I did up this presentation to start off our current unit in American Lit. I started with this Powerpoint I found online, and gussied it up a bit. Students filled in these notes while we discussed the slides:
As always, my pop culture and arts references are meant to spur further connections in the minds of students–I try to draw these out from them while we talk. Each piece we read and analyze in this unit includes a discussion of which elements of Romanticism are present in the text and where: this leads to some very natural compare/contrast exercises.
I love dropping bits of pop culture and current events into my classes. They often involve insulting famous people–it’s not personal or ideological, but teachers need to make things relevant and interesting, especially dry 19th century novels.
Today, as one class started their unit on The Scarlet Letter, I read the beginning with them and then summarized the flashback at the end of chapter 2:
“So this story is about a beautiful young woman who escaped poverty and married a deformed older man whose wealth gave her a life of travel and luxury.” I paused and they knew some punchline was coming.
“And then she became first lady of the United States.”