Of Mice and Men - Activities

Journal of Key Terms

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Hands On
Materials:

  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper

  • Writing Instrument

  • Dictionary/Encyclopedia

Keeping a journal of Key Terms is one of the easiest ways to make the text interactive. Anytime that you cross a word or phrase that you do not understand, jot it down in your journal. Right after you have written down the word, you have the option of either looking up the word/phrase at that moment, or after you've finished the chapter. 

Write down the definition or explanation of the word/phrase in your journal so that you have it as a reference throughout the rest of the story.


 

List of Characters

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Hands On
Materials:

  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper 

  • Writing Instrument

Keeping a List of Characters is another way to make the text interactive. Anytime you come across a new character, write their name down in your journal. Keep a bulleted list prepared underneath the name of each character and write down defining characteristics of their personality or significant events that they are involved in. 

This will help you create a clearer idea of each character and their purpose in the story.


 

Audio Book

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Audio (and visual when accompanied by book)
Materials:

  • Tape Player/CD Player/MP3 Player 

  • Of Mice and Men Audio tape/CD/MP3

An audio book/tape/MP3 is a great way to experience the text. If you have already read the book version of Of Mice and Men, listening to the audio version will help you pick out and appreciate parts of the story that you might not have noticed while reading it. 

If you haven't read the text of Of Mice and Men yet, it is strongly recommended that you follow the book along with the audio version of the story to reap the full benefit of this activity.


 

Flashcards

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Audio
Materials:

  • Cards/construction paper

  • Colored pencils/markers

  • Computer/printer (if cards are to be printed out)

The flash cards can be created from scratch using construction paper/note cards and colored pencils/markers. You also have the option of printing out the cards on the computer. 

The subject chosen for the flash cards can be particular or miscellaneous. A great idea is to use questions and answers from the Study Guide section on this website or to write down any specific questions you know that you want to work on remembering.

A few additional ideas for what to put on the cards can be found below:

People/Characters: You can find pictures either on the internet or at the library to represent characters in the text and paste the name below the picture. You also have the option of using the character name as a heading and writing a short summary of the character below the name.

Cultural References: As seen in the Glossary section of this site, there are many cultural and regional references. Learning the meaning of these terms and objects will enhance your understanding of what is going on in the text.

Quotes: There are some very specific, poignant quotes in Of Mice and Men; you can choose some of the most memorable quotes from the text and learn who has said what.


 

Acting

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Audio (and Visual, if props and backdrop are used)
Materials:

  • A copy of the Of Mice and Men Play (the book can also work)

  • Props (optional)

  • Backdrop (optional)

You can do this activity by yourself, or you can enlist some friends to help.

This is a great exercise that will bring Of Mice and Men to life. Instead of reading out of a book, you will have to think more deeply about the characters, their backgrounds, and their mannerisms in order to portray them while acting. The exercise can also serve as a great opportunity to do some studying about the time period of the story.

You can either read the play or book out loud, changing your mannerisms to match whatever character you are portraying, or you can chose to perform some soliloquies from the text or play. 

If you are doing it with friends, the same principals apply; just make sure that everyone understands what part to read or play ahead of time.


 

Diorama

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Hands On (and visual, when doing Variation of the Exercise)
Materials:

  • Shoe Box/Shadow Box

  • Materials to create scenery and characters


If you are a hands on learner, a diorama is a great way to go. You can choose a particular scene from the text and recreate it in the form of a diorama. This will force you to visualize the text in a more realistic way, which will help you to remember key scenes of the story more easily. 

Variation of the Exercise: 
As a variation of this exercise, you can also create a timeline of the story by creating multiple dioramas that capture the key parts of the story. You can then line up the dioramas and have a visual timeline of the story.


 

Compare and Contrast: Movie vs. Book

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual, Auditory
Materials:

  • A copy of Of Mice and Men

  • The movie (either the 1939 or 1992 version)

Movie vs. Book: After reading Of Mice and Men, watch one (or both) of the two films that are based on the book. What are the similarities and the differences? Does the film stay true to the book, or does the film take liberties with the story and its characters? Which do you like better, and why?

Movie vs. Movie: After watching both movies based on Of Mice and Men, compare and contrast them. Which movie is closer to the book? Which film takes the most liberties when changing the plot or characters found in Of Mice and Men? Do you think that the accuracy or inaccuracy of each film has anything to do with the time period in which it was filmed? Which version was your favorite, and why?


 

Charades

Difficulty Level: Easy
Time: Minimal
Learning Type: Visual
Materials: Props are optional, but not necessary.

This exercise should be done in a group.

Because Of Mice and Men has some characters with very distinct personalities, a game of charades will really help students identify and remember some of the characters.

The game is played like normal charades, except the participants must pull people or animals from Of Mice of Men. For example: the person creating the charade can pretend to be stooped to be Crooks, or pretend to be putting on or taking off a glove to be Curley. 

The game is played best in teams, with whichever team calling out the right answer getting a point.


 

Cultural Pictionary/Charades

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual, Auditory, Hands On (when doing the Pictionary version of the exercise).
Materials:

  • Paper/Whiteboard and pencils/markers (if doing the Pictionary version of this exercise).

  • A computer/Encyclopedia to research cultural references.

In a group of people, decide on a game: Pictionary or Charades. If your group decides to play Pictionary, have paper or a Whiteboard handy so that the cultural references can be drawn out for players to guess.

Charades: Have your group split into two teams and have members of each team take turns acting out/mimicking cultural references from Of Mice and Men. The individual acting out the charade can give no verbal hints or cues about the charade they are acting out. Teams can set a time-limit to guess the charade, or teams can keep guessing until the charade being acted out is guessed correctly.

The first team to guess what charade is being acted out gets a point. The team that has the most points at the end of the game wins. 

Pictionary: Have your group split into two teams and have members of each team take turns drawing out cultural references from Of Mice and Men. The individual drawing out the cultural reference can give no verbal hints or cues about the reference they're drawing out. The first team to guess what reference is being drawn gets a point. The team that has the most points at the end of the game wins.