Tips for Teaching the Classics Without Boring Your Students to Death

Level Up to Teach Classic Literature Like a Pro

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Classic literature can be exciting. You can teach classic literature like a pro with today’s insight from Starr Sackstein. What do Rodney Dangerfield, Alfred Hitchcock, and Harry Potter have to do with teaching students about classical literature? You’ll have to listen to find out. 😉 (I can’t believe all of them came up in one episode!) This wide-ranging conversation hits at the heart of teaching literature. Just because a piece was written hundreds of years ago doesn’t mean that it be irrelevant to the students who read the text.

Teach classic literature without boring your students to death

From making annotations to making the book relevant, to finding the “right answer,” Starr talks about the pitfalls and successful strategies she has used to teach kids about classical literature.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher

Today’s Sponsor, Owl Eyes

If you teach classical literature, you’ll want to check out Owl Eyes! Owl Eyes has a free library with lots of free exemplar texts like Beowulf, Hamlet, and others. Teachers can include their annotations in the book before students download them. As students read, teachers can see student annotations as they’re making them. You can even embed quizzes in the text. (No more waiting — the moment students finish a section, you can check for understanding.)

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Owl Eyes is a game changer for people who teach classic literature. Take time to download Owl Eyes now and see if they have the books your teaching this year in their library. It can save you a lot of time and give you the ability to do things you never could before.

Show Notes on how to Teach Classic Literature:

  • How do you encourage students to find evidence for their conclusions?
  • What if their evidence or conclusions don’t align with those of “experts”?
  • How do you make literature relate to students who may not be interested in that book? (I like the example of how Starr relates Pride and Prejudice to some of the male readers in her class who don’t care for the book.) 
  • How do you use annotations and close reading techniques to help students read more deeply?
  • What mistakes did Starr make in her earlier years and how did she change to level up her teaching?

Who is Starr Sackstein?

Starr Sackstein teaches writing and journalism in New York City. She is a National Board-certified teacher and the New York director for the Journalism Education Association. Sackstein is also the author of the book Teaching Mythology. @mssackstein. Starr also appeared in Episode 125.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post Tips for Teaching the Classics Without Boring Your Students to Death appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

via Vicki Davis at Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

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