Are you teaching Jane Eyre as part of a British literature unit with your high school students? Want some lesson plans for Jane Eyre that are easy, engaging, and low-to-no prep?
If so, read on. Today we’re going to showcase a range of teaching activities and resources for Jane Eyre. First, we’ll look at pre-reading activities for Jane Eyre, and then we’ll move on to while-reading and after-reading activities for teaching Jane Eyre.
Finally, we’ll list a few whole unit bundles because we know how little time you actually have, but that you still want to do the best for your class by organizing thoughtful, engaging lessons.
Pre-reading lesson plans: Jane Eyre
Before you get started teaching Jane Eyre, you probably want your students to be familiar with the historical context of the novel, the characters, the settings, and possibly the themes. Check out the activities below if that’s the case.
1. Introductory PowerPoint
If you want to take your students “on a virtual field trip”, you might like this introductory PowerPoint by The Green Light. The PowerPoint includes personal photos that the teacher-author took on a trip to England, including the Bronte parsonage.
The PowerPoint also includes photos from the Portrait Gallery in London, as well as a Bronte exhibit at the Morgan Library in New York City.
Topics that the PowerPoint covers include the conventions of Gothic literature and Bildungsroman stories. Similarly, the 18th-century Romanticism movement is explained, as is the position of women and governesses in the Victorian Era in England.
Other topics include
- Cowan Bridge School (the inspiration for the Lowood Institution in Jane Eyre)
- Haworth in the Bronte era
- an explanation of the Bronte name and the Bronte sisters’ use of pseudonyms
- Bronte’s appearance
- publication information about Jane Eyre
- mental health and disease in the novel
- breaking the Fourth Wall
- and Byronic heroes
2. Agree or disagree activity
If your students love to talk or struggle to sit still, this agree or disagree activity by The Lit Guy is another great pre-reading activity for Jane Eyre.
In the activity, students choose the agree or disagree side on various issues and themes raised in the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Once they’ve chosen a side, students need to be able to defend their position on the issue.
The download includes tips on how to use the activity in your classroom.
3. Introduction PowerPoint
Another introductory PowerPoint option is this one by English Classroom Solutions. The presentation covers
- Charlotte Bronte’s life
- Jane Eyre‘s publication
- women’s role in the 19th century
- Gothic influences on the novel
4. Activity mini-bundle
If you are wanting students to explore themes in Jane Eyre before reading, you might like this activity mini-bundle by English Bulldog. The first activity in the bundle, the pre-reading carousel, facilitates discussion of important themes in the novel by asking students to walk around looking at posters with statements related to the novel.
Students are asked to write a statement of agreement or disagreement at the bottom of the poster. Then students are assigned (or choose) a poster to focus on and explain the trend in thinking on the poster.
The other two activities aren’t pre-reading activities but are also great to have on hand. In the themes activity, students analyze important quotes from the novel to decide on a theme that connects them all. Students then create a poster and put the most important quote on it, and analyze the author’s use of language.
The final activity in the bundle is a fishbowl debate. This is another structured discussion format where students need to defend an assigned (or chosen) position on a topic from the novel. You can also get students to write an argumentative essay afterward.
All of the activities in the mini-bundle include teacher lesson plans for Jane Eyre, common core objectives, preparation steps, a classroom agenda, and assessment strategies.
The PowerPoints that are included also have student-friendly objectives, student directions, and activity time limits.
5. Crossword and vocabulary quiz
Another fun pre-reading lesson plan for Jane Eyre is this crossword and vocabulary quiz by TechCheck Lessons.
This 25-question crossword puzzle and vocabulary quiz will introduce students to new terms they will discover in Jane Eyre.
The vocabulary quiz could also be used for review or graded as an assessment. The file is editable, so you can edit it to suit your classes. An answer key is supplied.
The crossword puzzle can be used as a pre-reading activity, as homework, as an extra credit task, or as a study guide for the vocabulary quiz. You could even leave it for a substitute teacher. An answer key is provided.
While-reading lesson plans: Jane Eyre
Ok, your students are ready to read, but you want lesson plans for Jane Eyre that will keep them reading, comprehending, and engaging in the novel.
Below we have graphic organizers, an activity on Bildungsroman in the novel, task cards, bellringers, writing prompts, close reading activities, characterization mini-flipbooks, and more.
1. Comprehension and analysis bundle
If you want to check that your students are understanding the novel, and engaging in analysis, this bundle of common core-aligned organizers by LitCharts might be what you need.
