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New York in Literature

By , October 4, 2010 10:05 am


New York in Literature

In order to prepare for our trip to New York read one of the following novels.

In class we  are going to  discuss text extracts and background information about this fascinating city.

Glitz and Glamor in New York: Breakfast At Tiffany’s Bright Lights, Big City
  American Psycho The Great Gatsby
The Other Side: New York seen through the eyes of outsiders, minorities and children or teenagers.  
  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close         NEW The Catcher In The Rye
Outsiders and Minorities The Coldest Winter Ever Grand Central Winter
Black Experience
  Invisible Man  Go Tell It On The Mountain
Hispanic Experience Bodega Dreams  
Chinatown  (Non-fiction)  
Jewish Immigrants The Chosen Call It Sleep





Great Literature for Advanced Learners

By , July 7, 2010 8:08 am

The following novels have worked well in my classes. They have been grouped according to topics or themes that I have taught in my courses, but can of course be used in other combinations.

Modern Classics

An ideal projects for learners who want to try real adult literature in a strongly guided project.

Big Names In Literature

My favorite contemporary writers. Well-loved by students of years 7-8

Painters And Their Models

Beautiful novels around the theme of arts. What roles does art play in different characters’ lives?

New York in Literature

We read these to prepare for our class-trip to the USA.

Our Trip to Scotland

Our Trip to Kansas City

Modern Drama Project

Scandals in Literature

Literature for an elective course. Free Speech or Safe Reading?

The Other Side Of The Story

Literature for an elective course on women’s literature

America The Melting Pot?

Multi-ethnic and multi-cultural views of the US

Existence Is Absurd

Literature for an elective course

Popular books for intermediate readers

By , June 30, 2010 7:57 pm

The following examples of young adult literature can be read from year 4 or 5 on, depending on the reading skills of the students. All the books deal with topics that are interesting and relevant for teenage learners. Don’t forget that the students are always given a choice — I haven’t found the perfect class-reader yet that would appeal to boys and girls, to read-a-holics and non-readers and to lovers of fantasy or love-stories alike.

I have taught some of these books in themed projects, such as “Teens in Trouble”, “Nazi Germany/ The Second World War”, “Cultural Values: Intercultural Awareness”, “Civil Rights”, …

In other reading projects I have offered a variety of books that appeal to the different tastes and needs in a class.

New project:  New-04

The Refugee Experience

This project has been created in order to help intermediate learners understand refugees and their experiences and needs a bit better. The project consists of five steps: 1. bookchoosing, 2. reading the books at home, 3. online research tasks about the recent refugee crisis (to be done while the learners are reading the books). 4. post-reading tasks and  5. group presentations.

Click on the following picture to get to the teaching materials for all these steps.



Intercultural Awareness: Preparing for a class-trip

The project booklet: print with booklet setting to produce A5 booklets.

Hot new books


John Green      
Wintergirls Number the Stars    




Great Books for a Civil Rights Project


Monster Durango Street Spite Fences
Roll of Thunder Harriet Tubman The Secret Life of Bees

Noughts and Crosses

The absolutely true diary




Cultural Values: Intercultural Awareness

Several projects dealing with cultural awareness.

Crossing Borders

( A joint project of year 3 GIBS and the Socio-cultural competence class at KF-Uni Graz)

A quick tour of the project (a short powerpoint presentation)

Project Materials for the girls (Pölzleitner)

Project Materials for boys (Pölzleitner)

Discussion cards for this project


Project Materials: Pölzleitner (year 5, 2009)

Modern English Teacher: Paper about this project

Description of the project: Jennifer Schumm (year 5, 2009)


The Absolutely True Diary… Two Moons Goy Crazy
Ask Me No Questions La Linea  The War Between the Classes
If You Come Softly Ten Things I Hate .. Children of the River



Teens In Trouble

For this project I present 5 or 6  of the following books. Then the students work in their reading groups with one of the general project packages that you can find on the intro page on “Young Adult Literature Projects”. All these books are real page-turners. Some of the declared “non-readers” in my classes have told me that they actually hadn’t known books could be so good. 😎


