I recently assigned my students a project for Lord of the Flies where they had to compile evidence from the novel to create a map of the island setting within the novel, and it was one of the most magical days in my classroom so far this year.
I gave my students only one day to complete this map project in class, and every single student was participating, thinking critically, and looking for clues within the text to help with the project.
In order to create such a successful day in the classroom, I front-loaded this activity quite extensively. About a week and a half before the map-making activity, I instructed my students to record quotations about the setting and layout of the island. They recorded quotes and page numbers, and they also sketched out some of the settings as we read. As a bell-ringer on one of the days before the assignment, I assigned a couple pages from the novel as close reading and had my students write down two examples of imagery that vividly described the setting. At the end of the bell-ringer, several students shared their findings with the class.
We completed this assignment after reading the first three chapters of the novel. I wanted to assign this project early enough that it would help students understand the layout of the island, but I also wanted to make sure that they had enough text to work with.
Before actually assigning the map project, I made sure that my students were ready for the assignment and that they had enough details. Since so many maps of the island are available online, I wanted to make this an assignment that was solely based on textual evidence, and the only way to ensure that students didn’t look at examples online was to have this project be an in-class, one-day assignment.
My class worked in small groups of four to six students. In addition to producing a colorful and textually-accurate map, each group also had to complete a chart with properly cited quotes, and then match up those quotes to the details on the map.
At any given time in the class, there was always something to do. Students could look for details in the text, or they could write the quotes on the chart, or they could draw details on the map, or they could color the map. Every student was engaged, actively participating, and interacting with the text.
After the assignment was over, I used the maps and the masks my students created as another project to create a bulletin board for the rest of the unit of study. You can download the FREELord of the Flies bulletin board letters for your classroom HERE. Both the Lord of the Flies Map Project and Mask Project are included in my Lord of the Flies Teaching Unit.