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Exploring 19th Century Literature

Page history last edited by Mary Hillis 12 years ago

Using 21st Century Tools to Explore 19th Century Literature

TESOL 2011 Presentation by Jane Petring and Mary Hillis


Session Abstract

What would Alice write as she blogged her adventures in Wonderland and would Sherlock Holmes tweet his way to solving crimes? Would Oscar Wilde's Ernest be unmasked by Facebook? After studying the playfulness and cultural richness of 19th century literature, students use their imagination to create social networking projects.


Mary's Assignments:  


Cub Pilot's Education and Twitter

"Cub Pilot's Education" is an adaptation of a portion of My Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. Students read and discussed the story, then tweeted along the Mississippi as the narrator.

Assignment Sheet

Samples of Twitter project


The Blue Carbuncle and Character Blog Entries

The Blue Carbuncle by Sherlock Holmes is an intriguing mystery.  After reading the story and answering comprehension questions, students wrote blog entries from the point of view of the various characters in the story.

Assignment Sheet


The Lady or the Tiger and Blackboard

After reading The Lady or the Tiger by Frank Stockton, students wrote their ideas for the end of the story on the discussion board within Blackboard course management system.

Assignment Sheet

Sample response: (shared with student's permission)

     "If I were the princess I would want him to survive. I cannot stand for being death my lover. However if I were the young man I would wanna fight with the tiger to get our happy life. I want them to be happy. It is difficult thing in this situation but I want this story to end happily."


A list of adapted 19th century literature.



Jane's Assignments:  


Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

This was a first-day activity. Students read parts of the poem aloud and guessed at the meaning of the unfamiliar vocabulary. We also discussed the challenges  in and students made suggestions then looked at published translations. I showed them my interpretation of Jabberwocky from a Canadian Winter's perspective which also introduced them to using Animoto. The pictures were taken while cross-country skiing in a provincial park followed up with artifacts in the snow.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Students' read excerpts from the the novel that included Alice's initial fall down the rabbit hole (Ch. 1), the encounter with the Cheshire Cat ( part of Ch. 6) and the mad tea-party (Ch. 7).  Students then formed groups of 3-6 students to create collaborative blogs. Each member chose a different character they had read about (Alice, White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, March Hare, Dormouse) and wrote a blog entry as if the character were writing in a diary at the end of the day. They were then encouraged to comment on each other's entries. Here is one example.   We also discussed the lyrics to Jefferson Airplane's song White Rabbit and listened to this 1967 performance. Scroll down this link for the lyrics and the embedded video.


The Engineer's Thumb and The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Students read these two Sherlock Holmes stories.  Students prepared presentations on aspects the stories such as the characters  Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson or the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  We also looked at Google Street View for current-day 221B Baker Street and film adaptations of stories: a Russian version of The Engineer's Thumb, a scene from The Red-Headed League and the trailer of the 2009 film version.


The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

 We discussed the life of Oscar Wilde and watched a documentary clip; more information about the author and links to various productions are on this page. Before delving into the play, I wanted students to be familiar with the characters, so we read these descriptions. (Scroll down and you will find Fotobabble versions with my voice recorded.) For the blogging assignment, students worked in groups of 4-8. Each student chose a character and the group had to agree on a scene in Act II or Act II or some time after the action of the play (e.g. it could be 10 years later).  Again, they were encouraged to comment on each other's posts as the character. This exchange demonstrates the fun they had.  Other tools students could work with include VoiceThread:   Earnest Geography  and Fodey to create a timely news clipping.   I used Photo Peach to make a multiple-choice wrap-up quiz.

Students were also invited to write Six-Word Summaries in the comments.



 All artifacts from Jane's classes can be found in this blog  including links to suggested texts and links to the web tools used for this project.  The Prezi presentation is here.







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