Boot Camp

Asphalt Tribe

also called

Can’t Get There From Here

Gangsta Rap
Grass Give A Boy A Gun If I Grow Up
Monster Holes Jumped In

Introducing Monster




Addiction — Eating Disorders – Psychological Troubles

Cut Speak Go Ask Alice



The Curious Incident of

the Boy in the Nighttime

Freak the Mighty

The Man WhoLoved Clowns

Colin Fischer Bluefish Wonder


The project handout for the students

Have a look at some of the best group presentations here:

Mo and Benni  
Caro, Pauli, Laura and Rosa  
 Sophie, Lena, Isi  


Nazi Germany in the Second World War

The Wave The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas  

Presentation Materials

Ausländer The Last Train from Kummersdorf



The Book Thief
The Diary of Anne Frank Maus  Number the Stars
The Last Black Cat  The Boy at the Top of the Mountain  






Storm Runners


Utopia — Dystopia (Trilogies and Quartets)

Hunger Games

Catching Fire











Box Set







The Giver

Gathering Blue

The Messenger

The Giver (Set)



War Experiences




Teaching Materials   Teaching Materials  



The Alchemyst


Teaching Materials


 The Magician

The Sorceress


 His Dark Materials



More great books…









Girls love these for private reading

 Nicolas Sparks



The Notebook

 Dear John

 A Walk to Remember

 Lucky One

 A Bend in the Road

 At First Sight

 Three Weeks WithMy Brother

 The Guardian

 The Choice



Excellent but really fat books for read-a-holics



New Moon


Breaking Dawn

Harry Potter 1

 Harry Potter 2

 Harry Potter 3

 Harry Potter 4

 Harry Potter 5

 Harry Potter 6





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Intermediate Learners

By , March 7, 2010 7:18 pm

  Lower Intermediate to Intermediate Learners

CEFR: A2 to B1

 Magazine Writing

A group project that teaches and practices article writing. This project can be used at any level from A2 upwards. Students write about any topics of their own choice. Peer feedback contributes to good quality and interesting topics.

Wait for the prezi to load, then click on the arrows in the bottom right corner to view this PREZI in full screen mode.


How does the project work?

Worksheets for the learners:

Find more recent examples of magazines here.



Books and booklets are a wonderful format for lots of topics and projects. The idea is based on the “Didaktik des weißen Blattes”. Instead of worksheets the students are given empty booklets that they have to fill at their own discretion.  The learners decide themselves what information to include and how to present it  in these booklets. These projects are ideal to practice a variety of text-types. Depending on the situation teachers might give no instructions or tips at all or might give some guidelines concerning content and format(s). The Middle Ages and Tall Tales booklets show a mix of autonomous work and teacher assignments. What all these projects have in common is the learners’ pride and feeling of accomplishment when they hand in their finished masterpieces.


Tip: The feeling of accomplishment and pride that learners experience when handing in their finished masterpieces  release a powerful mix of chemicals in the learners’ brains. They are flooded with dopamine and other neurotransmitters that act like addictive drugs saying:  “Wow! That feels good, gimme more of this. I’ll do it again.”  .



Stories and Storybooks

Writing creative stories can be real fun, especially if the stories will actually be read and appreciated by others. The following activities and projects have worked well with my students.




Oliver Twist Diaries: After working on the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the lower classes in Britain, we watched the movie “Oliver Twist” in class. The learners were given old-looking diaries (i.e. empty booklets consisting of 3 sheets of white paper and one cover-sheet that had been stained with  black tea and/or coffee before).

At interesting and moving moments we stopped the film and the learners were asked to write Oliver’s diary after this specific experience. The learners had between 5 and 10 minutes to write about a specific day or experience while it was still fresh on their minds and the new vocabulary from the movie was still ringing in their ears.  Some learners used the Oliver Twist diaries in class and wrote the diary entries directly into these booklets. Others used their own sheets and then revised and typed their texts at home.

Have a look at the instructions for the students and the finished Oliver Twist diaries.


Wait for the prezi to load, then click on the arrows in the bottom right corner to switch to full-screen mode.



Writing Travel Brochures

A group project: Writing perfect travel brochures to fun destinations.




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