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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

Language Arts Webquests

Anne Frank: Museum of Jewish Heritage WebQuest

Museum of Jewish Heritage WebQuest

Directions: As you prepare to read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and learn about the Holocaust, this WebQuest will help you learn about Jewish life and culture before, during, and after the Holocaust.

Start here: The Museum of Jewish Heritage online collection

1.) Click on “Family” at the bottom of the page.

a.) What were three common languages from which Jewish people took names?

b.) Why might a Jewish person have adopted a non-Jewish name?

c.) Look at the “Photograph of a Seder at the Home of Abraham Block.” What is a seder and why is it celebrated?

2.) Next, click on “Jewish Communities” at the bottom of the page.

a.) What does the article tell us is “at the heart” of any Jewish community?

b.) What is a rabbi? What is a synagogue?

c.) Click on the picture of the “Pushke—Charity Box.” What tradition in Judaism does the charity box represent? Why is this significant?

d.) Click on the picture of the “Wig Making Tool.” Why do some Jewish women wear wigs or head coverings?

3.) Next, click on “Sacred Seasons of the Jewish Year” at the bottom of the page.

a.) Why do Jews celebrate Passover?

b.) How have celebrations of Jewish holidays changed over the years?

c.) Click on the picture of the “Passover Kiddush Cup.” What does the Kiddush cup represent? Why does this particular Kiddush cup have an ironic history?

4.) Next, click on “The Cycle of Life” at the bottom of the page.

a.) What are the values that are “recurring themes in [Jewish] celebrations over the centuries and across the globes”?

b.) What events in Jewish life are often observed with both public and personal ceremonies and rituals?

c.) Click on the picture of the “Wedding Invitation for the Marriage of Ida Lutwick and Max Wisotsky.” Why does the groom crush a glass with his foot at the conclusion of a Jewish wedding?

5.) Next, click on “Jews Around the World 1880-1839” at the bottom of the page.

a.) What percentage of Jews, worldwide, lived in Europe in 1880? By 1939, how had this percentage changed? What events explain this change?

b.) What does “anti-Semitism” mean?

c.) Click on the picture of the “Identity Card of Rudy ‘Israel’ Simonstein.” Why were Jews forced to carry identity cards and, in some cases, change their names in Nazi Germany?

d.) How were Jews identified as Jews in identity cards or passports?

6.) Next, click on “Jewish Activism 1945-Present” at the bottom of the page.

a.) What have been some of the challenges faced by Jewish people around the world in the post-Holocaust years?

b.) What is the connection between the Holocaust and Jewish activism and charitable activity today?

c.) Click on the picture of the “‘Prisoner of Conscience’ Bracelet.” What did these bracelets represent?

d.) What is the connection between the “Refuseniks” and Jewishness in Soviet Russia? What might be the similarity between the situation of the Refuseniks and Jews in Nazi Germany before World War II?

7.) Finally, click on “View Exhibitions” at the TOP of the page. Choose any of the other collections, which are items that have been photographed and written about by young Jewish people in the United States today that represent Jewish culture and history. Choose one item in any of the collections and write about how it might be connected to any of the other items or historical circumstances you’ve already discovered in this WebQuest.

A Shakespeare By Any Other Name...


Who was William Shakespeare?

At first this question might seem ridiculous. Everyone knows Shakespeare! He's one of the most famous writers of all time. It might surprise you to find out that the identity of the person (or persons) responsible for all those plays we know and love is actually a matter of debate. The "identity question" has been around for a long time, but was usually scoffed at by serious historians who regarded it the way most people do Roswell conspiracies and crop circles.

The fact of the matter is that there are some very compelling arguments against these plays being written by the man to which we attribute them. Many scholars doubt that this man - about whom we know so little - had the enormous background and education necessary to pen these works. That very lack of knowing is another concern: if William Shakespeare authored what is widely considered to be the greatest collection of literature in the history of the English language, why are there practically no records of him or his life? Why is he not mentioned in theater reviews as a playwright? Why could none of his children read or write?

Shakespeare has been the subject of "the greatest battery of organized research that has ever been directed upon a single person" and yet we know next to nothing.

Until now.

The Bolton High School Historical Detective Agency (that's you!) has agreed to take the case. Using their Ultimate Research Supercomputer (that's the internet!), they will gather data, weigh the facts, and issue a verdict on who deserves credit for all that verse.

The Task:

You will compile evidence about your 'suspect' individually and then present that evidence to your group. The groups will debate amongst themselves, reach a concensus, and then present that concensus to the class.

The Process:

First, I will be randomly dividing you into groups of four. Each member of your group will be assigned a different 'suspect'. These are historical figures that could have written these poems and plays. I will be assigning them to you randomly. There is plenty of good information on each, so don't worry about which one you get. Christopher Marlowe - accomplished poet and playwright Edward de Vere - nobleman and theater patron Sir Francis Bacon - famous essayist William Shakespeare - actor Conduct research! Use the two websites provided to read about your suspect: www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-identity-problem.htm and www.shakespeareidentity.co.uk/ Gather and record facts which would support a claim that your figure is the true author. You must have a minimum of four facts and they need to logically support your claim. When the research stage is complete, you will meet in your groups to discuss findings. Each detective will report on his or her suspect and explain their supporting facts. Once all the detectives have reported, the group will debate about the likelihood of each. You will attempt to - civilly and respectfully - reach a concensus on who you think deserves credit. Remember that there is not a right answer. Each group will present their decision to the class. If concensus could not be reached, that's fine, but each "faction" will need to present their choice separately. We will discuss the findings as a class and decide what all this might mean.

You will be graded on the following:

Conducting internet research Collecting at least four facts about your suspect Making sure those facts logically support your position that this person wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare Presenting these facts to your group Presenting your groups' decision about the most likely author to the class. If there is more than decision, each needs to be presented. Though you will be working in groups for some of the time, most of your grade will result from your individual effort. There are no tricks or traps here and I am certainly not expecting you to definitively answer the idenitity question. What I am expecting is that you participate in a living literary debate and see how one might reason through historical research. Follow the instructions and you will do well.



ResearchDid not conduct researchDescription of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery.Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery.Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

No facts recorded   
Group Presentation    
Class Presentation    



The main point of this lesson was to provide a fun way to get some experience doing research. When presented with a question, you can use a tool like the internet to gather information and then use that information to fuel discussions. Just as important, though, is to realize that in conducting research you are making decisions. You choose to look at certain facts over others, such as those which support your position versus others which might not. It's easy to end up with a skewed view or to oversimplify a complex problem if you conduct research without bearing this in mind.

Credits & References:

The opening image obtained from shakespeare.mit.edu/.

Credit is due to both of the linked sites as interesting compilations of research.

Inspiration for the lesson came from the article www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1661619,00.html.



PA.R.1.8.11.C > Organize, summarize and present the main ideas from research PA.SS.H.8.1.9.D __Analyze and interpret historical research; Historical event (time and place); Facts, folklore and fiction; Historical questions; Primary sources; Secondary sources; Conclusions (e. g., History Day projects, mock trials, speeches); Credibility of evidence; Author or source of historical narratives' points of view; Central issue

21st Century Questions


21stcenturyquestions.com is a free online resource for teachers and students to promote self-directed student learning and the development of ITC digital literacy skills. I hope you find it useful.

Navigate to This External Web Link:

Of Mice and Modern Men


Of Mice and Modern Men
Cassie Pugmire
Lucas Torre
Katie Jones

Alyssa Hadfield


The novella, Of Mice and Men, was written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.   Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California.

For John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, we will be going beyond just reading the novel.  You will learn that there is more than one way to express yourself by learning how to create a blog, blogging, writing a script, and creating a video.


The Task:

Before reading John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, you will be put into seven groups of five.  Amongst your group, each of you will choose one of the five main characters. You will then complete each of the 5 tasks.

