#2ndaryELA Chat Summary Topic: Teaching the Classics

November 20, 2015

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter.


This #2ndaryELA Twitter chat was all about teaching the classics in the ELA classroom. Middle and High School English Language Arts discussed which titles we teach, why they are still important, how to support students who struggle with them, and making connections with modern day issues. The highlights are below.

Middle and High School English Language Arts discuss classic titles we teach, why they are still important, how to support students who struggle with them, and making connections with modern day issues. Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter.

Popular classic titles:
Lord of the Flies, Gilgamesh, Oedipus Rex, Julius Caesar, Of Mice and Men, To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo & Juliet, The Odyssey, Fahrenheit 451, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby,  A Separate Peace, The Crucible, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Daedalus and Icarus, Antigone, Our Town, The Death of a Salesman, Doll's House. 

Strategies for teaching challenging texts:
*Work backwards chronologically which will allow you to begin the year with more accessible texts and build up to the more challenging ones.
*Pair texts with the seasons: Frankenstein at Halloween, A Christmas Carol during the holidays, A Midsummer Night's Dream as summer approaches.
*Look on YouTube for short, often goofy adaptations to show at the start of teaching.
*Find a meme, quote, or reference to the text to engage students.
*If it is a play, act it out or go see it.
*Read modern translations and just excerpts of the original text.
*Use side-by-side texts (No Fear Shakespeare).
*Use Storybird to have students translate archaic language into storybooks.
*Read graphic novel versions.
*Listen to audiobook versions.
*Keep a visual list of readings to refer back and connect to as you read new texts.

Resources for teaching the classics:
*Video on Shakespeare's rhythm
*Blog post on adapting classic text's basic elements into video game, movie, or story
*No Fear Shakespeare for side-by-side texts
*New York Times & National Public Radio for modern day news articles
*Pop sonnets for teaching Shakespeare
*Blog post on group annotation
*Thug Notes videos like this one on The Outsiders (be sure to preview for adult language)
*Crash Course videos like this one on The Great Gatsby
*NewsELA text sets
*Sassy Gay Friend videos like this one on Romeo & Juliet (be sure to preview for adult language)

For more ideas and resources for teaching literature:



Hope you'll join us next Tuesday, November 24 at 8pm EST to discuss argument writing. The questions for our next chat will be posted here on Sunday. If you missed this chat, scroll down and read the whole thing below.

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