This year I am teaching a literature class at our co-op for 7th-12th grade girls. Well, it was OPEN to all students that age, but only girls signed up! The book we are reading and studying is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. No brave boys!
I made the decision to show A&E 's miniseries of Pride and Prejudice to my class, the week before classes started. I did this because many of my students are in junior high, several have some learning issues, and I think this version is close to the book. This way, the girls would be able to read the book and follow what is happening. The parents and the girls tell me this was helpful to them.
The day they came over for our miniseries watching, we also had tea, scones and sweets.
When classes started they were able to jump right in with discussion. They really have enjoyed discussing what Jane Austen was trying to tell us about the culture, society etc...
In addition to this I decided we must have a Christmas Ball, since dances were such a huge aspect of the social scenes in the Regency Period. I found a company on line www.efdss.org
that sells dvd's that teach children how to do English Country dances. This was very popular with the girls. We learned two dances, and then last week we had our Ball!
The parents made dresses or pulled together outfits that were Regency style. We had researched how to do their hair and what kind of jewelry they wore. Many of my students whole families came. It was a blast! Even the brothers of one of my students learned the dances at the Ball and then danced!
During our reading of the book, Mr. Bingley tells Lydia Bennet that when his cook has made enough "white soup," they would set the date for the Ball at Netherfield. This intriged us all and while doing research at www.pemberly.com I found out how to make white soup. Apparently this was something that they drank at balls, since they did buffets, not sit down dinners. I made white soup for our ball, and all the girls tried it. They found it to be quite tasty.
By adding these real life activities to your learning, your students end up with real experiential knowledge of what life was like, how people interacted, what historical things were happening in the world. Your students will have a better understanding than simply reading a book or studying a text!