  • Create Blogger account.
  • Blog as your character as you read the novel.
  • Create a character description.
  • As a group, write a script for Section 5 of the novel placing it in present day.
  • Film your video using your script.
  • Upload your video to your Blogger account.
  • Individually, present your character description as your character to the class.
  • Present your video as a group. 


The Process:


1.  First, create a blog account with Blogger.  As you are reading the novel, you will create a blog entry as if you were your character writing in their journal for each of the seven sections of the novel.  If you find yourself confused on how to use Blogger, follow the link below, which will take you through a tutorial video on how to create a Blogger account and how to add an entry.



2. Individually, you will create a character description. For this description you must create a costume you think that your character would wear, as well as write a paragraph that details their personality traits and background history.  Basically, you are trying to provide us with some insight  and introduce your character.


3. Next, you will come together as a group and create a video for Section 5 of the novel.  Together, create a script placing the novel in present time using each of your blog entries.  You will portray the character you blogged as in your video.  After creating a script, you will film your video using the Flip Camera.  If you need assistance in how to use the camera, follow this link for a tutorial:




Once you have filmed your video, you will have to know how to upload your video to a computer.  Instructions on how to do this will be provided through this link:




You will not be graded on film quality, but instead on the content of your video, such as the script, your effectiveness in displaying present time, and appropriate costume choice.  While you are not required to edit your video, I would still like you to take into account that a quality taping is expected.  If you do a sloppy job, it is reducing the effectiveness of your message to your audience.  The final step for the video project will be to upload your finished project back onto your Blogger account.  Directions on how to do so are in a tutorial clip you can reach by clicking the link below:




Some examples of videos created by previous students can be found by clicking the links below:






4. On the day you are asked to present your video, each of you will be asked to come into class wearing your character's costume. Each individual group member will present their character description to the class as the character.


5.  Lastly, one group member will pull up your group video on their Blogger account and present it to the class.  After you play your video be prepared to discuss why you chose to represent the novel the way you did in your video and what you did to make it present time.  Also, be prepared to answer any of your peers' questions.





By now you have learned that literature does not have to be boring.  Instead it can be both fun and creative.  As you read John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and blogged as a main character, you have learned how to identify with the characters of a novel even though they are vastly different than yourself.  Also, you have learned that literature is both relevant, valuable, and relatable as time goes on by placing your recreation of Section 5 of the novel in present time.  In addition, you have learned how to write a script, create a character analysis and video.  By completing this WebQuest, you have learned how to work individually, as well as cooperatively within a group.  Congratulations on finishing your WebQuest.

Credits & References:

Materials Used in Class:

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Flip Camera
Picture Credits:

Other Credits:

  • Wikipedia for brief synopsis of Of Mice and Men in introduction


Teacher's Page


This lesson was develoed as party of the EDM 300 Webquest project.  The standarads followed within the project are from the pensylvania rubrics standards.  This project will provide a way for students to express their creativity.  They will be able to develop a higher order of thinking about literary texts and help them to underastand devices that may be used within other texts.

This lesson provides students with the avenue to build on their prior knowledge of literary devices.  In creating a blog from the perspective of the character within the book, students will develop their skills in critical thinking and creativity.  they will have to develop ideas about character development and creativley place their character within the present day, creating a new perspective on what it mean to understand a text.  the students will be developing linguistically, by speaking about their character, Kinestetically and visually, by creating and performing their video and creativley, by writing the script that will be used in the video.  This lesson will be addressing the students ability to comprehend, apply, anaylze, synthesize, and evalute the text. the students will meet these cognative levels by havilng the ability to grasp the meaning of material, Translating material from one form to another,  useing learned material in new and concrete situations, to break down material into its component parts, Identifying parts, analysis of relationships between parts, recognition of the organizational principles involved and to put parts together to form a new whole.



This lesson is anchored in eleventh grade language arts and involves creative thinking and a usage of computer technology.  this lesson can also be extended to twelfth grade students as well as for any type of course that involves the combination of technology integration and theatrical studies into the classroom.  The learners will need to have a prior knowledge on how to use Apple computers and have access to the technology used within the project.  although the students will need to know how to use this technology, links with tutorials will be provided to them.  prior to the lesson the students will need to have some knowledge of literary devices and how they are represented in the text.



Pennsylvania State Standards used in this WebQuest:


1.1.11  Learning to Read Independently

A. Locate various texts, media and traditional resources for assigned and independent projects before reading.

B. Analyze the structure of informational materials explaining how authors used these to achieve their purposes.

C. Use knowledge of root words and words from literary works to recognize and understand the meaning of new words during reading. Use these words accurately in speaking and writing.

D. Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

E. Establish a reading vocabulary by identifying and correctly using new words acquired through the study of their relationships to other words. Use a dictionary or related reference.

F. Understand the meaning of and apply key vocabulary across the various subject areas.

G. Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text,

including public documents.

• Make, and support with evidence, assertions about texts.

• Compare and contrast texts using themes, settings, characters and ideas.

• Make extensions to related ideas, topics or information.

• Assess the validity of the document based on context.

• Analyze the positions, arguments and evidence in public documents.

• Evaluate the author’s strategies.

• Critique public documents to identify strategies common in public discourse.

H. Demonstrate fluency and comprehension in reading.

• Read familiar materials aloud with accuracy.

• Self-correct mistakes.

• Use appropriate rhythm, flow, meter and pronunciation.

• Read a variety of genres and types of text.

• Demonstrate comprehension

Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

A. Read and understand works of literature.

B. Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

C. Analyze the effectiveness, in terms of literary quality, of the author’s use of literary devices.

• Sound techniques (e.g., rhyme, rhythm, meter, alliteration).

• Figurative language (e.g., personification,
simile, metaphor, hyperbole, irony, satire).

• Literary structures (e.g., foreshadowing, flashbacks, progressive and digressive time).

D. Analyze and evaluate in poetry the appropriateness of diction and figurative language (e.g., irony, understatement, overstatement, paradox).

E. Analyze how a scriptwriter’s use of words creates tone and mood, and how choice of words advances the theme or purpose of the work.

F. Read and respond to nonfiction and fiction including poetry and drama.

1.4.11  Types of Writing

A. Write short stories, poems and plays.

• Apply varying organizational methods.

• Use relevant illustrations.

• Utilize dialogue.

• Apply literary conflict.

• Include varying characteristics (e.g., from limerick to epic, from whimsical to dramatic).

• Include literary elements

• Use literary devices

B. Write complex informational pieces (e.g., research papers, analyses, evaluations, essays).

• Include a variety of methods to develop the main idea.

• Use precise language and specific detail.

• Include cause and effect.

• Use relevant graphics (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, tables, illustrations, photographs).

• Use primary and secondary sources.

C. Write persuasive pieces.

• Include a clearly stated position or opinion.

• Include convincing, elaborated and properly cited evidence.

• Develop reader interest.

• Anticipate and counter reader concerns and arguments.

• Include a variety of methods to advance the argument or position.

D. Maintain a written record of activities, course work, experience, honors and interests.

E. Write a personal resume.

1.5.11  Quality of Writing

A. Write with a sharp, distinct focus.

• Identify topic, task and audience.

• Establish and maintain a single point of view.

B. Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.

• Gather, determine validity and reliability of, analyze and organize information.

• Employ the most effective format for purpose and audience.

• Write fully developed paragraphs that have details and information specific to the topic and relevant to the focus.

C. Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.

• Sustain a logical order throughout the piece.

• Include an effective introduction and conclusion.

D. Write with a command of the stylistic aspects of composition.

• Use different types and lengths of sentences.

• Use precise language.

E. Revise writing to improve style, word choice, sentence variety and subtlety of meaning after rethinking how questions of purpose, audience and genre have been addressed.

F. Edit writing using the conventions of language.

• Spell all words correctly.

• Use capital letters correctly.

