Get Them Out of Their Seats
Creative chaos. These activities get students out of their seats and engaged in discussion, adaptations of the text, and exploring the world around themselves. Teachers can stick with low tech activities or encourage students to engage in high tech creations.
A four-corners debate requires students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room (signs will be posted) or by responding to four choices to one question. This activity gets everyone involved and requires full participation by taking a position.
In this activity, students create radio play adaptations of scenes from Of Mice and Men. This activity can be done simply as live, unseen performances (behind a room divider or curtain). Or, for teachers with access to some basic recording equipment, the radio plays can be recorded, edited, and turned into a podcast.
This activity works well for many books, but it especially lends itself to Of Mice and Men because there are so many "alleged" crimes committed during the course of the novel. The classroom will be converted into a courtroom (as elaborate or simple as time permits). Students will begin to understand the legal system and its implications.
Of Mice and Men has a natural dramatic structure and is perfect for an adaptation to the stage (after all, Steinbeck himself wrote a successful version for the stage). In this activity, students will choose scenes from the novel to adapt into a short, dramatic reproduction.
Besides students' usual grammar exercises in English class, they can learn literature-based ways to enhance their grammar capabilities. One of the best ways to complement grammar study in the classroom is to correct the errant grammar of characters in novels. Obviously, Of Mice and Men reflected the language and vernacular of mostly under-educated migrant/ranch workers in the 1930s; as a result, the novel is rich in non-standard language. Finding examples to "correct" will be plentiful. Includes an optional "grammar walk" where students seek out and correct grammatical errors outside of the classroom.