Some neat ideas for an English class

I was catching up on some of my olde internet haunts, and came across two posts in which are definitely “things that make you go hmmmm.”

(1) Winners of the Penguin book design contest

(2) Books summed in 3 lines or less

The Great Gatsby

NICK: I love being rich and white.

GATSBY: Me, too, but I’d kill for the love of a woman.

DAISY: We can work with that.

Both could be parlayed into great exercises for students.

The first could be an assignment for a high school English class — create a book cover for the novel which exemplifies the theme, mood, or a pivotal moment in the book. Write a page explaining your design. (Of course, there are a number of students who aren’t artists, nor do they know how to use design programs, so I think it would have to be one of a couple choices of projects/assignments for the class.) I don’t know why, exactly, but I love the idea.

The second could be used as a “do now”, or an class discussion opener for summer reading. Give everyone five or six minutes to condense the book to what they think is essential. Then use those wee bits, and the differences among them, to lead into a discussion of the book itself and its themes. (I suppose that after the book unit is over, it might be interesting to have students re-write their three lines if they think they are different.)

Look ma, teaching ideas are everywhere!


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