Extension and Engagement Extension and Engagement

Grade 8

Share these activities with your students before, during, or after the module to build engagement and invite interest in module texts and to extend students’ interest in the module topics and themes after reading.




Text(s): “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg

Visual Expression: Painting

Sandburg likens the city of Chicago to a person in many places throughout the poem.

  • Find the words and phrases in “Chicago” that compare the city to a person.

  • Create a painting of the person that you imagine.

  • Choose colors and a style to convey Sandburg’s feelings and ideas about the city.

Verbal Expression: Poem

Carl Sandburg was inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem “Manhatta” to write his poem about Chicago. Both poems convey the great energy of a city as they list the many workers engaged there.

  • Read the poem “Manhatta,” and notice similarities and differences. For example, Whitman does not address the city directly in “Manhatta” as Sandburg does in “Chicago.”

  • Think about the city or town where you live. What might you want to convey about the place? What details could you include in a poem? Would you address the city or town directly, as Sandburg does?

  • Write the poem and read it to the class.

Text(s): A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Social Justice/Equality: Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s

When Laura Hansberry was a child, her family challenged the status quo by moving into a racially restricted white neighborhood in Chicago. This action resulted in a court case that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Hansberry v. Lee. While the Supreme Court ruled against neighborhood restrictions, the practice continued. Do research to learn more about racial discrimination in the 1950s and the struggle for equality. Choose a focus:

  • The discriminatory neighborhood laws challenged by Laura Hansberry’s family were a variation of the Jim Crow laws. Research Jim Crow laws and find other examples of discrimination in the 1950s.

  • Investigate African-American access to jobs and schools at that time.

  • Determine important court cases and milestones in the fight for racial equality.

  • Share your findings with the class. Discuss the progress made since the 1950s and the challenges that remain.

Text(s): Excerpts from The Titan by Theodore Dreiser

Content Areas: Slideshow of Chicago in the Early 1900s

When Frank Algernon Cowperwood, the main character of The Titan, moves from Philadelphia to Chicago, he compares the two cities. He describes Chicago as “obviously infinitely worse” but also “better….more youthful.” In 1800, Philadelphia was the largest city in the United States, while Chicago was not even incorporated as a town until 1833. Work with a small group to research life in Chicago in the early 1900s and create a slideshow presentation.

  • Find information about the modes of industry, transportation, and culture.

  • Explore the opportunities in Chicago as well as the challenges of living there.

  • Include photos and bulleted text in the slideshow, and present it for the class.

Text(s): “Long-Suffering Cubs Fans Hope Blasted Ball Puts End to Cubs ‘Curse’” by Monica Davey

Performance Arts: Oral Story

In her article, Monica Davey moves back and forth in time as she describes the Cubs’ long quest and failure to win the World Series in 2004. In doing so, she is able to convey suspense, the intense feelings of those involved, and humor regarding the demolition of the ball. How might you retell the story in sequence in a way that captures the interest of your listeners?

  • Determine the events in the order they happened.

  • Decide which parts of the story to emphasize and what language you might use to convey suspense, strong feeling, and possibly humor.

  • Practice telling the story, using your voice and body to convey suspense and excitement.

  • Present the story to the class.

Text(s): The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

Performance Arts: Sound Recording

The Great Fire includes many descriptive details, including the sounds of sirens, strong winds, and people shouting for family members or yelling for help. The author also imagines dialogue between firefighters as they struggle to contain the fire.

  • Work with a small group to gather details from the text that help you imagine all the sounds as the fire progressed.

  • Brainstorm ways to recreate those sounds.

  • Then make a sound recording to convey the experience of the fire as it raged.

  • Share the recording with the class.

Social Justice/Diversity: Poster

In the text, Jim Murphy makes the point that after the fire, prominent business people in Chicago promoted the idea that “certain types” were to blame for problems during the catastrophe. These business people scapegoated immigrants and the poor in order to dispel doubts about Chicago being a great place to invest.

  • Do research to learn about other examples of scapegoating in history, including those with far more dire results.

  • For each example, determine what purpose scapegoating served for those in power and what conditions made it possible.

  • Investigate ways to combat scapegoating.

  • Create a poster to explain causes and effects of scapegoating and ways to combat it.

