Matchmaker, matchmaker, make us a teaching guide.
In the literary world, there's no one more relatable than Jane Austen and her girl, Emma. We can help you match these two up as your students' new BFFs. Yes, even the guys.
In this guide you will find
- assignments asking students WWJD: What Would Jane Do?
- resources on the related works of Jane Austen.
- modern pop culture connections, featuring comic books, musicals, Bollywood, and of course, Gwyneth Paltrow.
If you have this teaching guide, there'll be no need for your students to consciously uncouple themselves from the book.
What's Inside Shmoop's Literature Teaching Guides
Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring literature to life.
Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:
- 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students.
- Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
- Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
- Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
- A note from Shmoop’s teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.
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Instructions for You
Objective: How do you take a nineteenth-century novel and make it fun for teenagers? You guessed it: turn it into a movie. But instead of just watching a movie adaptation, we want to be sure our students engage with the movie and relate it to the book: how are the themes, characters and plot conveyed in a new medium? Especially in an era where media is king, this will be a super important activity: plus it's fun to boot.
Length of Lesson: 2 class periods—one to introduce the assignment and get students started, and a second class period a week or so later for students to present the work.
NOTE: The actual movie-viewing time will take place outside of class, as will the majority of students' preparation for their presentations.
- Text of Emma
- Access to film adaptations of the novel
- PowerPoint or similar presentation software
- Projector, SmartBoard, or large monitor for classroom presentations
Step 1: After the class has read the entire novel (this is key!), present to them a bunch of the different film versions of Emma that have been done over the last few decades. You can use the Internet Movie Database in order to do this efficiently. The three films that we most highly recommend are:
Step 2: This is going to be a group project, so ask students to choose a group. (Since a majority of the work for the project will be done outside of class, it is probably best to let the students find their own groups, but do limit the group size to 3 students.) Then ask each group to choose one film adaptation of the novel: they're all awesome, so hopefully there will be different preferences, but be sure to encourage variety! Let them know that they'll be making a multimedia presentation about the film they choose.
Step 3: The time has come to assign the project. Each group will view the film (that's the fun part!) and take notes on how their version adapts the novel. Then, the group will use a program such as PowerPoint to create a multimedia presentation that addresses the following concerns:
- What significant or interesting editorial choices does the adapter make in presenting the plot, characters, or themes of the novel? Be specific!
- How well are our expectations, as readers of the novel, met in the adaptation?
- What is particularly well done in the film? What is controversial or difficult about it?
- Groups should try to find a clip or two from the film to illustrate their points of view about the adaptation.
Step 4: Of course, the students should have the chance to present to the class. Remember that these took a lot of time and effort, so be sure to allot enough time for everyone to say their piece. Also, make sure the non-presenting students are able to ask questions of the presenters: keep 'em engaged!
(California Common Core Standards for English Language Arts: 9th and 10th grade Key Ideas and Details 2,3; Craft and Structure 5,6; Interpretation of Knowledge & Ideas 7; Range of Reading 10; Text Types and Purposes 2, 3; Production and Distribution of Writing 4, 5, 6; Research to Build & Present Knowledge 7,9; Range of Writing 10; Comprehension & Collaboration 1, 2, 3; Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4, 5, 6; Conventions of Standard English 1,2; Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 4, 5, 6. 11th and 12th grade Key Ideas and Details 2,3; Craft and Structure 5,6; Range of Reading 10;Text Types and Purposes 2,3; Production and Distribution of Writing 4, 5, 6; Research to Build & Present Knowledge 7, 9; Range of Writing 10; Comprehension & Collaboration 1, 2, 3; Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4, 5, 6; Conventions of Standard English 1,2; Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 4, 5, 6.)
Special Education supplement:
If you're teaching this activity in a class with a majority of special education students or students with learning difficulties, you might try this alternative approach:
Follow steps 1 and 2 as an entire class, and have students vote on which movie version they would like to view together. Identify key points of comparison that you would like for students to analyze in the movie, and use a graphic organizer to list these comparisons to make their lives a little easier while taking notes during the movie. We suggest making a handout chart that they can write on as they watch.
For step 4, have students divide into groups and choose one comparison from the text to present on. That should help you avoid confusion among the groups, and it will allow you to help those individual groups more effectively as you make the rounds. You can even provide one of the questions to each group, so that after each groups has presented, all of the students will have the big picture compare-and-contrast of the book and movie.
If you have a lot of ELL students in your class, this activity is not to be missed. Movies are a great way to allow our ELL students to have an even playing field because the visual components provide supplemental material to enhance their understanding. Full of body language and verbal cues, a film version of Emma will allow even the lowest-level ELL student to excel.
Consider asking your ELL students to watch one of the more true-to-the-book adaptations. We love us some Clueless, but we want them to get an extra boost of understanding from the movie, and the closer the adaptation, the more of a payoff you'll get in the end.
Instructions for Your Students
Break out the popcorn, it's movie time. You're going to take some time to view a film adaptation of Emma and create a multi-media presentation that shows how the themes, characters and plot of the novel are conveyed in a new medium. Yep, that's right, using media to talk about media. Doesn't get more twenty-first-century than that.
Step 1: After you have read the entire novel (tough part's over, right?), take a look at the different film versions of Emma that have been done over the last few years. You can use the Internet Movie Database to find them all. Some of our suggestions?
Step 2: Choose a group to work with for this project, but keep the number of students down to about 3. Each group will choose one film adaptation of the novel to watch (viewing party!) and then you'll create a multimedia presentation together to present your thoughts on the adaptation. Two thumbs up or two thumbs down?
Step 3: While you're watching, make sure to take some notes on how your version adapts the novel. (What's similar? What's different? What's awesome? What's not?) Once you've dried those tears – yeah, Shmoop's a sap – your group will use a program such as PowerPoint to create a multimedia presentation that addresses the following questions:
- Bottom line: what did you think? What choices did the adapter make in presenting the plot, characters, or themes of the novel? Were there a lot of changes? If so, why do you think they made those choices?
- How well are our expectations, as readers of the novel, met in the adaptation? If we're a diehard Emma fan, will we be satisfied?
- What is particularly well done in the film? What is controversial or difficult about it?
- Try to use a clip or two from the film to illustrate your points of view about the adaptation (remember, not everyone has seen every movie!).
Step 4: You'll get a chance to present your masterpiece to the class (as a group): make sure you are ready to answer questions from your classmates. They'll probably have plenty—especially if they haven't seen the movie!
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Common Core Standards
The following standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1