The Metamorphosis: Lessons

This year I've started putting some of the more high-interest lessons that may or may not be Common Core related on some level. Part of this is for my own personal reference later, and then, of course, it's for anyone else stuck planning- I know I've turned to the internet for help on multiple occasions.

This grading period we just finished Franz Kafka's novella The Metamorphosis. Some ideas:

Bug Model (done at home; one class period to present)
Over Christmas break I had students create a replica of Gregor the bug based on textual clues. They were instructed on the size limits and told to be creative. When they returned they had to present their model to the class (I had some really great ones).

Skills: creativity, close reading, public speaking 

Alternate Theories (30 minute to get organized; 1 period to work, 1 period to complete Socratic Seminar)
There are many theories as to whether or not Gregor was really a bug. Some alternate theories include him having tuberculosis, a mental illness, or just being the manifestation of a strong urge to write autobiographically on Kafka's part. Students were divided into groups and were each given an alternate theory. They had to do some research and come up with three academic(ish) sources, which they then paired with the text. The next step was creating a poster which proved their point and incorporated components from their sources and the book itself. The final step was to participate in a Socratic Seminar in which the students debated the issue of Gregor's identity. They had to turn in the first pages of each source, a works cited page, and their poster.

Skills: research, close reading, MLA, synthesis, public speaking/discussion

Prequel (extra credit; done at home)
Students were given the opportunity to create a prequel to the text, explaining why Gregor turned into a bug/thought he turned into a bug. This was supposed to be done in a pseudo-pastiche style and was between 500-700 words.

Skills: creative writing

Weather and Food (two class periods)
Students were either assigned to belong to the "food" or "weather" group, and received the corresponding chapter from How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. They read the text and took notes, and then got together in small groups with other students who had read the same chapter to discuss their findings and apply it to The Metamorphosis, while adding to their notes. They then found a partner who had worked with the opposite topic (so a "weather" person found a "food" person) and "taught" each other what they had learned from their reading and discussion.

Skills: close reading, discussion, note-taking, partner work 

Students also did three explications, a more broad Socratic Seminar, a process paper, and the normal symbol/theme/motif/characters rigamarole.




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