Today, my students went to hell. Literarily speaking, of course!
I wish I could say that this was my idea, but I just took the concept and ran with it.
This lesson is to help us review for the AP Literature exam, but could be adapted for other purposes. All my students knew was that the calendar said "AP Hell" for today's lesson, and for some odd reason, they feared the worst. :)
I decorated our door for the right inspiration.
Yeah, I need to work on those flames! They look too much like hand- cut-out turkeys! Then, of course, the right ambiance with both a fog machine (complete with red light) and sounds of hell coming from the tv.
Pro-tip - put the video into a Google Slides presentation set to run automatically when that slide is put up. That way you don't have the ads interfering with your video.
The funny this is every student who was not in my class were ohhing and ahhing over the fog coming out of the room. My students, expecting the worst, sighed and walked in waiting for some insane AP multiple choice practice!
Then I gave them this handout that has all the levels of Dante's Inferno on it. I told them to write down all the characters they could remember from what we read in class - no matter how minor the character may seem.
After giving them some time, the fun began. First I started by telling them the story of Dante being trapped in the Woods of Error and the three beasts and Beatrice and Virgil and all that good stuff! Then I told them about the Vestibule with it's awful punishment. That's where they jumped in. I had all the levels written on the board and I wrote up on the board characters that thought would be there (Banquo was a unanimous first choice). Then we continued into hell proper, level by level. Each time I told them the punishment and they suggested characters that belonged there. Every once and a while, we had debates on if a character should be included in hell (we decided that the old blind man in Frankenstein and Myrtle's dog from The Great Gatsby belonged in heaven) or if they should be moved to a different level as we descended. They became determined to have at least one character in every level.
For the finale, we decided to put the three worst sinners in Satan's mouth, like in The Inferno. They chose Macbeth, Victor Frankenstein, and the author of "The Lady or the Tiger". They were so mad when they read that story!
It's a great idea and worked wonderfully as a review of all the characters since they had to explain why Ozymandias belonged level 8 or why Emily (from "The Rose for Emily") belonged in level 9 and so forth. I wish I could properly credit the person who had the idea to begin with, but here it is if you can find use for it!
By the way, that white board is the one I added on the cheap in my room at the beginning of the year. It still works great!