15-30 contact hours
English Language Arts
It is no secret that teaching literary canons in an ever-changing and technologically advanced world is challenging. Competing with roller coaster designs in a physics class or robotics in an engineering course across the hall makes the pages of a dense novel seem unmanageable for students. However, Project Based Learning offers a viable solution for literature teachers, by allowing them to teach a novel in the context of an authentic project.
Cyrano’s Funk focuses on the story of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Although it is over 100 years old, students in this project will feel like the characters and themes from this classic piece of literature are playing out on their Facebook page today. Students become engaged and motivated by making personal connections to the play by developing a forum through social media to share and exchange their knowledge and ideas.
During the project students complete assignments which parallel character traits and literary themes in the play to their favorite music. They share these connections through social media by designing a Facebook page for one of the characters in the play and assembling a soundtrack for the play consisting of these “paralleled” songs. The project culminates when student teams create either a live performance, video, or written product that is shared with an audience at a “red carpet” event.
What Inspired the Project?
Cyrano’s Funk was inspired by my passion for literature and sincere desire to engage my students. I love this story and wanted to change my kids’ perceptions about classic literature. I figured if I could find a way to make them see that the emotions of these characters were similar to their own as teenagers, and then find a medium in which they could make these connections, I could hook them! I have been teaching for nine years and this is the only lesson that I repeat every year (with a twist of course) because my kids come back years later and remind me how much they loved Cyrano, as if he was a friend. Giving him a little “funk” seemed like a natural connection to their interests and also provided a window for me to see into their world.
Student Work Samples
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