Text(s): All Module Texts

Across the Module: American Dream Collage

The phrase “American dream” comes from a 1931 book by the historian James Truslow Adams, who defined it as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” It is a dream with the power to motivate, inspire, and also disappoint.

  • Consider how the various texts you read in the module connect to the idea of the American dream.

  • Create a collage that conveys the authors’ and characters’ views of or feelings about the American dream.

  • Use words from the text. You may also add your own words.

  • Include images from the Internet, or create your own.




Text(s): Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip House

Performance Arts: Dramatic Scene

This text depicts many indignities of segregation that Claudette Colvin experienced as a young girl and the important events that shaped her activism as a teenager. In a small group, act out two or three important experiences or events.

  • Together decide which experiences or events to dramatize.

  • Choose roles and create dialogue.

  • Rehearse the scenes and perform them for the class.

  • Discuss with the class insights gained from acting out the events and from seeing them performed.

Text(s): “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr.

Social Justice/Equality: Timeline

Work with a partner to find out more about Martin Luther King Jr’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Search the Internet by “Martin Luther King Jr’s Impact on Civil Rights Movement.”

  • Also look for information about his belief in nonviolence.

  • Together create a timeline showing the important events in the Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King Jr’s role in them.

  • Share your timeline and insights with the class.

Text(s): “Nobel Lecture” by Malala Yousafzai

NOTE: Guide students in understanding that fundamentalism is by no means confined to Muslims or the Islamic faith, nor are most Muslims fundamentalists. There are fundamentalists in all the world’s major religions, but in all cases they are a minority.

Content Connection: Social Studies

Some people have theorized that the rise of democracy and secularism in place of religion has created a backlash in the form of groups such as the Taliban, who tried to kill Malala for promoting education and equality for girls. Such groups, also called fundamentalists, favor returning to what they understand as the fundamental rules of their religion.

  • Search the Internet for information about the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan in 1996 and their policies and beliefs.

  • Visit malala.org to find out about other places in the world where women’s rights are in jeopardy. Dig deeper to learn more about women’s rights in one of these countries.

  • If time allows, search the Internet with “religious fundamentalism” to explore fundamentalist groups from other religions such as Judaism or Christianity.

  • Share your findings with the class and your ideas about the rise of fundamentalism. 

Text(s): “Frankenstein” by Khadim Diop

Verbal Expression: Group Discussion

The name Frankenstein comes from Mary Shelley’s novel of the same name, which was published anonymously in 1818. The word refers both to the fictional scientist who created a human form from assembled dead body parts and brought them to life and to the scientist’s creation. In a small group, discuss possible meanings of the word as used in the podcast.

Social Justice/Equality: Collage

Khadim Diop’s rap emphasizes his hurt and pain as he describes injustices he has suffered as an African American. His podcast, however, also serves as a challenge to white society, to which he speaks.

  • Create a collage to convey the feelings and ideas expressed in the rap.

  • Include quotes from the podcast. You may also include your own words.

  • Include images from the Internet, or create your own.

Text(s): All Module Texts

Across the Module: Role-Play Review

Imagine that you are a reviewer and you have to decide which three selections from the module belong in an anthology. Evaluate each selection from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating, using the following criteria: 1) how it adds to your understanding of the topic and 2) its appeal to 8th graders.

  • Summarize your decisions giving at least two reasons for each selection you recommend.

  • Share your decisions and reasons with the class.

Social Justice/Equality: Community Project

The texts in this module focus on the efforts of activists—some of them just teenagers– to work for social justice. In a small group, develop a way to respond to inequality or injustice in your community.

  • Do research to help you identify possible problems.

  • Consider ways to respond.

  • Together decide on a plan, and try to implement it.

Teaching Extension: Build Background Knowledge

Conduct a PHOTO SET or GALLERY WALK using images of important or illustrative events from the fight for civil rights. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has several photographic collections that could be used to expose students to Jim Crow in the South and to key events in the Civil Rights movement.




All Module Texts

Teaching Extension: Social Sensitivity (Racism)

Access and read tools to support teaching sensitive topics, such as:

Text(s): To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Teaching Extension: Discussion of the N-Word and Racism

If time allows, have students read the Kennedy and Francis articles and view the video. Use the main points and context in the final bullet before opening discussion if your students need more support.

