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I am adding new resources as I create them, so check back often!
Bible or Bard? King James Bible vs. Shakespeare Activity
Bible or Bard? This simple matching worksheet will show your students the King James Bible in a new and relevant way.
When students observe that many commonly heard phrases do not, as they assume, originate from William Shakespeare, but from the King James Bible, they are amazed. I created this activity for my senior British Lit students as part of a mini-unit on the King James Bible, which was the final installment of our larger unit on English Renaissance literature. For more British Literature ideas, visit my blog. This activity sparks many “You’re kidding me!” and “I had no idea!” comments and is a fun way to further explore the foundational literature of the English Renaissance. In addition, conversations about idiomatic expressions, metaphor, and symbolism will abound! Enjoy this activity with your students! Let me know how it goes!
Candy Memoir! This colorful, candy-filled, ten-slide presentation teaches middle schoolers the differences between the personal narrative and the memoir.
After writing their first drafts, use this presentation to suggest these four alternatives to boring leads: the action lead, the dialogue lead, the thought/question/feeling lead, the sound effect lead. I have used this presentation with sixth-graders working on their candy memoirs.
Canterbury Tales Poem: This sheet contains a Canterbury Tales-themed poetry project your students will enjoy!
It makes a concise and effective culminating activity for your unit on The Canterbury Tales. The sheet contains instructions and a mentor poem to inspire students to craft a 20-line prologue similar to Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. The main requirement is that eight lines must end in rhyming couplets. If you wish, scaffold up for your advanced learners by requiring iambic pentameter as well. What makes this extra fun: students must include at least three characters of very different social backgrounds that they must not reveal in their poem. When they present their poems, classmates attempt to guess who their three characters are!
The Dream of the Rood: I created this reading activity to help students understand and appreciate “The Dream of the Rood.”
This poem isn’t necessarily difficult to comprehend; however, since medieval literature can be intimidating for many, I decided to create this activity to help my students better engage with this reading. The instructions read as follows: Read E. T. Donaldson’s prose translation of the poem “The Dream of the Rood.” This is the translation found in the Norton Anthology of English Literature through the 8th edition of 2006. (More recent editions feature a verse translation by Alfred David.) As you read, fill in the blanks below. Some sentences follow the text exactly; some require that you infer to arrive at the correct answer. I hope this activity is helpful in your British Literature lessons!
Ekphrastic Poetry Handout: You will love writing ekphrastic poems with your students!
Ekphrastic poems observe and describe a student’s favorite artwork… or really any artwork they feel inspired to write about. This sheet explains the basics of how to write these poems with the funny name. (Btw, “ekphrasis” is from the Greek and means “to describe” in detail a work of art!) This sheet contains four bulleted tips for writing an ekphrastic poem, plus two mentor texts. One mentor text is actually a paragraph that illustrates the concept of kinetic language as a bonus for your more advanced students, and the other mentor is a short ekphrastic poem I wrote to describe a Frida Kahlo self-portrait. You’ll want to keep this handout near so you can treat your students often to a fun session of ekphrastic poetry! It also makes a great addition to your writer’s workshop project list! One more tip: Have your students search for quality images on Google Arts and Culture to safeguard against random internet art searches!
Frederick Douglass Narrative Unit Plan plus Resources and Handouts
This 67-page unit plan plus resources includes: traditional reading comprehension questions, discussion starters, drawing/sketch activities, collaborative textual analysis, low-stakes presentations, low-stakes written responses, cloze activities, vocabulary instruction, and a culminating argument essay. Also included: standards met, DOK levels, rubrics, pre- and post-assessments with key, argument essay revision group task, plus a handout that includes twenty important quotations from the text for student reference.
Le Morte d’Arthur: I created this activity because I literally became overwhelmed with teaching the monumental Le Morte d’Arthur.
To make our excerpt of the text more manageable, I decided to focus on characterization. Here is the text found at the top of the sheet: “One objective of reading Le Morte d’Arthur is that we understand how Sir Thomas Malory built his characters… that is, the characterization he used in the story to provide a chivalric code for the tales. Notice how Malory’s characterization teaches a code for behavior.” I found that narrowing our focus made this text more manageable for both me and my students. This activity required a fifty-minute class period with students working independently. During our read-aloud, I asked students to list characters as we approached them in the story. When we finished reading and discussing, students chose their four characters for this sheet from their lists.
Veterans Day Poem: Veterans Day is November 11!
Use this handout to assign a creative, patriotism-themed poem to your middle school and high school students. There are three ideas on the back to inspire them, if necessary.
Whitman’s Song of Myself: If you need a FUN way to teach Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” look no further!
This is seriously one of my favorite things I have ever done in my ten years of teaching. Read about this project on my blog in this post titled, “Song of Myself” Video Project Reveals Walt Whitman’s Importance Today.” In short, this assignment was inspired by journalist and filmmaker Jennifer Crandall’s ground-breaking documentary called Whitman, Alabama. In this award-winning documentary, Crandall invites Alabamans to read a verse from “Song of Myself” as she and her crew do the filming. The videos are spontaneous, sincere, and captivating! So…. this assignment asks students to do the same: have a friend, family member or someone else you know (coach, boss, school principal) read their choice of verse from the poem. Students shared their videos with me, wrote a brief summary or interpretation of the poems, and then we discussed and analyzed them during class. It was so much fun! Such an awesome way to end our study of America’s national poet, Walt Whitman. I know you’ll enjoy this activity! Try it and let me know how it goes!