After several years of time off from teaching literature (my classes have been writing intensive--and not the creative kind), I have a literature class this semester. So, I've been searching for some great new ways to introduce students to literature written in a language they don't understand in a country they've never visited. I enjoy the challenges and am excited by some of the creative lessons I've found for sparking student interest. Here are a few of the finds that have most inspired me:
#1: I found a Canterbury Tales Speed Dating freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers. The activity has cards for the numerous pilgrims in the tale, along with prompts for the speed date. I had my students choose a character and then go on speed dates in front of the class. They had to read and comprehend the quotes and then synthesize the information into a mini performance. My students were engaged, and the activity served as a good introduction to the unit. It could be adapted to any novel with a number of characters, though. It could also be done at the end of a semester as a review of characters from all the stories read.
#2: Dramatic interpretations or reenactments of stories are always a hit. There is a dramatic Hamlet lesson I found for free on TpT. It has guidelines, examples and a rubric that could be adapted to any novel. This is great because it has students work on vocabulary, comprehension, writing, identifying and conveying tone, group work, presenting in front of a class, and so much more. You really can't go wrong with lessons like this. They'll remember this lesson forever.
#3: Check out this article on 50 Alternatives to Book Reports. This was my best find. There are 50 super creative ways to have students interact with the story and its characters. Some of the ones that stood out to me were found poems, CD collections, character alphabet and social work reports. If those don't catch your interest, don't worry. There are 46 more. The ideas connect to a variety of interests, learning styles and real life applications. All of them are easy to adapt to any story or update to fit the times. Just reading these will start to spark ideas of what else you can do, especially with more contemporary media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.).