Opposites, an activity for while or post reading


I’d like to share a quick activity that I’m planning to do with my students tomorrow.

1. Tell students to think about the characters in the book/story/novel you’re working on

2. Ask them to prepare a list of characters traits and then ask their friends if the adjectives they chose for these characters are correct or they are the opposites.

For example: (from Animal Farm)

             Benjamin Cynical

              Boxer      Lazy

              Molly      Caring

Variation: Prepare cards with characters’ names and an adjective to describe them. Ask students to choose a card at a time and decide if the adjective is correct or it must be the opposite to describe the character.

Joyce in Class


Joyce is one of the most difficult authors. It is not easy to understand him so he is not usually in high school teachers’ lists. However, if you have a class who loves reading short stories, you can give it a try to Dubliners. I’m not saying that we can read all the stories but 2 years ago with a group of students I had the chance to read Eveline which is relatively easy to understand.

Unfortunately I can’t be in Dublin for Bloomsday activities. Yet thinking my professor at university who infected me with Joyce, I think I can do something here far away from Dublin to celebrate his genius in literature.

Here is a lesson plan for Eveline.

1. Give some background information about Dublin, Joyce, Dubliners, religion, family life. Otherwise; they won’t understand Eveline’s decision.

2. Pre-reading discussions. Group them and ask them to discuss the followings.

  • What are your expectations from the future?
  • Think about leaving your homeland and family. Will it be easy or difficult?
  • Discuss why people are afraid of leaving the things, people, places with whom they are safe? 
  • Should children sacrifice themselves to look after their parents and siblings?
  • Is it always easy to leave your home and/or country? In what situations can that be possible.

3. Prepare a word cloud for Eveline (from a summary you wrote or somewhere else) hand out the word clouds to the students and ask them to guess the story.

4. Most probably your students will need some vocab activities if they are not native speakers and a vocab exercise on some key words will help them understand the story.

After reading.

  1. Write a brief character sketch of Eveline, Mr Hill and Frank.
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of her going away?
  3. What do you think Frank and Buones Aires represent in the story?
  4. How does the memory of her mother effect her decision?
  5. What would have happened if Eveline had left her home? Organise your thoughts and write a short story.
  6. If you were Eveline, would you leave? Why/ Why not?
  7. You are shooting a film called ‘Eveline’. Who will be your cast? Choose a song for soundtrack. Give your reasons. Prepare a glogster poster for your film adding the song.
  8. Write a poem about the story.
  9. Create a slideshow with a short summary of the story, adding text and music.
  10. Draw scenes from the story, add the summary and create your movie.
  11. Adapt Eveline to 21st century and rewrite a short story with the same characters in your own city.

For more ideas visit here  and here and here and here.

Post-reading activities for the readers

With my intermediate and upper-intermediate students,we read readers in the classroom. They are abridged but with some activities, we try to analyze the texts as much as possible.

This is how I assigned them after we read The Grapes of Wrath

1. Choose a character and write a description

2. Write a book review.

3. Write a song lyric or a poem describing the events

4. You’re a newspaper reporter and took the photos of the migrant workers while working or while travelling. Write a diary entry explaining your feelings.

5. How is life similar to journey. Discuss.

6. Create an animation for the book using goanimate or xtranormal.

7. Write how the story continued for one of the characters.

You can also see some activities that we did before we started reading the book here.