Punctuate correctly (periods, exclamation points, question marks, commas, quotation marks, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, parentheses, hyphens, brackets, ellipses).

• Use nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections properly.

• Use complete sentences (simple, compound, complex, declarative, interrogative, exclamatory and imperative).

G. Present and/or defend written work for publication when appropriate.

1.6.11  Speaking and Listening

A. Listen to others.

• Ask clarifying questions.

• Synthesize information, ideas and opinions to determine relevancy.

• Take notes.

B. Listen to selections of literature (fiction and/or nonfiction).

• Relate them to previous knowledge.

• Predict solutions to identified problems.

• Summarize and reflect on what has been heard.

• Identify and define new words and concepts.

• Analyze and synthesize the selections relating them to other selections heard or read.

C. Speak using skills appropriate to formal speech situations.

• Use a variety of sentence structures to add interest to a presentation.

• Pace the presentation according to audience and purpose.

• Adjust stress, volume and inflection to provide emphasis to ideas or to influence the audience.

D. Contribute to discussions.

• Ask relevant, clarifying questions.

• Respond with relevant information or opinions to questions asked.

• Listen to and acknowledge the contributions of others.

• Adjust tone and involvement to encourage equitable participation.

• Facilitate total group participation.

• Introduce relevant, facilitating information, ideas and opinions to

enrich the discussion.

• Paraphrase and summarize as needed.

E. Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

• Initiate everyday conversation.

• Select and present an oral reading on an assigned topic.

• Conduct interviews.

• Participate in a formal interview (e.g., for a job, college).

• Organize and participate in informal debate around a specific topic.

• Use evaluation guides (e.g., National Issues Forum, Toastmasters) to evaluate group

discussion (e.g., of peers, on television).

F. Use media for learning purposes.

• Use various forms of media to elicit information, to make a student presentation and to

complete class assignments and projects.

• Evaluate the role of media in focusing attention and forming opinions.

• Create a multi-media (e.g., film, music, computer-graphic) presentation for display or

transmission that demonstrates an understanding of a specific topic or issue or teaches others about it.

1.7.11  Characteristics and Function of the English Language

A. Describe the influence of historical events on the English language.

B. Analyze when differences in languageare a source of negative or positive stereotypes among groups.

C. Explain and evaluate the role and influence of the English language within and across countrie

1.8.11  Research

A. Select and refine a topic for research.

B. Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies.

• Determine valid resources for researching the topic, including primary and secondary sources.

• Evaluate the importance and quality of the sources.

• Select sources appropriate to the breadth and depth of the research (e.g., dictionaries, thesauruses, other reference materials, interviews, observations, computer databases).

• Use tables of contents, indices, key words, cross-references and appendices.

• Use traditional and electronic search tools.

C. Organize, summarize and present the main ideas from research.

• Take notes relevant to the research topic.

• Develop a thesis statement based on research.

• Anticipate readers’ problems or misunderstandings.

• Give precise, formal credit for others’ ideas, images or information using a standard method of documentation. • Use formatting techniques (e.g., headings, graphics) to aid reader understanding.

Reflection on Standards:

By the end of this WebQuest, students will have read John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.  Applying the standards above, they will be able to put themselves in a characters frame of mind and relate to the characters.  Students will also be able to creatively elaborate on what happens between the lines of a novel.  Technologically, students will be able to blog and create videos with ease.  They also learned how to work individually and and cooperatively in a group setting, taking responsibility.

Internet Scavenger Hunt

See attached lesson plan with graphic organizer and answers attached.

Electronic Scavenger Hunt

A Study on The Circuit


This unit engages students while reading The Circuit, by Francisco Jimenez. There are a variety of activities, including use of free online resources. I usually pick and choose from the collection, and not assign all of them. Many can be used in Literature Circle format.

Navigate to This External Web Link:

"Speak Up"

Speak Up

A WebQuest for 11th Grade (English, Literature)

Designed by:

Cindy King
Kim Johnson
Jessica Starczewski



    By now, you have read Speak, by Laurie Anderson Halse, and watched Speak, the 2004 film directed by Jessica Sharzer. The issues dealt with in both the novel and the movie are directly relevant to you, a few of which are: coping in high school, understanding the effects of rape/sexual assualt, and finding a personal voice. 

    Now, I turn the discussion over to you.

    You will now direct your own discussions to either the movie, the book, or both.  Feel free to draw from your personal reactions to the film or novel; incorporate your own past experiences when deciding how you would like to direct your personal and your group work.  In your groups of four, you will each contribute to a group interpretation of the material.  As a group, you will look closely at the film adaptation, the literary function of the novel, the psychology involved in both, and you will work these viewpoints into a cohesive whole.  In conjunction with the group assignment, you will create a short story - instead of a traditional academic paper, I want your written work to correspond more strongly to your personal emotions and reactions.

    Below are my guidelines for your work.  Above all, I want you to act as Melinda did: find YOUR voice.  Speak Up, and be heard in the classroom.


Your task will involve researching different aspects of the book and movie Speak with TWO end results:

1) The first product will be an in-class presentation and discussion facilitation that you will do with the group to which you are assigned.  The presentation and discussion should last 10-15 minutes.  All group members should be actively involved in the designing of the facilitation; use your individual perspectives ("Director," "Psychologist," "Literary Analyst," or "Discussion Facilitator/Artist") to create probing questions that should ensure an ACTIVE class discussion.  If there is specific information from your research that is pertinent to your questions, please do present it to the class; however, be sure that there is a greater emphasis on class DISCUSSION than there is on presentation of information.  


2) The second product will be a creative writing piece (5-7 pages, Times New Roman, size 12 font, 1 inch borders, double spaced).  Here, I would like to have you "show but don't tell" me your reaction to Speak.  Draw freely from your own interpretations, and respond to one of the following prompts:

        a) Diary entries written from the perspective of Melinda, FOUR years later
        b) Re-tell the story from the perspective of any CENTRAL character other than Melinda (i.e. Ivy, Mr. and/or Mrs. Sordino, Mr. Freeman, Andy, Rachel)
        c) Create an alternate ending in the form of either a novel or a screenplay (for example, what would have happened if Andy didn't attack Melinda in the closet at school?)

In order to accomplish your task, you will need to go through the following process:

1. You will be assigned to groups of 4 students.
2. Each member of the group will pick ONE of the four roles to enact within your group ("Director," "Psychologist," "Literary Analyst," or "Discussion Facilitator/Artist"). The roles are detailed below.
3. Once you have decided on your roles, discuss them as a group and collaboratively decide on a specific direction for your group to take. Each group can have different focuses through the 4 roles. (i.e. All groups need to have each of the four roles, but one group may want to focus on Melinda, while another may want to focus on rape itself, etc.)
4. Run your "direction" by the teacher and have it approved by the end of the "planning" class period.
5. Access, read, and analyze the websites associated with your role. (Note: not all websites will necessarily deal with your group's focus, so choose carefully).
6. Use the information on the sites to create an outline in line with the direction your group decided to take. You should use summaries, flowcharts, or outlines to present the information that you found to your group. (Note: GoogleDocs is a great source to use for collaboration and editing of information.)
7. Work together as a group to put together your 10-15 minute discussion/presentation.
8. Begin work on your creative writing piece. You can choose any of the three options listed above for your piece.  Feel free to draw from online and classroom resources to give your paper more substance, but above all: BE CREATIVE!!
9. Papers should be handed in the first day of presentations/discussions.

Creative Writing Piece Guidelines:

- Your paper should be 5-7 pages in length (Times New Roman, size 12 font, 1 inch borders, double spaced).

- Include a cover page (in addition to the 5-7 pages) stating the prompt to which you are responding, your paper's title, your name, and the date.



The Roles are as Follows:

 Role 1 - Director

  The Director is responsible for analyzing the movie, with respect to the book, and discussing the effects of media on viewers.

