Setting Sail...

The classroom beyond a test, a paper, and a final exam. 

"When I step out of the way of my students, when I allow them to interact with the text and each other instead of with my scholarly observations, they learn so much more, and, more importantly, they feel so much more pride in what they've discovered."

- Tory Talbot Virchow

In my ten years teaching secondary school English in independent schools, I have learned too many things to list. No one had told me that my students would assume "Frankenstein" referred to a green monster with bolts in his neck, that they would have a hard time understanding The Canterbury Tales even in a modern translation, or that Macbeth would have little lasting space in their memories unless given a performative value. To that end, I have spent the past few years test-driving a number of creative projects with my students, and I thank them for their patience. Each year sees subtle changes in my directions or inclusion of technology, because each new crop of students gives me an entirely new perspective on an old idea.

I love what I do, and I love the students I have the privilege of teaching. Hopefully, these pages will inspire teachers and students alike to find the same passion in their work that I do. As educators, please feel free to make these ideas your own; as students, find yourselves inspired by them, but create your own reactions to the assignments.

 
Finally, as you make your own discoveries, I would love to hear from you! I'm available at mtalbot@saddleriverday.org.
Happy creating!
 
SHAKESPEARE LESSON PLANS and PROJECTS: 
Please note: Most plans listed can be adapted to other plays!
 
Shakespeare's Hamlet: Cut Scene Project
 
Shakespeare's Henry V: Henry V Prologue
 
Shakespeare's Henry V: Henry V Design Projects

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (This is a completely appropriate assessment for students to use to analyze characters in any play!):  Julius Caesar Character Analysis

Shakespeare's King Lear: King Lear's Editor for a Day

Shakespeare's Macbeth: Can You Hear Macbeth Now?

Shakespeare's Macbeth: Macbeth Casting Call 

LITERARY LESSON PLANS and PROJECTS:
Please note: Most plans listed can be adapted to other texts!
 
Willa Cather's O Pioneers!: O Pioneers! Illuminated Texts
 
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Animoto Advertisements
 
Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex: Middlesex Slideshow Project
 
Edith Hamilton's Mythology: Creative Myths
 
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: Character Memory Boxes
 
 
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Frankenstein Freak Show Pamphlets
 
John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men: Comic Life Project