  • Offer prompts to encourage student-led discussion and sharing:

    • Words can have deep associations. Are there terms and content that they might use with someone from their own culture that might be offensive from someone outside their culture?

    • Many of the events in the novel are a painful reminder of our history and the racism that still exists. Why is it important to learn about painful realities in history? Why is it important to discuss racism that exists today?

    • What conventions the class should use when referring to text that uses the N-word? What norms will help create a safe space for everyone in discussions?

    • Should books from the past that include the N-word still be read? Is the context in which a text is used important? For example, is publishing a racist cartoon that might perpetuate racism different than including the cartoon in a history book might educate readers?

    • Should Harper Lee have limited her use of the N-word? Is there a danger in using the term? Is there a value in the context of the novel?

  • As needed, share with or lead students in noticing some main points from the readings/video and placing the discussion in the context of To Kill a Mockingbird:

    • Language evolves as attitudes change. Today, we use the term N-word in place of nigger. While it emerged as a neutral term (from Spanish negro for “black”), nigger has a long history of use as a racial slur.

    • Today the N-word is used by some people in the black community as a term of endearment or self-empowerment.

    • To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small Southern town in the 1930s. Most people there referred to African Americans with the N-word or coloreds. Although the entire social construct was racist, not everyone who used these words mistreated black people to the same degree or used the terms with the same disparagement.

    • Harper Lee wrote the novel during the Civil Rights Movement, a time of heightened awareness of racism in American society and the need for social change. She sought to expose racism and social injustice in a town like the one of her childhood.

Performance Arts: Talk Show Role-Play

Imagine that characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are being interviewed on a talk show after all the events have taken place. Explore their points of view through a role-play of the talk show.

  • With a small group, choose several characters from the novel to be interviewed. Since the novel is told from Scout’s point of view, you may want to exclude her.

  • Brainstorm questions and answers for each interview. The talk-show host should ask about the trial, the verdict, and the characters’ reactions.

  • Decide who will be the talk-show host and who will play each character.

  • Rehearse the interviews.

  • Perform the interviews for the class.

Content Areas: Music

Select a theme song for two or three characters in the novel. A song may reflect a character’s attitudes or beliefs, your own attitude toward the character, or your ideas about the character’s importance in the novel.

  • Play or sing each song for the class.

  • Discuss your choices with classmates, and invite them to share their reactions.

Visual/Verbal Expression: Tableaux

Work in a small group to interpret scenes from the text and present them as frozen scenes. Write descriptive captions to explain each scene’s importance in the story.

  • Together decide on two or three important scenes or moments to present visually, without any spoken words.

  • Discuss each scene, and together decide how to represent it.

  • Decide who will portray each character in the scene. You may also have students portray objects or symbols.

  • Stage each tableau, focusing on body positions, facial expressions, and gestures.

Present each tableau for the class. Challenge classmates to identify the scene. Then read your caption aloud to explain the importance you assign to the scene.

Text(s): To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee + Screenplay of To Kill A Mockingbird by Horton Foote: http://mentalslapstick.com/_pdfs/ToKillAMockingbird.pdf 

Performance Arts: Cast Meeting

In a small group plan the direction of some scenes from the screenplay.

  • Decide who will play each part and who will be the director.

  • Read the stage directions and other information in the screenplay that guides the actors.

  • The director should decide on the blocking—that is, where each actor should stand or move during the scene. That student may also want to be the narrator.

  • Actors should think about how they would play the part, and what, if any changes, they would make to the words or delivery described in the screenplay.

  • Work together to stage a meeting between the director and the actors. The director should explain ideas about the scene and how it should be played, including coaching the actors on how to read their lines. The actors should ask questions or clarify ways they want to vary their reading from the director’s ideas.

  • Share your cast meeting with the class.

Verbal Expression: Section of Screenplay

With a partner, create your own screenplay for a short section of the novel.

  • Review the screenplay for the format. You may also want to briefly review the kinds of decisions made by Horton Foote for the screenplay pages studied in class (pp. 65–66, 104–105, 125–126).

  • Choose a short section of the novel to present as a screenplay.

  • Decide which events and characters to include.

  • Write the dialogue and the directions for the actors and camera.

