As the school year is starting, you may be knee deep in teaching your tenth novel, or working on starting your very first one. Either way here are some tips to keep it successful for everyone. Remember this will only be my third year teaching with TPRS novels, so I am still learning and growing. I do not claim to be an expert, just someone who has figured out best practice for me.
Pick an easy novel to start
Get the Teacher’s Guide
If the book you are teaching has a teacher’s guide, you MUST buy it. Yes, they are expensive, but that is because they are worth their weight in gold and are FULL of amazing ideas, resources and will save you a ton of time. Your time is precious, do not waste it doing the work that has already been done for you. If you are teaching a new novel that does not yet have a guide, search Pinterest, blogs and the Internet before you try to reinvent the wheel. Check out Novel Basics – Part 1 – Research & Find Funding to find out how to get this guide paid for and Novel Basics – Part 2 – Organize & Plan to get ready to teach. Finally, if it will be your first novel, read How to Teach Your 1st Novel and Teaching a Novel 101 – Presentation.
Work Smarter, Not Harder – enlist help
Don’t just print off the chapter questions
Keep it interesting!
If you are centering your class around novels, you have to mix up each chapter or it will get VERY boring very fast. Make sure to only introduce a couple new key vocabulary words each chapter. Any more than this and you should have picked an easier book. I personally do a lot of the culture front loaded before starting the novel, such as films and authentic readings. Once you get started reading, who wants to wait a whole week for the next chapter. You have to keep momentum for the novel to stay fresh and entertaining. Here are a few posts I have on mixing it up – Teaching a Novel? Spice it Up!, 20 Activities for a Novel & No Prep Post reading activities for any novel.
What are your top tips for teaching with novels?