**This can be used with any novel or novella.When properly used, the Internet is a brilliant way to hook students into the value of a novel. This is their territory, and it’s here that you can easily expand their interests and understanding of the major issues presented within the story. Great literature often incorporates historical, political, and cultural references that risk being overlooked by students if it is outside of their realm of exposure. However, the Internet is an ingenious tool for teachers to use, luring tech-savvy teenagers into their own comfort zone where they can be challenged into broadening their knowledge while deepening their connections to the text.
This project can be assigned before starting the novel so that students have a better understanding the story’s background from the beginning, or it can be assigned after the first couple of chapters so the students can put their findings into the context of the story— it all depends where the historical information enters the text.
If your school has access to a computer lab, this is a great assignment for pairing students of varied technical abilities for peer-to-peer education. While not all students have Internet access at home, this can be assigned as an at-home project if your area library offers computer access or they can partner-up with other students who do have access.