        - Movie vs. book EXAMPLES:
                -- How is the movie different from the book and WHY is that important?
                -- How is the movie similar to the book and WHY isthat important?
                -- How does watching the movie affect a viewer differently than reading the book?
                -- Which do you think has a stronger impact on the audience? Why?
                -- Did watching the movie change your opinion of the book?

Discuss at least two topics (either from the list above, or from others that you have checked with me).

    Related Websites:

                    The trailer for Speak, the 2004 movie, on YouTube.

                    The Internet Movie Database's overview of the movie.

                    A review of Speak, the novel, on a website designed for adolescents.

                    A review and summary page of Speak

    The following are from YouTube, Parts I-IX of Speak (for further viewings):

Role 2 - Psychologist

        - The Psychologist will be focusing on Melinda, the rape, and how it affects both her and those around her.

        - Possible subjects to focus on:
                -- Rape statistics
                -- Effects of rape (on both the individual and the culture at large)
                -- Rape as taboo (Why was Melinda AFRAID to tell people what happened?)
                -- Resources for victims of rape
                -- Art Therapy / role of the art teacher
                -- Adolescent depression (causes, effects, resources)

    Related Websites:
                    A website with a basic overview of art therapy and many links to art therapy groups of various nations.

                    A blog by a survivor of sexual assault, with many posts to help new victims cope.  Also, there is a comprehensive listing of external websites, also for helping victims cope.

                    A non-profit organization's website, with a great overview on depression.
                    A website, designed with adolescents in mind, on the topic of date (acquaintance) rape.

                    From the same group as above, on the broader topic of rape.

                    WebMD's page on rape and date rape (includes a brief description of rape, and a short guideline for victims).

                    A website by the National Institutes of Health - provides many external links to subcategories with a scientific foci possibly not discussed in the above pages.

Role 3 - Literary Analyst

        - The Literary Analyst will be focusing on the literary approach of their choice and how it manifests itself in Speak.
        - Possible approaches (feel free to branch out from the examples I list):
                -- Feminism
                          --- How Andy thinks he has a "right" to have sex with Melinda
                          --- Andy's control over Melinda
                          --- Melinda's fear of openness and her feelings of submission
                          --- The reaction of other women to Melinda (i.e. suspicious, accusatory, supportive)
                -- Literary "Flair"
                          --- How is language and syntax used in the novel?
                          --- Do you consider this well written? Why or why not?
                          --- What is the TONE of the narrator?
                -- Below I have listed several websites with summaries of various critical approaches, in case you need a review.

    Related Websites:

                Wikipedia's main page on literary theory, with many links to the various kinds of theories.

                Wikipedia's summary of New Criticism

                Wikipedia's summary of Formalism

                Wikipedia's summary of Marxism

                Wikipedia's summary of Feminist Theory

                An overview of Psychoanalytic Theory

Role 4 - Discussion Facilitator / Artist

        - The Discussion Facilitator/Artist is responsible for helping establish the "plan" for the group discussion.  Take into account all participants' perspectives, and help define a focus that satisfies all involved.

        - He/She must announce at the start of the class discussion an overview of the particular sensitive subject matter that will be involved.
        - During the planning process, inform me of the specific sensitive information that your group will be incorporating, so that I can request the support of a guidance counselor, if necessary.

        - The presentation must include a list of resources, so that others can know exactly which resources were used for particular approaches.

- He/She is in charge of the discussion, but is NOT the ONLY person involved. While he/she should plan the discussion, ALL members of the group are responsible for contributing to the discussion during the class period.

- The day before your group is scheduled to present, let me know exactly what resources you will need available (i.e. a projection monitor for a PowerPoint presentation, a TV/DVD player combination, speakers, etc.)

        - As the Artist, he/she is responsible for creating the visuals for use during the discussion.
                -- If there are relevant/pertinent graphs or other informational visuals, be sure to make them visually appealing.
                -- If you are using PowerPoint (useful for incorporating clips of the movie, if desired), save in a 97-2003 format.
                -- If you ARE discussing specific clips in the movie, use the YouTube links listed below to help cue the clip.
                -- Be CREATIVE! (If you don't find your visuals interesting, no one else will!!)


     Related Websites:
                    A blog by a survivor of sexual assault, with many posts to help new victims cope.  Also, there is a comprehensive listing of external websites, also for helping victims cope.

                    A website for rape and sexual abuse survivors; you may want to direct your classmates to this website, if your group's direction is related to survivors and coping strategies.

                    Another website for rape and sexual abuse survivors.

    The following are from YouTube, Parts I-IX of Speak (for further viewings):

Both the Written and Class Discussion / Presentation portions of the grade will be assessed INDIVIDUALLY.  However, your collaborative efforts will be reflected in your Discussion / Presentation grade.


Creative Writing Piece Rubric (40% of total grade):

(4 pts)
(3 pts)
(2 pts)
(1 pt)
Spelling and Punctuation
There are no spelling or punctuation errors in the final draft.
There are 1-2 spelling or punctuation errors in the final draft.
There are 3-4  spelling and/or punctuation errors in the final draft.
The final draft has more than 4 spelling and punctuation errors.
The piece contains descriptive details, which all contribute to a new story with a distinct voice of the narrator, different from that in the initial book or film.
The piece contains many descriptive elements, all of which help create a "new story," but the author fails to establish a clear voice/personality in the narrator.
The story contains description of the setting/characters, but fails to create a "new" perspective or addition. 
There is little evidence of creativity in the story. There is little or no interpretive "jumps" from the novel or film.  This piece will strongly resemble the initial movie/film in tone. 
All of the written requirements (5-7 pages, TNR font, size 12 font, margins, and due date) were followed.
One of the written standards (page #, TNR font, size 12 font, or margins) was not followed.  If the due date was not met, the student can receive no higher than a 2 in this category.
Two of the written requirements were not followed, OR the paper was turned in late.  This is the highest a student can score if the paper is turned in late.
Three or more of the written requirements were not followed.
Title/Cover Page
Cover page includes all necessary information.  Also, the title of the story is creative, sparks interest, and is related to the story and perspective.
Cover page includes all necessary information. The story's title is related to the topic, but lacks creative appeal to the audience.
Cover page includes the story's title, but lacks one of the other page requirements.
The cover page is missing the story's title OR two of the other requirements OR the title is entirely unrelated to the story OR there is no cover page.



Class Discussion / Presentation Rubric (60% of total grade): 

