Alternative #1: Historical Context of the Novel iMovie
Example: The students are to write from first person point of view, try to capture the author’s voice, explain the theme of the book, any symbolism used, and leave the viewer hanging so they want to read the book, i.e. don’t give away the ending. My English 9 Honors class is doing this next quarter, so I’m still experimenting with the assignment right now.
To Kill a Mockingbird Link: http://rock.esu10.org/Media/TKM_Intro.mov
Alternative #2: Pen Pal Students write a letter to one of the characters in a story telling him about your life. Answer that letter from the perspective of the character that tell you about the story behind what’s happening in the novel.
Alternative #3: Talk Show Interview Students work in pairs and pretend to be a talk show host and interview a character from your novel. Compose a list of questions and tape a live interview. Don’t forget to have costume for the talk show host as well as the character being interviewed. (This could be recorded for future examples or done as a skit. It is also interesting to watch a video of Hal Holbrook to give the students the idea of truly becoming a character.)
Alternative #4: Paper Bag Book Report Students use a paper bag to help organize a book report. The front of the bag should present the cover of the book, one side should discuss the author, the other side should discuss the main character and setting, the back should discuss the plot. Inside the bag students should place five items that remind them about the novel. This tends to be really fun because students try to come up with a creative way to present the bag. For instance, I had one boy turn his bag into a grave marker forThe Headless Bicycle Rider and another student turned hers into a stage with curtains that opened up to reveal the title of The Samurai’s Tale. (Those were ELL students that had to do the speaking assessment in front of a reading class.)
Alternative #5: Patchwork Quilt Students create a patchwork quilt presenting their novel. Make sure and introduce the book, protagonist and antagonist, plot or timeline of the novel, etc. Students can glue the squares on a big tagboard and stitch around each piece using crayon or marker. Students should consider the symbolic nature of the colors they choose and include symbols in the extra material that is used between the patchwork squared.
Alternative #6: Selling a Novel Students create an advertisement to sell a novel to a specific target group. The sales pitch should be developed around the interests of the group, but some things to consider would include other works by the novel, other works of that genre, and the characters themselves.
Alternative #7: Time Capsule Students should make a time capsule with information about the novel. This is especially helpful for historical fiction novels. The information should include information about the author, setting, plot, and main characters. It may also be interesting to add information that would tell the real story behind the novel.
Alternative #8: Three-D Reports Students make a model of a scene from the story and use it to tell the plot of the novel. Students may want to compare the scene to a historic setting that the author may have used for a basis of the novel. For example, Willa Cather used several real places in most of her novels and short stories.