class.
You write the due date for a big assignment on the board, on the assignment sheet, and you mention it every day in class. Students continually ask you the due date.
You go two weeks without a meeting, and suddenly you have three, all on the same day. At the same time.
The one time you go out with your friends to have drinks, you run into all of your students.
You finally get a chance to have a sit-down lunch, and administration decides it the right moment to hold a fire drill.
On the morning after you stay up late to perfect your lesson plans, you will realize that you are out of coffee.
After years of perfecting your curriculum and honing your lessons, the standards change.
When you are trying desperately to quiet your class, one student will make a joke so good you have to fight not to laugh along with the kids.
You spend hours researching and writing a presentation, and then that one kid asks you a question you don’t know the answer to.
It’s finally the weekend, and you cannot sleep past 5:30 a.m.
It’s Friday night, and your family thinks you suck for wanting to go right to bed.
That one kid that really pushes your buttons will give you the best, most thoughtful thank you note at the end of the year.
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When I first started teaching persuasive writing, I got really bored of the typical persuasive writing topics. The kids hated them; I got bored grading essays. Enter the alien report. This is absolutely my all-time favorite writing unit that I teach with my students. It gets them out of their writing “shell,” cleverly introduces the persuasive writing genre, and, most importantly, lets me find the joy of grading essays again.
This is a complete unit, divided into nine steps: