English novel activities


All of the activities below help to develop the 6 key skills for Junior Cycle. 

  1. Working with others

  2. Communicating

  3. Managing information and thinking

  4. Staying well

  5.  Managing myself

  6. Being creative 

 Novel activities


1.Family tree

2. Venn diagram- How is everyone connected in the story. 

3. Map- of all the places mentioned.

4. Write an acrostic poem based on each characters name. 

5. A storyboard of the novel. 

6. Use speech bubbles to imagine a conversation between 2 characters. 

7. Change the ending of the story.

8. Diary entries

9. Interview a character

10. Write 10 questions you would like to ask the author after reading the entire novel.

Technology: 11.¬†Use the ‚ÄúIn A World ‚Ķ. Drama‚ÄĚ app to create a movie promo for a film based on the book.

Technology: 12. Create a Voki  and get the character to speak their thoughts at a certain point in the novel.

13. Draw the illustration for the front cover of the novel or else the billboard for the film version. 

Technology: 13. Tweet from one of the character’s perspectives.¬†

Technology: 14. Set up a Fakebook account for one of the character’s.¬†

15. Get a character to write a letter to a character from another novel that you have read.

16.¬†Write a ‚ÄúWhat If ‚Ķ.‚ÄĚ poem about an event that took place in the novel.

17.¬†Write ‚Äú3 Truths and a Lie‚ÄĚ about a character in the¬†novel and see if other pupils can guess which one was¬†the lie.

18. Use the SMS Generator to create a text message conversation between two characters in the novel.


19. Draw an illustration of a description of the setting that is in the novel.


20. Design a news paper article about an incident in the novel. 


21.Use Wordle to summarise each chapter. 


22. Group work – Draw each character in the novel and write words around each character to describe their characteristics.


23.¬†Create a radio ad for your book. Write out the script and tape record it as it would be presented. Don’t forget background music!


24. Create a wanted poster for a character in your novel.

25. I got first years to write a Private Peaceful 2 and then we acted out the best one in class. Therefore we did creative writing and drama from one task!
26. Write a formal letter to the author of your novel and explain how you feel about the book.
27. Create a newspaper for your book. Summarize the plot in one article, cover the weather in another, do a feature story on one of the more interesting characters in another. Include an editorial and a collection of ads that would be pertinent to the story. 
28. Pretend that you are going to join the characters in the story. What things will you need to pack? Think carefully, for you will be there for a week, and there is no going back home to get something!
29. Choose a job for one of the characters in the book and write letter of application.
30. ¬†Write about one of the character’s life twenty years from now.
31. Write a Tinder advert for one of the characters.
32. Add another character to the book. Why would she/he be put there? What part would she/he serve?

Girl with a Pearl Earring resources  

I am currently reading Girl with a Pearl Earring with my Transition Year students. It are halfway through it at the moment. I have included some resources I have made. I will update this blog post in a few weeks with some more resources ūüôā

We are also preparing for our TY spelling bee challenge next week.

As the students have not looked at the novel since before Easter, I will review what they have done in the novel so far by asking students to pick a scrambled piece of paper out of a bowl. Each scrambled piece of paper will feature a name/word that is related to the novel. The words will be Griet, Painter, Catholic, Frans, Blind, Sixteen years old, Seventeen years old, Catharina, Agnes, Tile painter, Papists’ corner, Griet’s chores as a maid, Tanneke, Cornelia, Papist’s corner, Griet’s chores, 1665, Van Ruijven, Sunday, Griet’s bed, Maria Thins, Maid.

I will walk around the classroom and I will ask each student to pick out a word from the bowl. When every student has a word, I will go around in sequence and ask each pupil to call out their word and to discuss their word in relation to the novel. I will ask the students to help each other.


 Click on these tabs below to download my worksheets.

Girl with a Pearl Earring-Letter from Johannes to Griet

Girl with a Pearl Earring- Gossip about Griet workshop

Girl with a Pearl Earring. Debate feel sorry-do not feel sorry for Griet.

 Group work- Coloured paper- Draw Griet with the cloth on her head. Discussion- How has she changed physically and metaphorically.

Group work: Coloured paper: Draw what you think the finished painting would look like.

Group work:  Rewrite the climax of the novel.

Class discussion- Why did Griet not beg Johannes not to ruin her?


Essential ICT resources for teachers


Using Wordle, you can generate word clouds that show prominent words in any body of text. It is really simple to use.It is free too! Just enter any text that you have gathered from a website, textbook or from your students work. It basically summarises what the text is about! Wordle also allows you to change the appearance of your word cloud by the font, shape, colour and organisation.

This is a great video clip which conveys an introduction to Wordle. 


Wordle can be used as an introduction to a topic or to as a final conclusion of a topic. You can use Wordle in ANY subject!

For example for Poetry in English you can give the students a Wordle and ask them to guess what the poem is about from looking at the words on the Wordle.

Wordle can also be used as a homework task the students must put each word into a sentence.

This video clip portrays different ways to use Wordle in the classroom. 


Armoured Penguin

I love this website. It is free to use. It allows you to make your own crosswords, word searches, word scrambles, secret codes and word matches. It allows you to print your tasks straight from the website and also you can save your puzzles for future use. Armoured Penguin has a list of puzzles made by other users that you can use yourself. It is very fast and easy to use.


I never used TES while I was on teaching practice as I always made my own resources. However, now that I am working and doing a Masters I have started to use resources from TES to save time. TES is a fanastic website which allows you to share your resources with other teachers and you can use resources made by others. This website basically has resources on nearly EVERYTHING! You can use the resources straight off the bait or you can edit them yourself to suit your needs.


