Another Way to Review Novels: How Iconic!

These gilt edged books can represent the hope of new money for Nick or the grand but false image Gatsby portrays in his library: the educated man.

These gilt edged books can represent the hope of new money for Nick or the grand but false image Gatsby portrays in his library: the educated man.

Because we are nearing the final exams, my students are eager to review the semester of reading. I’ve tried to keep the other readings fresh in their minds by linking the readings together as we read—looking for parallels and significant differences—but the time has come for an overall review. I want them to be able to plan their essays without the time needed to recall the events and character names. So we review:

Objects for the novel

This is a fun and random way to review. Choose objects that are important for the novel and show pictures of the objects to the students using a projector, or

This car is only yellow, not gold. Gatsby can only create an artificial dream. The real one can't be. Also, here's the car that killed Myrtle!

This car is only yellow, not gold. Gatsby can only create an artificial dream. The real one can’t be. Also, here’s the car that killed Myrtle!

print them out. Each student has to identify when the object occurs in the novel and why it is important. For students who remember better with visual cues, this is a great review activity.

There are many web sites for photos, but the one that I recommend is Pixabay because it is free to use and the images are not copyrighted. The users of the site allow their images to be used without protecting them with copyright—an important fact when teaching and modeling ethical use of online sources. Do you have another favorite source?

This activity can easily be extended to help the kids review the story chronology. If you have printed out the images, have the students put them in order of the events of the novel. If they are doing it as a group, it can be interactive and involve movement—make the kids hold the image and line up across the room in the order that the objects would appear in the book. This involves two other ways students can remember content, and it allows for more flexible thinking about what happened in the novel.

The gun that killed Gatsby: George's anger toward Gatsby was also an illusion, but the death was not, either of them.

The gun that killed Gatsby: George’s anger toward Gatsby was also an illusion, but the death was not, either of them.

Here is a list for The Great Gatsby: train ticket, polo pony, wine glass, old phone, green light, gas pump, old spectacles, puppy, bloody nose, gild edged books, molars, rain, very fine shirts, yellow car, gun, old diary, wet paper, yacht, coffin. I’m sure you can think of more!

Daisy cries over these shirts. When she is first reunited with Gatsby, his love and attention are overwhelming, especially compared to the brutality of Tom Buchanan.

Daisy cries over these shirts. When she is first reunited with Gatsby, his love and attention are overwhelming, especially compared to the brutality of Tom Buchanan.

Modify

After having your kids do an activity with your choices, have them select images that illustrate another novel. At first, they can explain their choices, or have others try and explain why another student chose an image.

Use Tech

If your school has Google Docs, this would be a great time to have them use Google Presentation. They each get to create a slide and add it to the presentation. Once they get finished explaining their choices, have them try to organize them chronologically. They’ll have to communicate; otherwise, the re-ordering can get a little crazy.

Watch for the next post on more creative ways to review novels.

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