  • Share your writing with the class.


Social Justice/Equality: Court Case Simulation

Even after the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments in 1868 and 1870, many states were able to enact segregation laws. In fact, the Supreme Court had ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that segregated facilities, if equal, did not violate the Constitution. In the 1930s, the time period of the novel, African American attorneys made the decision to use the legal system to challenge segregation as part of a long-term strategy. Finally, in 1952, another court case, Brown v. Board of Education, reached the Supreme Court and succeeded in overturning Plessy v. Ferguson. Work in a small group to present the arguments made by the two teams of lawyers.




All Module Texts

NOTE: The first Teaching Extension activity is ideal for background building at the beginning of the module. The video in the second Teaching Extension should be shown at any point prior to reading the play. In addition, there are resources provided in the Pacing Plan for use during the Lesson 13 Pause Point. These resources may of course be used elsewhere in the module if desired. Finally, the many nonfiction background articles that students read during the lessons may also provide useful information for teacher background and additional extension or engagement ideas.

Teaching Extension: Background on Shakespeare’s Times

  • To help students understand the historical period in which Shakespeare lived and wrote, share the following:

  • William Shakespeare lived in England from 1564 to 1616 during the Elizabethan Era, a period known as the Golden Age for its stability and prosperity. During the rule of Elizabeth 1, England was a major power in world politics and commerce, as well as overseas exploration. In addition, Queen Elizabeth 1’s appreciation of theater, writing, music, and dancing raised the arts to a new level of importance in society.

  • The Elizabethan Era was part of the Renaissance, a two-hundred year period beginning around 1450 in Italy. During this time, new ideas spread across Europe through the development of paper, printing, and education. This period also saw the growth of merchants and artisans.

  • The Renaissance was marked by a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, literature, and philosophy as well as by advances in science, math, and the arts.

  • During the Renaissance, artists blended ideas and forms from Greek and Roman culture with the contemporary style.

  • In Midsummer Night’s Dream, for example, Shakespeare’s borrowed characters from Greek mythology and Latin texts.

Teaching Extension: Sharing a Video

Content Areas: Science

The Elizabethan era was a time of great advances in science and technology. While scholars debate the extent of Shakespeare’s knowledge, his works show some degree of awareness.

Text(s): A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare and “Shakespeare’s Life and Times” (https://www.rsc.org.uk/shakespeares-life-and-times)

Content Areas: Literary Allusions

Authors have always borrowed from each other to retell these essential stories in new ways. “Shakespeare: Life and Times” points out that Shakespeare borrowed characters and even plots from other writers. In Midsummer Night’s Dream, some of the characters put on a play based on the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. This story comes from Metamorphoses, a long poem by the Roman poet Ovid. Ovid in turn borrowed and retold stories from Greek mythology.

Find out more about the way authors use previously writings as material.

Text(s): “Shakespeare’s Theatre” (https://www.folger.edu/shakespeares-theater) and Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Visual Expression: Set Design

“Shakespeare’s Theatre” explains that stages and set designs in Shakespeare’s time were usually simple since a play might be taken on tour or performed in a noble’s courtyard or in the royal palace. Imagine that you are designing the set for a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  • Look for details in the text that help you visualize the setting.

  • Use the details to draw and describe the set design.

Content Areas: Social Studies

The article also points out that theatres had little money for costumes. Players often wore second-hand clothes, previously owned by real-life nobles. Audiences enjoyed seeing the lavish clothing even if it was in disrepair.

  • Search the Internet by “clothing of nobles in Renaissance.”

  • Use your research to help you design costumes for two characters in Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  • Draw the costumes or use images from the Internet.

Text(s): “How Shakespeare Influences the Way We Speak Now” (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140527-say-what-shakespeares-words)

Visual Expression: Collage

According to the article, phrases and lines from Shakespeare’s poems and plays are used in everyday language and in all the arts. In fact, some composers, choreographers, and artists use quotes from Shakespeare in the titles of their works.