(4 pts) 
(3 pts) 
(2 pts) 
(1 pt) 
in Own Group Presentation
Facial expressions and body language indicate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic, and generates a strong response in the class.
Facial expressions and body language consistently express a strong interest in the subject matter, but fails to generate high enthusiasm in the class.
Facial expressions and body language are inconsistent; at times, the presenter will appear unenthusiastic about the discussion.
Facial expressions or body language exhibits a lack of interest in the subject matter and/or presentation.
For artists: Visuals are engaging, visually pleasing, and help lead the discussion.  The visuals are formatted to work within the context of the group.
For all others:
Student is capable of responding to questions of the class.  Also, the student has specific data/information written down, so that he/she can give correct data (if relevant to discussion). The student also responds actively and well-informed to own group members. 
For artists: Visuals are visually pleasing, they help inform the discussion, but are not designed to fit within the flow of the presentation.
For all others:
Student is capable of responding to the class questions, but does not have a list of specific information, so data is presented as a generalization, possibly without proper acknowledgment.
For artists: Visuals do not contribute information or encourage interest in the presentation, but have correct information.  Visuals also must fit within the context of the group's "vision."
For all others:
The student is capable of answering some class questions, but depends on other group members for more specific knowledge (even within his/her own "role"), showing a lack of information rehearsal.
For artists: Visuals are not incorporated OR relevant to the discussion.
For all others:
The student is unable to answer questions from the classroom (that relate to his/her role), and will use broad generalizations when participating in the discussion.
Interaction with Other Presentations
Listens intently. Does not make distracting noises or movements. Participates actively and productively in the discussion led by the presenting group.
Listens intently, does not create distractions, but does NOT contribute thoughtfully to others' presentations.
Does not appear to be paying attention to the group presenting, but is respectfully quiet during the presentation and discussion.
Uninvolved during the class discussion; also, the lack of attention is exhibited in a way that is distracting to others during the presentation and discussion. 
Relevance and Organization
The information and questions in the presentation are representative of a clear direction and organization.  If the class starts to get "off topic," the presenters redirect the conversation. 
The information and questions in the presentation are representative of a clear direction and organization. If the class starts to get "off topic," the presenters fail to reestablish the discussion.
Most but not all of the information and/or questions from the group establish a clear direction for the class discussion.  There is a distinguishable organization to the discussion.
The information and/or questions presented by the group did not correspond with one another OR the discussion seemed haphazardly arranged.
The presentation and discussion are evident of a clear, developed  understanding of the classroom material, incorporating relevant outside information for a more detailed discussion.
The presentation and discussion exhibit a good knowledge of the material, but fail to establish a specific perspective of the material.
The presentation and discussion show at least a moderate understanding of the classroom material, but fail to incorporate outside information.
Does not seem to understand the classroom or outside material well. No specific and/or informed discussion of the material.
Collaboration Within Group
Individual participates within the group actively but collaboratively.  Individual neither dominates the discussion nor fails to contribute.  The end product includes information from all participants. 
Individual collaborates well with peers, but does not actively contribute to the development of ideas. This student will do what is asked of him/her, but will not seek to do extra work.
Individual will contribute only what is specifically designated to him/her by another group member OR tries to dominate the group, asserting his/her own ideas above all others.
Individual is unengaged, will contribute less than what is required of his/her "role," and/or attempts to subvert the group's project. 



In completing "Speak Up," you have analyzed a novel and film from multiple perspectives.  You incorporated information from the internet and classroom resources to research through your assigned role.  You then used your creative faculties to develop a unique writing piece, which also involves the internalization of all four group "roles."  Literature in general can be approached in a variety of ways (such a comparison with a movie, literary analysis, subject matter background, and historical context).


Next time you read a book, will you read it from the perspective of a character?  Will you consider how literary critics may approach it?

Which character of Speak do you most resemble?  Which would you most like to resemble?

Most importantly ...
       Have you found YOUR voice?

In-Class Materials:

Anderson, Laurie Halse.  Speak.  USA: Penguin Group, 1999.
. Dir. Jessica Sharzer. Showtime Networks Inc. 2004.


Websites Used in the WebQuest:



Teacher's Introduction:

    This lesson, "Speak Up," was developed as a way to get students to delve deeper into English literature, literary analysis, and the specific ethical issues in the novel Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is crucial that teachers recognize the sensitive subject matter, rape, discussed in this book. Because "Speak" deals with the issue of rape, it is crucial that you speak to your students ahead of time and make sure they are both aware of the material of the book, and comfortable with talking about it and researching it. There is a role in the group which focuses primarily on researching rape itself and the resources available to victims. Teachers should encourage students if they are at all uncomfortable with the topic NOT to choose that role.  Also, teachers should ensure that either a guidance counselor or a school psychologist are available on discussion days to sit in the classroom, in the event that students need psychological support.

    "Speak Up" asks students to analyze Speak from four different perspectives. The first is called the "Director" and they will be analyzing the effects of media on rape and how the movie Speak differs from the book. The second perspective is the "Psychologist." This student will be focusing on the character Melinda, and the effects of rape in general. They will be responsible for researching rape statistics, the effects of rape, resources for victims, etc. The third role is that of the "Literary Analyst." They will be talking about the literary value to Speak from any literary approach they so choose (i.e. Feminism, etc.) The "Discussion Facilitator/Artist" will be heading up the presentation/discussion that each group will be giving to the class. They should be leading their group in deciding what they want to focus on, how they want to present, and what information is important to share. They will also be a central figure in the creation of the group's PowerPoint presentation. The students will discuss the book in their groups, and then focus on their roles to research what they are assigned. The students will work together to create a presentation and a guideline for facilitating a class discussion DURING their presentation (or directly after.) The students are then responsible for writing a 4-5 page paper. The point of the paper is for them to show that they utilized their resources, and that they can display a decent amount of knowledge of the material.

    "Speak Up" utilizes the Linguistic, Visual, and Intra-Personal intelligences, from Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  Because this is an English class, the basis of the project is Speak. "Speak Up" STRONGLY emphasizes the Linguistic Intelligence, through the interpretation, classroom discussion, and formal written components, all of which relate to the initial text.  During classroom time, the teacher will also show Speak, the film by Jessica Sharzer.  To best understand the film, students will need to use Visual and Linguistic Intelligences.  The students will need to carefully listen to the screenplay to understand the film's correlation to the novel; simultaneously, the students will need to carefully analyze the film as a work of visual art, to understand how the film directs audiences to a specific reaction.  The Intra-Personal component of Multiple Intelligences is another key element to this project, particularly for the students who will enact the "Psychologist" and "Discussion Facilitator" roles.  The "Psychologist" will have to interpret the book, with respect to information on the psychological effects of rape; this will require a strong level of understanding of others and their reactions to certain statements. 

    The Piagetian Cognitive Levels addressed in "Speak Up" are the Concrete Operational and Formal levels.  The students will work directly with specific, existing materials (chiefly, the book and the movie), yet will work to form their own interpretations and discussions based on these concrete materials.  Because it is founded in concrete materials that express a certain viewpoint, this WebQuest entails Concrete Operations.  However, if students are cognitively able, they can apply Formal Reasoning, in order to attain a better formed perspective.

Seeking the Nightingale


Web Quest: When you read literature from another cultural setting, comprehension can be a challenge. What does the setting look like? Why do the characters think and behave the way they do? Have you had similar problems? In their shoes, would you have made the same decisions? Just as knowing a language will help you to understand a person's message, understanding the culture of a time and place will deepen your interpretation of the literature, and strengthen your connections to the march of humanity.

  • Work together with your team to create a 10-minute presentation about the novel Of Nightingales That Weep. This interdisciplinary project combines the skills of reading, interpretation, research, writing, visual art, and speaking.
Your oral presentation, combined with your writing and a poster as a focal point, will help your classmates understand their study of Japan and its place in world history.

Navigate to This External Web Link:

Do You Hide in the Dark or Live in the Light?

Do You Hide in the Dark or Live in the Light?
By: Kristin Suarez, Lauren Baxter, Gina Marinelli, Erin Coble
 For Eighth Grade History/ English

Throughout world history, few, if any, tragedies can be compared the mass genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, known as the Holocaust. During this time, many Jews were taken from their homes and forced into concentration and labor camps. These camps did not provide them with sufficient food or shelter and more often than not, resulted in a cruel and unjust murder; in fact, many Jews were killed immediately upon arrival, all because of their heritage.
Throughout this WebQuest, your group will be expected to go beyond the information presented in The Diary of Anne Frank and continue to gather research involving the refugees, those who helped to hide them, and the Holocaust in general.
Once your group has compiled an appropriate amount of research, you will be expected to make a choice, answering the essential question:
"Would you hide Anne Frank, risking your own life, or turn her over to the Nazi's, ultimately saving yourself?"

The Task:

During this WebQuest, you will be expected to do the following:
-Research the background of the Holocaust, focusing on refugees and the persons who aided in their survival
-Compare the pros and cons of those who chose to hide a Jew, placing themselves in danger
-Decide if you personally would have kept a refugee like Anne Frank safe and support your decision with research based on The Diary of Anne Frank, the story of Miep Gies, and other historical facts.
Your final product should consist of a PowerPoint presentation, clearly focused on one side of the essential question, with sufficient research backing your ideas. Your PowerPoint will be presented to the class in a short presentation of at least 20 minutes, with equal participation of 5 minutes of presentation time per each group member.

