Looking for fun, eye-opening activities to engage your students in thinking about the bigger ideas of The Great Gatsby?
The ideal classroom activity can be described in a few ways: it involves coming at an idea from a new angle or perspective; it’s fun and memorable; it gets students thinking about big questions and shifting their assumptions; and it’s just the right length. I’ve spent hours researching and testing out the activities included in this resource so that you can quickly and easily engage your classes tomorrow.
Sometimes, it’s great to squeeze an activity into those last few minutes of class, when students are losing focus and starting to think about the rest of the day. Sometimes, it’s fun to start off a lesson with an energizing and powerful activity. And some of these activities are worth a full class period or even two classes.
The activities in this resource include: poetry that is thematically or historically related to the novel; contemporary, challenging non-fiction; short films from the period; creative writing and drawing activities; music and art from the period; TED Talks on themes of the novel; and NPR stories that are also thematically relevant.
When you teach with this resource you will:
• watch your students get excited about learning when you incorporate different genres and media in your plans
• help your classes to understand the historical context of the novel by getting them to experience music, art, and film from the period first-hand
• fulfill common core requirements while your students think that they’re just having fun
• help your students discover why this classic novel is relevant to their lives today by incorporating TED Talks, NPR stories, and other contemporary resources in your lesson plans
• get your students to reflect and question their own assumptions by engaging them in discussion and reflection using the provided discussion prompts
• avoid end-of-class restlessness and behavior problems by having a reliable source of low-key, no-prep activities
• challenge your students to think about important themes of racism, sexism, and classism in the novel by coming at those ideas from multiple angles
• never have to teach the same class twice when you choose from have 40 options throughout your study of the novel
• have lots of fun teaching your Gatsby unit!
The activities are arranged by chapter, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t choose different activities in different chapters. Additionally, many of these activities will work with other units you’re teaching this year; other texts that will work well with some of the activities here include Death of a Salesman, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Of Mice and Men, novels by Edith Wharton, and T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
Bonus: I have included a guide to using interactive notebooks in ELA classes which would work great with these activities.
When you teach with these activities, you’ll create memorable lessons that will have an impact on your students!