Text(s): “Shakespeare and Love” (http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/article/shakespearelibrary/shakespeareandlove) and Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Connecting Texts: Poem

In “Shakespeare and Love,” you read about ways that Shakespeare wrote about love. In Midsummer Night’s Dream, he used both prose and blank verse to explore some of his ideas about love. In “Shakespeare and Love,” you read about other ways that Shakespeare wrote about love. Blank verse consists of lines that have ten syllables each and do not rhyme. A syllable with a short stress is followed by a syllable with a long stress. Write a poem in blank verse to express some of your ideas about love.

  • To prepare for writing in blank verse, whisper read the two lines from Act 1, Scene 1, of Midsummer Night’s Dream, emphasizing each underlined syllable slightly:
    Four days will quickly steep themselves in night,
    Four nights will quickly steep themselves in time.

  • Think about ideas you could like to express in a poem about love. Do you think love is an illusion, or does love help you see more clearly? Do you want to write a serious poem or a humorous one.

  • Create a poem in blank verse.

  • Share it with the class.

  • If time allows, rewrite the poem in free verse (with no regular meter), and share that one, too, and together discuss the impact of the meter on the meaning.

Text(s): A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

NOTE: You may want to explain that it is common practice with plays to refer to acts, scenes, and lines with Roman numerals, e.g. II.ii.50 refers to Act 2, Scene 2, line 50, while V.i.133 refers to Act 5, Scene 1, line 133. The lessons for A Midsummer Night’s Dream often follow this convention, however, some editions of the text may not. They may instead use Arabic numerals, e.g. Act 1, Scene 2, Line 50, both in the lines of the play and the glossary on each adjacent page. Briefly review Roman numerals up to 20 to ensure that students can navigate the text and connect it to instruction.

Visual Expression: Cartoon Strip

Depict one of the scenes from the play in a cartoon strip.

  • Include at least six frames in your cartoon strip and decide what events will appear in each frame.

  • Include all the characters and major events.

  • Invent your own dialogue based on lines in the play. Include some words and phrases from the play.

  • Use bubbles to show the characters’ words and thoughts.

  • Share the cartoon strip with the class.

Verbal Expression: News Report

Imagine that you are a news reporter whose job is to report on the events in the woods. You have just learned that Hermia has disappeared.

  • Think about which characters you would interview and what you might ask.

  • Imagine what the interviewees might tell you. Consider what you know about the characters and their points of view.

  • Share what you learned about the missing girl with the class. In your report, name your sources and include any quote.

Content Areas: Culture

A Midsummer Night’s Dream ends with the weddings of three couples. A wedding is one way that people formalize their partnership. It usually includes a formal ceremony that involves the couple and a religious or other leader, as well as sometimes family members. The couple make promises about their partnership. Sometimes this ceremony is followed by a celebration or party of some kind that includes family and friends. Choose one of the couples and imagine a wedding or other ritual to celebrate a partnership.

  • Think about the two characters, their history, and their relationship.

  • Choose a song for the couple’s event. It might be music used during the ceremony or the first dance they celebrate with.

  • For background about wedding music, listen to “The Wedding March.” This music, which is often played during wedding ceremonies, was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1842 for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. You can hear it at this website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Oo4z37OUEI.

  • You can also hear some popular songs couples have used for their first dance at a wedding party by searching “popular wedding songs” and the year.

  • Create the promises the couple would exchange. (Think about what promises you think people who love each other should make.)

  • Share the music and promises with the class.

Performance Arts: Tableaux Vivants

Work in a small group to create a tableau vivant, or living picture, of a part of the play. Ideally, the part should be less than 50 lines. Create a caption that explains the importance of the scene.

  • Together decide on which part to recreate and who will play each character.

  • Pinpoint key lines, actions, and feelings that make the part important.

  • Arrange yourselves like frozen statues in an opening tableau.

  • One at a time, each character comes to life, speaks a line, and changes position. A character might speak more than once.

  • Rehearse the tableau a few times.

  • Share your caption with the class, and then perform the tableau.

Text(s): All Module Texts

NOTE: You may want to share the Diversity in Wheatley entry as well as the Grade 8 rows of the chart that follows it to provide a starting point for discussion about diversity in literacy curricula. Clarify that Wheatley’s definition of diversity is one of many and encourage students to discuss how they might change that definition.