The Process:

1. You will be assigned to a group with three other students.
2. Within your group, you will split into individual roles. Each person will be responsible for one of the following research aspects:


-Role 2: The millions of Jews held in labor and concentration camps and the quality of their lives while there ( http://www.ushmm.org

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/holo.html, http://remember.org/


-Role 3: Persons who helped to hide refugees ( http://www.auschwitz.dk/miepgies.htm

-Role 4: General knowledge of the Holocaust, including some sort of timeline http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/holo.html,



. Once you have chosen a role and finished your specific research, the entire group will meet and each person will share their findings with the group.


4. Together, you will make a decision regarding the essential question.




1)      All presentations will be done in PowerPoint format
2)      Each Student will present for 5 minutes
3)      Failure to turn in a final group presentation will result in a zero for the assignment



      All final drafts will be submitted three weeks after reading the book. Conclusion:

Congrats! You've finished your WebQuest!


Now that you've learned about Anne Frank and her story, you have been able to exercise your critical thinking skills and allow yourself to sympathize with the victims of the Holocaust. Throughout this activity, your group has been able to take historical information combined with your reading of The Diary of Anne Frank to fully understand the Holocaust.

This WebQuest has allowed you to research the Holocaust and compare the experiences of Anne Frank, as well as those who sacrificed their lives in order to hide the refugees. During this WebQuest, you have been able to use your research as a basis for answering the essential question and presenting your argument in a thorough manner.


Credits & References:


In class materials: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank.

Pictures used throughout this WebQuest are provided by:


(Anne Frank on Introduction Page)
(Anne Frank-Process Page, Role 1)
-http://www.knowledgerush.com/wiki_image/1/1f/Holocaust.jpg(Concentration Camp-Process Page, Role 2)



(Miep Gies-Process Page, Role 3)
http://www.milescopeland.biz/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/hitler.jpg (Hitler-Process Page, Role 4)

The following Pennsylvania State Standards have been used to develop this Web Quest.  The State Standards have also been broken down in to three learning targets per section to highlight and focus specifically on different types of standards covering curricular topics in History and English for 8th Grade.
Pennsylvania’s public schools shall teach, challenge and support every student to realize the student’s maximum potential and to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to:
Pa. 1.1.8  Learning to read Independently
Pa.1.1.8f  Students will demonstrate the ability to understand the meaning of and apply key vocabulary across the various subject areas
Pa.1.1.8g  Students will demonstrate the ability to demonstrate after reading, understanding and interpretation of both fiction and non-fiction text, including public documents


  • Make and support with evidence, assertions about the text
  • Make extensions to related topics, ideas or information

-Compare and contrast texts using themes, settings, characters and ideas


  • Describe the context of a document
  • Analyze the positions, evidence and arguments in public documents

Pa.1.1.8h  Students will demonstrate the ability to use fluency and comprehension in reading


  • Read a variety of genres and types of texts
  • Demonstrate comprehension (standard 1.1.8g)

Pa.1.4.8  Types of Writing
Pa.1.4.8b  Students will demonstrate the ability to write multi-paragraph informational pieces


  • Include Cause and effect
  • Develop a problem and solutions when appropriate to the topic
  • Use relevant graphics (maps, charts, graphs, tables, illustrations, photographs)
  • Use primary and secondary sources

  • Pa.1.4.8c  Students will demonstrate the ability to write persuasive pieces


    • Include a clearly stated positions or opinion
    • Include convincing, elaborated and properly cited evidence
  • Develop reader interest
  • Anticipate and counter reader concerns and arguments

  • Pa.1.6.8  Speaking and Listening
    Pa.1.6.8a  Students will demonstrate the ability to listen to others


    • Ask probing questions
    • Distinguish relevant information, ideas and opinions to determine relevancy
  • Take notes when needed

  • Pa.1.6.8.b  Students will demonstrate the ability to listen to a selection of literature (fiction and/ or nonfiction)


    • Relate them to previous knowledge
    • Predict content/ events
  • Summarize events and identify the significant points
  • Identify and define new words and concepts
  • Analyze the selections

  • Pa.1.6.8.c  Students will demonstrate the ability to speak using skills appropriate to formal speech situations


    • Use complete sentences
    • Pronounce words correctly
  • Adjust volume to purpose and audience
  • Adjust pace to convey meaning
  • Add stress (emphasis) and inflection to enhance meaning

  • Pa.1.6.8.e  Students will demonstrate the ability to participate in small and large group discussions and presentations


    • Initiate everyday conversations
    • Select a topic and present and oral reading
  • Conduct interviews as part of the research process
  • Organize and participate in informal debates

  • Pa.1.6.8.f  Students will demonstrate the use of media for learning purposes


    • Describe

    how the media provides information that is sometimes accurate, sometimes biased based on a point of view or by the opinion or beliefs of the presenter


    • Create a multimedia (e.g., film, music, computer graphic) presentation for display or transmission

    Pa.1.8.8  Research
    Pa.1.8.8a  Students will demonstrate the ability to select and refine a topic for research
    Pa.1.8.8.b  Students will demonstrate the ability to locate information using appropriate sources and strategies


    • Determine valid resources for researching the topic, including primary and secondary sources
    • Evaluate the importance and quality of the sources
  • Select essential sources
  • Use tables of contents, indices, key words, cross references and appendices
  • Use traditional and electronic search tools

  • Pa.1.8.8.c  Students will demonstrate the ability to Organize, summarize and present the main ideas from research


    • Identify the steps necessary to carry out a research project


  • Take relevant notes from sources
  • Develop a thesis statement based on research
  • Give precise formal credit for others' ideas, images or information using a standard method of documentation
  • Use formatting techniques to create an understandable presentation for a designated audience
  • Reflection on Standards

    The Webquest created has


    fulfilled many Pennsylvania State Standards required for students in the 8th grade.  The standards selected above are the standards that the creators feel best suit the assignment and task that the students must fulfill in order to pass the WebQuest exercise.

    Exploring PowerPoint presentations with a WebQuest Activity


    Students will explore student created PowerPoint presentations.  Students will look for positive and negative attributes of each PowerPoint presentation.  For example, what are some things you really liked about the PowerPoint (those things that really stuck out in your mind)?  What are some things you didn't like or distracted you from the PowerPoint's intent?

    Students will become more familiar with what PowerPoint presentations entail.  They will also become familiar with PowerPoint vocabulary learned in the previous lesson.  The ultimate goal is that students will become interested and eager to have the opportunity to create their own!

    Time Allotment:

    90 minutes (two 45 minute class periods)

    The Task:

     Your goal is to work with a partner or independently to navigate through some student created PowerPoint presentations on the Internet.

      You will take two-column notes on each PowerPoint you view in order to notate the positive and negative attributes of each PowerPoint.  You need to try and use the PowerPoint vocabulary words that you've learned!

    After viewing the PowerPoint and taking two-column notes, you'll use a scoring rubric to score the PowerPoint to see what kind of grade the student would have received who created the PowerPoint.

    In conclusion, you'll choose one of the PowerPoint's to write a short summary about the PowerPoint's content, positive attributes (embedding as much vocabulary as you've learned that is appropriate), negative attributes (utilizing as many vocabulary words as you've learned that is appropriate), and the grade the student would have received according to the rubric.

