Getting to the end of a novel is exciting. I love when all of our ideas and discussions come together. I feel like we can have “meaty” conversations and the students see there was a method to my madness. However, if you’re tired of passing out an end-of-novel exam or essays, consider one of those activities.
End of Novel Activities
Facilitating a Socratic Seminar in the classroom is a great way to discuss, review, and analyze literature. Students partake in discussions and voice their own questions and opinions. Socratic Seminars can be used for any novel. You can accommodate by breaking your class up into smaller group sizes, so if you have a large class or vastly differening abilities, you can create better opportunities for students to have open discussions.
This Socratic Seminar resource is great for teachers who are looking to assess a student’s understanding of literary analysis.
Comic Strip Analysis
A comic strip analysis activity for the end of a novel is not only a way to bring artistry to your classroom, but you also challenge students to think concisely. Students will need to know the text well enough to abbreviate for a comic strip. I find this to be an excellent option for students to reflect on a novel. Don’t think this is just a few drawings. Have students include direct quotes from the novel as their dialogue, cite the information, focus on one aspect of literary analysis, etc. You can also help your students who may balk at a drawing requirement by having students use the computer to create graphics.
A fun way to bring this assignment into the 21st century is to assign students a digital comic strip by using Canva!
Instead of having a large group chat, put students together in groups of two or three for a podcast chat. Students who may have difficulty asserting themselves into the conversation may benefit from this small-group style project. Have students create a clever name and catchy introduction followed by the “meat” of the podcast. Students can discuss key elements, be candid with their opinions, and include personal connections. You can also create a list of other discussion topics that you would like for them to include, such as author information, a relevant quiz or challenge, and connections to other literature, history, or current events. You can broaden this activity by having students to listen to each other’s podcasts and respond with peer evaluations.
The sky is really the limit with collaborative posts. At the end of a novel, you can select what type of posters you want students to complete. This is a great opportunity to focus on any elements you’d like students to work on, without dedicating specific study like an essay or quiz. For example, you may have students who need to work on their research skills. You can have students work on posters involving historical references, or author biography. You can also have students review literary analysis through collaborative posters as well.
When finished, give your students opportunity to participate in a gallery walk. It’s great if you’ve had students work on different tasks, such as analyzing symbols or discussing types of conflict. Students can use this opportunity to review and study for any potential end of novel test you may decide to complete, or it works as a standalone activity.
If you are looking for some inspiration, these short story review posters can be modified for novels.
Another creative idea is for students to create some type of design with the novel as their inspiration. Students might design a museum for historical novels, complete with relevant exhibits and writing tour information. A lighter novel might inspire a theme park. Students can create “lands” for the park inspired by characters or major plot points. A novel with multiple settings might have a map created of the travels, or a brochure if it is a land unfamiliar to the students. This is an interesting activity to try if you’re looking for students to have a new take on using the information gleaned from novels.
There is certainly a need for students to work on writing, and I have given my fair share of tests before. But, I also love giving my students creative opportunities to share what they know. I also like keeping them on their toes, wondering what activity I have in store for them next.
What are end-of-novel activities that you’ve used recently? What are student favorites that you have used again and again?