Across the Module: Group Discussion

In this module, you’ve read Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as many articles exploring Shakespeare’s innovativeness, his richness of thought and language, and his influence on modern culture and language. You’ve also read articles debating the value of teaching Shakespeare to young people. In a small group, discuss the optimal literature for a grade 8 class consisting of students from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

  • As a group discuss these questions:

    • Should Shakespeare be taught? If so, would you teach his poems or a play?

    • If you would choose a play, would it be Midsummer Night’s Dream or would you choose another one?

    • Can literature have universal themes that apply beyond the specific content of the story or is literature only accessible when readers can see themselves in the content of the story?

  • Discuss the texts you have read in modules one through four, as well as texts you’ve read on your own. Together decide on ten additional pieces of literature to include in a grade 8 curriculum. Include poems, novels, plays, and literary nonfiction.

  • Compare your list with those of other small groups.




All Module Texts

Teaching Extension: Teaching Sensitive Topics (Racism)


“World War I Was World’s First ‘Total War’” by Jennifer D. Keene: https://newsela.com/read/gl-history-world-war-I/id/23712 

“Combat and the Soldier’s Experience in World War One” by Vanda Wilcox: http://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/combat-and-soldiers-experiences  

Visual Expression: Posters

Content Areas: Science and Technology

Text(s): The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks

For the second activity, encourage students who can play an instrument or sing to perform one of the featured songs or share their own recording of it.

Social Justice/Equality: Group Discussion and Timeline

Max Brooks begins the text with an 1863 quote by Frederick Douglass and and ends with a 1919 quote by W. E. B. DuBois. Both men played important roles in African American history and in the struggle for racial equality. Work with a small group to create a timeline that shows events in the men’s lives and their contributions.

  • Visit sites such as these to learn more about Douglass, DuBois, and the times in which they lived:

  • Discuss the obstacles faced by each man and his contributions.

  • Together, create a timeline that includes events and actions in the lives of both men.

  • Revisit page 77 of The Harlem Hellfighters, which includes a picture of W.E.B. DuBois and his most famous quotes from a 1903 book. Discuss the meaning of the quotes and their placement in the book.

  • Reread the postscript in The Harlem Hellfighters. What does it mean to you? Why do you think the author chose that quote? How might DuBois evaluate our democracy today?

  • Share the timeline with the class, and your group’s ideas.

Content Areas: Music

James Reese Europe had been a popular and accomplished jazz musician before the war. As leader of the 396th Infantry Band, he helped lift the spirits of many soldiers, including generals. Work with a small group to explore James Reese Europe’s music and his role in spreading jazz to Europe.

Text(s): All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Verbal Expression: Haikus

A haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that uses three lines of five, seven, and five syllables to create an image. This image is meant to arouse emotion or lead to a special insight. Write three haikus that reflect your understanding of ideas in All Quiet on the Western Front.

  • Think about moments in the book that particularly affected you. Was the narrator conveying a strong emotion, such as claustrophobia or remorse? Or expressing an important idea?

  • In each haiku, use sensory details from the book to create an image. Remember that a sensory detail can appeal to any sense.

  • Check that each haiku is made up of three lines of five, seven, and five syllable.

  • Share your haikus with the class. Invite classmates to identify the idea you are conveying.

Visual Expression: Set Design

Imagine that you are the set designer for a play adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front.

  • Choose one or two of these settings from the novel: the training camp, the hospital, Paul’s hometown, the trench.

  • Create a design for that setting based on details from the novel. Include a drawing and labels.

  • Share your set design with the class.


You may wish to create a sign-up sheet for the class to avoid duplication. Alternatively, you might decide that it is fine for more than one student to read a poem.

Performance Arts: Poetry Reading

The poems in this module convey the poets’ feelings about war and death. Hardy’s poem, unlike those of Seeger and McCrae, expresses an anti-war sentiment. Participate in a reading of poems by writers who fought in World War I. The reading should include other poems in addition to those in the module.

  • Visit this site to find anti-war poems by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as other World War I poems by Alan Seeger: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/ 

  • Search for poems by each poet’s name.

  • Identify poems written about the war.

  • Choose a poem by one of the poets to read aloud.

  • Read the section on the life of the poet as well.

  • Practice reading your poem aloud several times. Use appropriate emphasis and some gestures to convey the ideas in the poem.

  • Perform your poem during the class reading. Share a few facts about the poet.