    The Process:

    1. Decide if you are working independently or with a partner
    2. Find a partner if you're going to work with a partner
    3. Go to a computer, and click on the Internet
    4. Visit the following links and click on two or more of the PowerPoint presentations in order to view them:
    5. http://it.pinellas.k12.fl.us/Teachers3/gurianb/ppt0809.html
    6. http://www.bethel.k12.or.us/schools/shasta/agardner/page3.html
    7. As you visit the above links take two-column notes (use vocabulary appropriately), remember you're looking for positive and negative attributes!  You and your partner only need to turn in one copy.
    8. Use the scoring rubric to score the PowerPoint (You and your partner need to score the PowerPoint).
    9. Log off your computer and return to your seats (if you're working with a partner sit by them)
    10. Compare and discuss your scoring rubrics for each PowerPoint
    11. Now, return to your own seat
    12. Choose one of the PowerPoint's you viewed and write a summary highlighting what the PowerPoint's content was, positive attributes (include vocabulary), negative attributes (include vocabulary), and the grade the student would have received according to the rubric.
    13. Turn your paper in to the designated area
    14. Work quietly at your seat or do what you are suppose to when you are finished with your work

    The link below takes you to the scoring rubric in order to score students' on their WebQuest activity.

    The link below takes students to the scoring rubric for them to score their selected PowerPoint.



    Students will have become familiar with other student created PowerPoint presentations and their positve and negative attributes.  Students should be more familiar with the PowerPoint vocabulary learned previously.  They should also be eager and excited to create their own PowerPoint presentation.

    Credits & References:

    The two links below are the links my students used to view student created PowerPoint presenations:



    Walter Dean Myers WebQuest

    A WebQuest to help students learn about YA author Walter Dean Myers.

    Open or Download This File:


    Utopia Webquest

    This webquest is aimed for a high school classroom that is studying Utopias. This webquest has students conduct research on the topic and then create a writing component as well as a video project.

    Open or Download This File:


    Handmaid's Tale


    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is an excellent example of Feminist text. The novel follows a Dystopian future where females that can reproduce are used like slaves. It follows many twists and turns, showing a full Dystopian environment. Often the Handmaid’s Tale is called the satire of today’s politics and a possible future for the United States.

    You the reader are now involved in creating a dystopian society. As the creator of the society you must keep in mind the physical set up of your society along with laws that would be in place. So imagine your in charge of creating a society, be creative! Use Atwood's style as you explore.

    The Task:

    Problem: There is a developing dystopian society, how do you make it stronger?

    1. Read Atwood's: Handmaid's Tale.
    2. After reading Margaret Atwood's, Handmaid's Tale you the students are familiar with the ideas of Dytopian societies. 3. Use this webquest to look at research of dystopian societies to obtain further knowledge of this type of society. 4. To finalize this information you will create your own dystopian society. Reflect on the novel you just read and on the provided research. Make sure you know why the elements of your society make it dystopian. 5. You will be presenting your society to the class. You can present it in terms of a poster, or a slide show. Choose one of theses mediums that you or your group can agree upon and fully develop your society. 6. After the presentation, there is a written component so please explain why you've picked aspects of your society.


    The Process:

    1.Read Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 2.You can work in groups of three, please pick your own group. Each group member has their own role so assign roles to each member.

    1. Questioner: It is your responsibility to constantly ask, why are these elements in your society dystopian? This will be important for the writing portion of the assignment. Keep the group in perspective.
    b. Book Keeper: What about the novel did you not enjoy or like to add on too? Prompt your group members to brainstorm. c. Developer: It is your job to help your group to develop the society and combine everyone's input, clearly format it into one society. 3. Use these sites for more Research.
    1. Handmaid's Tale overview
    b.Dystopian Characteristics c.Biography of Mararet Atwood d. Youtube video of Film Version of Handmaid's Tale Also use the image references in the Cites and References Portion.

    Other Popular Films to Reference

    1. Matrix
    2. 1984 3. V for Vedetta 4. Children of Men

    4. Plan your dystopian society(Write a list of things you'd like to do and not like to do in your society start brainstorming laws) 5. Create the layout (for example you outline the punishment for those who disobey rules, or the government’s laws in your society Your Layout should Include

    1. Where are people going to live? Are they monitored? Do they live in large houses all together or seperatly?
    b. What type of laws and restrictions are in place for the citizens of your world? c. How will be get around the society? d. Is there a policing system? A set religious system? e. Anything extra in your society? Necessary fitness time? Yearly travel? Please consider these in your layout and anything else you wish to include. 6. Pick one of the medium you wish to present with
    1. Poster
    b. Slide Show c. If you have another idea please speak with me before continuing 7. Take your plans for your dystopian society and implement it with your choosen medium 8. Present your society to the class. (This presentation will be 8-12 Min so plan accordingly) 9. After the creation of your project write a brief 1-2 page paper on the why of your project. Why did you include some things and not others, what about your society stands out?



    Project doesn't not clearly explain why elements of society were selected.Society is partially developed and is missing many justifications of selections.Well developed society, missing a few justifications for selections.Clear and well developed society, with justification and clear planning.
    PlanningGroup members did not clearly fulfill their roles, the society does not include thoughtful preparation.Members tried to fulfill their roles but there was no clear plan for the society. Used the ideas of the novel effectively, but not their own ideas.Members all carried out their roles effectively and the society was developed according to the directions. Used their own ideas effectively.All members followed their roles and were successful as a group to create and plan a well developed project using their own ideas and the novel.
    PresentationThe presentations was not presented in any medium agreed upon, the students did not split up the presentation.The selected medium is presented, but the group does not effectively break the presentation into their set roles in the group.Group presents a project in a set medium, each group member fulfills their part adequately.Group presents a fully developed society, encompassing each group member and brings in their written component.



    Thank you all for creating your very own society. Your fellow students will use this in order to understand the novel in the future. Continue to examine novels in relation to other texts and ideas. I hope you’ve realized that simply because a finished reading a novel, doesn’t mean you are done learning about a novel.

    The Handmaid's Tale Teacher Page

    Teacher page


    This lesson was developed to incorporate technology in the regular ed. classroom.  It was developed for a comprehensive project after completing the novel the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

                Dystopian societies are something most students do not get a lot of exposure with.  If they are incorporated in readings a student can pick apart many different themes that are society based, not just literarily based.  By giving students the tools to examine literature and to use creativity to build upon their understanding a student can create something more meaningful to them.  This project encourages students to take ownership of their writing and work.  Students from all different levels can approach this project using things that they feel are their strengths.  I approach this project as a multi genre, where the students can develop, use their own skills and their own creativity.


    The intended audience for this webquest is an eleven grade classroom who have just completed the novel the Handmaid's Tale.  This project can be  used for any skill level, but is suggested for an academic or advanced course ability.  It can be extended to a philosophy or psychology course, even a humanities.  Also, the project can added to, or scaled down to fit different skill levels.

    In order to complete this assignment the student should have an idea of what a dystopian society is and have read the prescribed novel.  (Or if you would like to alter this project the novel necessary to create the society.)  In order to complete this assignment the student should have an idea of what a dystopian society is and have read the prescribed novel.  (Or if you would like to alter this project the novel necessary to create the society.)  Students should also have the ability to work in groups and access to the materials be it physical or digital to create their society.


    1.5.11. GRADE 11- Pennsylvania 

    A. Write with a sharp, distinct focus.           

    aspects of composition.

    · Use different types and lengths of


    · Use precise language.

    · Identify topic, task and audience.

    · Establish and maintain a single

    point of view.

    B. Write using well-developed content

    appropriate for the topic.

    · Gather, determine validity and

    reliability of, analyze and

    organize information.

    · Employ the most effective format

    for purpose and audience.

    · Write fully developed paragraphs

    that have details and information

    specific to the topic and relevant

    to the focus.

    C. Write with controlled and/or subtle


    D. Write with a command of the stylistic

    · Sustain a logical order throughout

    the piece.

    · Include an effective introduction

    and conclusion.


    E. Revise writing to improve style, word

    choice, sentence variety and subtlety

    of meaning after rethinking how

    questions of purpose, audience and

    genre have been addressed.