Sparknotes is the Holy Grail for teachers especially English teachers! Sparknotes contains a library of novels. Many which you may be using in your classroom.

For each novel  Sparknotes offers a:


Plot Overview

Character List

Analysis of Major Characters

Themes, Motifs and Symbols

A summary and analysis of each chapter

Important quotations explained

Key Facts

Study Questions and Essay Topics


It is a great resource that is free! It also contains video clips!

What would the world do without Google? What would English teachers do without Sparknotes?


You can join this website for free. Studyclix has over 5000 discussion boards which teachers can learn a lot from. You can view exam papers and marking schemes. Or you can download free Junior and Senior Cycle notes/video clips to help to deepen the students understanding of a topic. You can view the 2016 timetable for the Junior and Leaving Cert.

Class tools

This is a great resource which lets you develop fun resources for use in the classroom. You can create your games, activities, quizzes and diagrams! It is a free and you do not have to sign up to use this website. The game generator lets you design an interactive quiz. You can create a Fake Facebook page (Fakebook) for a fictional or historical character. I always use the countdown timer when I am doing group work in a class to motivate the students and to keep them aware of the time restraints. The random name picker or fruit machine is great for  when you need to pick a student or a group for a task or even when you are asking lower and higher order questions.



Quizlet is an American online learning tool created by Andrew Sutherland. You can either use the free version or a paid version. I use the free version and I think it is great!  You can sign up using your Facebook page, Google or your email. I signed up using my email and it took 1 minute! So fast and efficient! The homepage illustrates a world map and portrays a live map ofwhat each person is studying on Quizlet at any given time. The website allows you to make flashcards, tests and study games on any topic! You can organise all of your class groups. You can browse or you can create your own! Quizlet has unlimited classes! There are also discussion boards where you can get an answer to a question right away. And your students can record their own voices to remember what they are learning.



Studystack is a bit like Quizlet.  Like Quizlet you can create Free flashcards for studying.  You can create your own or use sets shared by other students and teachers. It is really easy to use and it is free to sign up! Like Quizlet, you can sign up using your Facebook page or your email.

Here is a video clip which shows you how to use Studystack.

Open Educational Resources



So what are open education  resources? 






‘Open education is changing lives’.

   ‘Equal access to knowledge means equal opportunities in life’.



Famous global examples of OER


Using OER (Open Educational Resources) in the classroom:

¬ěOpen educational resources (OER) are growing in breadth and quality, as is the use of these materials in classrooms, networks, and school communities.

¬ě¬ěThe use and adoption of OER materials is increasingly a matter of policy in schools, especially in the many disciplines in which high quality educational content is more abundant than ever.

A big mistake about OER.

¬ěOften mistaken to simply mean ‚Äúfree of charge‚ÄĚ .

¬ěAdvocates of OER have worked towards a common vision that defines it more broadly ‚ÄĒ not just free in economic terms, but also in terms of ownership and usage rights.


The goal of OER is:

¬ěThe goal is that OER materials are:

¬ě 1. Freely copiable

¬ě2. Freely remixable

¬ě3. Culturally sensitive – ¬ěFree of barriers to access, sharing, and educational use.

open goal


In 2013

¬ěIn 2013, the EU identified the development of OER as:

¬ěOne of three actions of the ‚ÄúOpening Up Education‚ÄĚ.

¬ěIt was an initiative proposed to bring the digital revolution to schools and universities.

¬ěAs part of this initiative, a web portal called ‚ÄúOpen Education Europa‚ÄĚ was launched.


The focus now today is:

¬ěThe focus is increasingly moving to the process of learning than on the body of information conveyed.

What is the appeal?

¬ěPart of the appeal of OER is that they are a response to:

¬ě1. The rising costs of traditionally published resources.

¬ě2. The related lack of educational resources in some regions.

Benefits of OER

¬ěA major consideration of OER initiatives lies in resolving intellectual property issues to ensure that the resources:

¬ěShared for free

¬ěAdaptable for anyone

¬ěFor any purpose.


How is OER verified?

¬ěThere are three ways in which OER quality is commonly verified:

¬ě1. The users and/or community.

¬ě2. By a peer review process.

¬ě3. By adherence to an established quality assurance criterion.



What is available to aid teachers?

¬ěTo aid teachers with integrating OER into their classroom practices, the ‚ÄúOER Commons‚ÄĚ is an online hub for:

¬ě1. Content curation

¬ě2. Training that was developed by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.

¬ěThe ‚ÄúOER Commons‚ÄĚ provides teacher education on the use and creation of learning materials with:

¬ě1. Open Author, a three-step online publisher that licences and shares the content with the ‚ÄúOER Commons‚ÄĚ community.

¬ě2. In addition to offering face-to-face training

¬ě3. Sessions with the ‚ÄúTeachers as Makers Academy‚ÄĚ.

¬ěThe project also provides a year-long mentorship programme and webinar trainings as part of the ‚ÄúOER Fellowship Programme.‚ÄĚ


An example: Klascement in Germany

¬ěStarted in 1998 as a resource website for primary and secondary teachers in Belgium to share teacher generated content.

¬ěAs of 2014, it is part of the Ministry of Education. The site now includes OER suitable forcrossborder usage and examples of best practices.

To evaluate OER

¬ěOER Commons is a model for teacher education that transcends national boundaries and provides a variety of training options to teachers everywhere.

It is an amazing educational resource that all teachers should utilise!