This year, I was asked to throw together an English elective that would last 1/2 of the academic year. It was originally going to be a Fiction to Film class, but I did not want my students believing the elective was all about watching movies. So, it became a Literary Studies class instead. We started by exploring the science fiction genre.
We would take notes each time we started a new genre. We would identify the genre, write its definition in our own words, find characteristics/elements about the genre, learn about common themes of the genre, and give some examples. This was the foundation for all the other genres we learned about.
In this bundle, you will get my:
**Opening activity: Book Jacket Project. My students go to the library to learn about how and why they choose to read certain books by examining book jackets and creating their own. This starts us on the path to learning about genres!
1. Science fiction non-fiction article worksheet:
I created this simple worksheet to pair with a non-fiction article I provided each of my students correlating to whatever science fiction book they were reading. For example, one student read about the creation of Glo-Fish because she had chosen Jurassic Park. The worksheet asks students to summarize the article, tell me how they know whether or not it is credible, relate it to the book they are reading, and determine whether the book's author is presenting the real life science accurately.
2. Science fiction brainstorming template/outline/& essay prompt:
After my students read a science fiction novel of their choice, they were asked to write a simple five paragraph essay regarding how the book fit the science fiction genre by choosing three characteristics/elements of the genre to explore more in-depth.
We had watched a science fiction movie previously in order for me to be able to model this process with the writing assignment. I chose John Carter because I happened to be reading the novel at the time.
3. Fantasy elements quiz:
This was a quick quiz that I don't even offer in my store, it was that thrown together. It just asked my students to identify characteristics of the genre and give an example. This is after we took notes about fantasy.
4. Romance web quest worksheet
This asks students to research the romance genre on the internet and to find the definition, elements, examples, and learn how romance has changed throughout history, including what its characteristics were in medieval times, gothic times, and modern day.
5. Romance genre true love essay
Students compare or contrast the poem "Pyramus & Thisbe", short story "Tristan & Isolde", and movie "The Princess Bride" to argue which is the superior couple and why. Includes guided venn diagram to brainstorm, outline for either compare or contrast essay, and the essay prompt.
We watched The Princess Bride and discussed how it fit both the fantasy genre and romance genre.
6. Horror / urban legends sub-genre worksheet
We listened to an urban legend and discussed its characteristics. Then we did the first part of this worksheet that asks for a definition, characteristics, common themes, etc. The next part of this worksheet is regarding the sub-genre of urban legends and asks students to explore urban legends as a small group. They end up sharing one they liked or writing one of their own.
7. Superhero sub-genre (the movie "Unbreakable" & The Hero's Journey)
My boys were especially fond of this one. We read comic books and graphic novels and shared our findings. Then I did a lecture on Joseph Campbell's theory of the monomyth/hero's journey and students watched the movie "Unbreakable." They wrote an essay that tracked the stages of the Hero's Journey throughout the movie.
8. Historical fiction narrative brainstorming template/outline/and essay
After my students have learned about historical fiction as a genre and read a quick mentor text (short story), I have them write their own historical fiction narrative. This is a quick brainstorming template that they complete before they start writing. It includes a pre-made rubric.
Not included, but coming soon: Nonfiction memoirs/biographies unit. I did throw in my "why did you choose this book?" worksheet that asks students to identify whether their nonfiction book is a biography, an autobiography, or a narrative memoir. I am working on their autobiography assignment now and will upload it soon!
**My final (or you could use it as a midterm) that asks students to identify, recognize, and apply their knowledge of genres.