10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

5:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Dave Burgess has a whole section in his book Teach Like a Pirate that talks about setting the stage for a unit.  With my theater experience, that idea made so much sense to me.  If I can get students excited about reading Frankenstein, hopefully, they will avoid a Frankenstein summary and read the whole text.  With that in mind as a goal, here are some ideas for the first two days of your Frankenstein lesson plans. 

 I have received complimentary products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for this post. This post contains affiliate links, and I receive a commission at no cost to you should you choose to purchase.

I like to start the unit out with a big party day of food and fun.  It gets my students excited for learning, which makes the rest of the unit go so much smoother.  Now you can say it is a waste of time, but I have found that I actually spend less time trying to convince the students to read when we start off with a BANG.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

Do not underestimate the power of Oriental Trading Company's Halloween store for teaching Frankenstein regardless of the time of year.


1. Get a fun handout tray

At the start of class, my students just pick up handouts for their notebooks off the front table.  During our Frankenstein unit, I use this adorable tray.  In addition to being adorable and fitting with our theme, it also allows a place for me to leave the extra copies during the unit.  The students appreciate being able to grab what they need easily.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

When we are done with the unit, I can fold him back up flat to be stored for next year.  I am thinking about laminating him for next year.

2. Have students draw their own monsters

My high school students do NOT think of themselves as artists, but thanks to Art for Kids Hub they quickly change their tune.  I knew when I saw this image on Art for Kids Hub Instagram feed that I had to try it.  It was such an easy project and made for a great display in my classroom.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

My students were so impressed with their own work, and the display got repeated compliments from visitors to my classroom.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

These cute Frankenstein's monsters were worth the time.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate 10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

3. Decorate Your Door

I have yet to replicate this fabulous door from Target Teachers, but I know it will be a fun project.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

4. Get a monster head for your desk

I firmly believe that every teacher needs a head on his or her desk.  I used to have a great Mark Twain one until some kids dropped it, but I have replaced it with this ceramic Frankenstein's monster head.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

I have thought about painting it, but I know I couldn't even do it justice.

5. Decorate Your Own Drink or Snack Cups

We like to start our kick-off class with snacks and drink, but first I have the students use pipe cleaners and googly eyes to turn their plain green cups into Frankenstein's monster.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate


10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

Even big kids like to drink from fun cups.  Who would have guessed?


6. Take Pre-Reading Book Photos

This haunted house backdrop was the buzz of all my classes when I put it up.  EVERY student wanted to know what it was for.  I was thrilled to see my ninth graders wanting to know how they can get in on this fun- "Join me senior year," I said.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

As the students checked out their copies of Frankenstein they took photos or selfies with their book in front of this backdrop.  It was so much fun, and many of them shared them on social media afterward.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

7. Do a Craftivity 

Once again, do not underestimate the power of a craft with high school students.  They do not often get to do them, so they REALLY REALLY appreciate being able to cut and glue.  These monsters made great decorations for the classroom as well.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

I got these two kits from Oriental Trading Company, but you can easily have students make their own with craft paper.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate


10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate


8. Grab Some Reward Stickers

Another funny thing about high school students is they will work for stickers.  Grab some stickers and use them on assignments that you are checking for completeness.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

9. Have a treat

Food is another fantastic motivator for teenagers.  We usually make a green monster snack when we start reading Frankenstein.  This year I made dipped marshmallows for them.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

I decided to not make these in class because of the mess factor.  I did them at home the weekend before we threw our kick-off party.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate 10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

I bought the large square marshmallows, but you can use regular ones.  I used bamboo skewers as the handle.

After melting white chocolate in a double boiler on the stove, I dipped each marshmallow.

Immediately after dipping, I put the top in chocolate sprinkles and shook green sugar on the to the rest of the marshmallow.

When the dried, I used icing to give them faces.


10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

I didn't individually wrap them, but you could do that for the students to take home if you want to avoid sugaring them up in class.

9. Get a Victor and an Igor (even though there is no Igor in the book)

I also had these two guys in my classroom too.  The Victor Stand-Up was frequently being moved from area to area by the students; they all wanted to claim him.  Igor hung on the wall behind my desk- the side kick to the mad scientist (me).

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate 10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

I really think if I could turn my classroom in a spook house when teaching Frankenstein, I would.

10. Make It Your Own

Find something else to make your Frankenstein Kick-Off Party your own.  Social media is full of ideas that can be used to create excitement.

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate 10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate


10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate 10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

10 Daring Ways To Teach Frankenstein Like a Pirate

What great ideas to you have in your Frankenstein lesson plans?


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