    F. Edit writing using the conventions of


    · Spell all words correctly.

    · Use capital letters correctly.

    · Punctuate correctly (periods,

    exclamation points, question

    marks, commas, quotation marks,

    apostrophes, colons, semicolons,

    parentheses, hyphens, brackets,


    G. Present and/or defend written work for

    publication when appropriate.


    Reflection on Standards
    SWBAT Clearly and effectively create a well-developed dystopian society incorporating what they have learned from text and discussion in the classroom. 
    SWBAT Clearly compose a paper/poster board that will be understood by classmates and will include the general basis of the society.
    SWBAT Work effectively in groups, and clearly develop the elements of their society and be able to explain it to classmates. 


    Describe what's needed to implement this lesson. Some of the possibilities:

        *Margaret Atwood's: The Handmaid's Tale
        *Dictionary and Library access for research.
        *Art supplies or computer access to create the presented project portion.
        *Teacher created material: An example of a society in poster and power point form.
        *Handout listing assignment for those students who lack internet access at home.
        *E-mail accounts for all students so they can communicate outside the classroom.
        *Internet access for the students to research their societies elements.
        *Specific software needed: Word Processor 20 copies, Power point or slide show software 20 copies.

    This lesson can be completed with one teacher, however if there are more in the classroom for any reason the project can still be carried out effectively. The library and the classroom atmosphere should be sufficient to complete the project.


    Based on the overall average of the group project it will be possible to gauge if the project was successful.  When grading the students progress and final project, we will look at creativity, planning, group work ability, the final project and the written component.  The students can be creative and the overall problem should be answered however the students find appropriate: There is a developing dystopian society, how do you make it stronger?

    If the final project and presentation incorporates all students in the group then the project in terms of group work was successful.  To ensure that each group member is fulfilling their role, students can be encouraged if they feel their work isn't being run adequately they can set up a meeting with you.  Also, it is possible to include and evaluation worksheet so each student can evaluate their fellow group members. 

    1 - WebQuest

    This webquest is for use with lessons 1 - 5 of The Great Depression unit.

    Using links provided in the lesson plan and saved as bookmarks to all computers, students will respond to questions about articles, photos and video clips describing life in the 1930s. Following their completion of this research component, students will synthesize their learning by writing a letter to President Roosevelt from the point of view of an individual living during the 1930s. In their letters, they will (1) advise President Roosevelt of the difficult living conditions they are experiencing, (2) report to him the impact, if any, that the New Deal has had upon them, and (3) propose one additional action that the government should take to improve their situations.

    Included in this document are a rationale for the project, a brief description of the task, a pacing guide, a rubric, research questions, prewriting space and lined pages for the first draft.

    This resource is part of the Great Depression Unit collection.

    Open or Download This File:


    Jim Crow Web Activity

    The activity gives students a chance to learn about Jim Crow laws through interactive websites

    Open or Download This File:


    9th grade English, 1st term


    Who are you?

    What are your challenges? 

    What are your bad habits? 

    What are your strengths?

    What are your goals?

    Where are you going?

    This curriculum set is for 9th grade English, 1st term.  This is a complete curriculum for term 1 as all assignments are contained herein using documents, assignments, open source books, or service based learning.
    You will read Little Women or Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott and then turn in assignments which will include including journaling, character examination, self-examination, and goal setting.  You will also complete daily grammar studies.

    At any time for extra credit you may complete a service learning based task by recording a short story or poem for Librivox.  You can record anything found on Gutenberg.  Send your teacher a link to your recording and a description of what you read when you are finished.

    You may also help tutor someone in reading, writing, or language skills for two 1/2 hour sessions.  Write a paragraph about what you did and what materials you used and email it to your teacher.

    You should complete approximately 1 assignment each week (two weeks for assignment #7) to finish the term on time.

    Assignment #1:

    Study the following links about the 6 traits of writing


    Now, using the 6 traits of writing, introduce yourself to me.  Who are you?  What are your goals?  Where are you going? 

    Read a short biography of Louisa May Alcott so you can understand where she is coming from and who she is speaking to.


    Also, choose one of these novels and start reading.

    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
    http://librivox.org/little-women-by-louisa-may-alcott/  (a librivox recording)
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/514  (text)

    Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott
    http://librivox.org/little-men-by-louisa-may-alcott/  ( a librivox recording)
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2788  (text)

    Read chapters 1-8 for Little Women and 1-4 for Little Men

    Study lessons 1-5 on Daily Grammar, Verbs
    And, Schoolhouse Rock

    Assignment #2
    Read chapters 9-17 for Little Women and 5-9 for Little Men

    In Little Women Marmee says, “Money is a needful and precious thing,—and, when well used, a noble thing,—but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self- respect and peace.”

    Paper due:  What do you think of this statement?  Is money needful?  Is money the only prize to strive for?  Is there anything you would rather have than money? 

    In Little Men Mr. Baher states, "I hope the experiment will turn out well, but I am a little afraid it may cost too much."

    Paper due: How does Mr. Baher tame the “wild boy”, Dan?  Do you agree with his methods?  What challenges does Dan have and how does he start to change?  Can you relate to either Dan or Mr. Baher?

    Remember to use the 6 traits rubric to evaluate your paper before you turn it in.

    Study lessons 6-10 in Daily Grammar, Verbs

    Assignment #3
    Read chapters 18-29 for Little Women and 10-14 for Little Men

    Paper due:  Write a short summary for each of these chapters

    Assignment #4

    Read chapters 30-38 for Little Women and 15-19 for Little Men

    Pick a character, write a journal entry as if you were that character using the questions from this link.  http://www.tengrrl.com/tens/011.shtml

    Play Grammar Gorillas
    Study lessons 11-15 in Daily Grammar, Verbs

    Assignment #5
    Read chapters 39-47 for Little Women and 20-21 for Little Men

    Study the following links about writing a summary
    Paper due: Write a short summary for these chapters.

    Study lessons 16-20 in Daily Grammar, Nouns
    And Schoolhouse Rock

    Assignment #6: 

    Now that you know all of your characters backwards and forwards, write a paragraph sketch about each main character.  What was your first impression of each character?  What were the major events that effected changes in each character? 
    http://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson175/traits.pdf (sample character traits)

    Study lessons 21-25 in Daily Grammar, pronouns
    And Schoolhouse Rock

    Assignment #7


    Study the links above and then impress me!  Using the 6 traits of writing tell me about a character from the novel that you chose.  Who is that character and where is he going?  Did your character have a change in thought from the beginning to the end of your novel?  What were your character’s goals and did he accomplish them?  How are you like or unlike your character?  What would you do that was similar or different to achieve your goals? 

    Turn in this paper as well as one other project.  Here are some suggestions...

    Draw a picture that illustrates a poignant scene from the novel

    Make a diorama

    Host a radio interview between two characters

    Make a power point presentation

    Study lessons 26-30 in Daily Grammar, pronouns


    Congratulations, you are ready to begin term 2!




    Plausible Fiction


    The web provides a vast repository of information. But how reliable is information gleaned from the web?

    The Task:

    Your mission is to discover information on the web that purports to be true, is plausibly presented, but is in actuality false.

    The Process:

    1. Establish a plan that addresses the following questions:
      • How will you locate candidates of such information?
      • What resources will you use to establish the actual state of truthfulness of information you find?
      • How will you assess the plausibility of the presentation?
    1. Identify candidates
    2. For each candidate
      • Evaluate the presentations
      • Evaluate the truthfulness
    1. Present your findings in a manner appropriate for an audience of your peers
    2. Write a reflection covering your observations and insights from this experience



    Search / Candidate Identification    
    Presentation Assessment Metrics    
    Truth Assessment    



    Students will have developed a greater appreciation for the risks associated with information found on the Internet and an enhanced ability to identify suspect information and to vet it.