Monday, February 29, 2016

The Creative Classroom Leaps into Literature

Looking for new ways to engage your students in literature, especially with classics that might seem old and outdated? In this secondary English Language Arts blog hop, the Literary League showcases resources that can be used with any literary text, time after time, year after year.
Here at the Literary League, we’re a group of English teachers who truly love literature (we bet you already figured that part out). Given free time, we can all agree that there’s nothing better than leaping into a good book. But, even as avid readers, we have to admit that those spare minutes tend to be few and far between, especially during the school year, and there are times that we just have to …

  • leap into a book recommended by a friend, a colleague, or especially a student, who is anxiously awaiting our review
  • leap into a new novel we’re teaching, whether or not we’ve had time to fully prepare a complete unit
  • leap into a classic, maybe not one of our favorites, but something we know students need to sit with in order to grow as a reader

For those instances, the Literary League is teaming up to share some of our favorite resources to help you Leap into Literature. These are resources that are not tied to a particular book, but ones that can be used over and over again, both with your favorite novels, as well as with new texts or classic pieces you’re trying to breathe new life into.

A favorite resource I use to engage my students in literature is my Holy Task Cards! 28 Tasks for any Short Story. These task cards offer a variety of ways to get my students interacting with fiction texts. I love that they offer choice and a different approach for students to show their understanding of the story. Not only can students demonstrate mastery of story elements and Common Core standards, but they are also able to write creative writing compositions and create real world projects. 

One of my students' favorite tasks is Task #22- Comic Book, where students are able to turn the short story they have just read into a comic book. This requires students to really understand the setting and important plot points to be able to transform the story off the page. It is always amazing to see how the students bring the words to life through colorful and interesting illustrations. This is a great way to get your artistic students excited about literature.

My personal favorite task is Task #2- Rewrite. This task requires students to rewrite the ending to the story or continue from where the story ended. This works best with stories that have sudden or cliffhanger endings like "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe or "Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs. It is always so interesting to see what the students think happened to the characters next. The best part is that this assignment requires students to use what they have learned from the text and make inferences on where the story goes.

You can read about other engaging literature resources from the other Literary Leaguers linked up below and also enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win them all.