Included in the bundle are
- character analysis organizers
- symbol analysis organizers
- theme analysis organizers
- close-reading organizers
- quote analysis organizers
- a quotes quiz, with an editable blank version provided
- themes visualization poster and project
- teacher review guide for Jane Eyre
2. Teacher guide
If you are wanting a teaching guide for Jane Eyre, you might want this one by The Resource Tree. The guide includes study guide questions for each chapter and student handouts on literary devices used in the novel.
There are also other activities and graphic organizers to help students understand and analyze the novel. Essay writing prompts and extension activities are also included.
3. Jane’s Bildungsroman journey PowerPoint
If you want your students to engage with the Bildungsroman genre in Jane Eyre, you might want this PowerPoint by TandLGuru.
The lesson plan for Jane Eyre will help your students understand the protagonist’s journey and character development throughout the novel. Students will plot Jane’s development against the different stages of protagonists in Bildungsroman novels.
In the activity, students will
- define ‘Bildungsroman’ and identify the key stages of the genre
- read extracts from the text and answer comprehension questions about Jane’s journey
- plot Jane’s development against the Bildungsroman stages
- consider Bronte’s message in presenting her ideas through Jane’s Bildungsroman journey
- use knowledge of protagonist development and structure to create their own Bildungsroman storyboard templates
- peer assess each other’s learning
In the download, you get a PowerPoint, a student worksheet about Jane’s character development, a close-reading extract from chapter one, a storyboard template, and a lesson plan.
Both PDF and Word Doc versions are included so you have the option of protecting formatting (PDF) or editing to better suit your classes (Word Doc).
4. Task cards and bellringers
If you are looking for adaptable teaching resources for Jane Eyre, you might like this set of task cards and bellringers by The Green Light.
With 160 cards, all thirty-eight chapters have four unique, open-ended, discussion-prompting questions that are designed to promote student critical thinking and analysis.
The cards are adaptable to your lesson plan for Jane Eyre because they can be used in a variety of ways, such as
- reading quizzes
- group work questions
- discussion questions for a Socratic seminar
- review activities
- exit tickets
- or as part of a review game
5. Writing prompts
If your students need practice writing, you might like this set of writing prompts by Paka Mdogo’s English Store.
The resource has a set of short writing tasks and formal essay questions in the style of the AP and IB examinations.
Some tasks focus students on significant aspects of each chapter in the novel. These prompts build into a fuller understanding of what Bronte is trying to achieve, how she approaches it, and how successful she has been.
Alternatively, the writing prompts can be used as class discussion ideas.
The essay questions are great to prepare students for exams. The prompts can also be used for distance learning through TPT’s Digital Activities extension or Google Classroom.
6. Close reading passages
If your students need practice doing close reading and analysis, you might want this set of close reading passages by The Digital English Teacher.
The activity has eight passages that students must read closely and respond to in the provided space on a Google Slides presentation.
In doing so, students must
- explain the passage in the context of the novel
- consider the implications of the passage in the real world
- and respond personally to the passage.
There is also a blank slide that can be duplicated if you want to add other passages for your students.
You can download this product straight into your Google Drive, so it’s great for distance learning.
7. Characterization mini-flipbook
If you want to focus on characterization while teaching Jane Eyre, you might like this mini-flipbook by Danielle Knight.
Easy to assemble with the provided instructions, you can also differentiate for students by modifying with guided practice, shortening the task, or using read aloud, pair work, and mini-lessons.
Included in the download are the mini flipbook cover and pages and characterization handouts for student notebooks.
8. Match.com profile
If you are looking for a fun activity to do while teaching Jane Eyre in high school classes, you might like this activity by Breeane and Ben Sette and Hellman.
In the activity, before reading the Thornfield section of the novel, students must analyze Jane Eyre’s character by creating a Match.com dating profile for her.
Working in groups, students must analyze Jane’s character and anticipate the characteristics she would want and need in a partner.
After meeting Rochester and learning about him, students then reflect on whether he is a good match for Jane.
The download includes the profile structure, questions for students to consider while creating the profile, and a marking rubric.
9. Crash Course Literature video worksheet
The video and worksheet cover
- biographical information about the author, Charlotte Bronte
- the major plot points of the text
- major questions the text elicits readers to ask
- genre conventions of the text
- important themes, such as the effects of patriarchy on women
The print-and-go worksheet encourages active listening and spurs students to think deeply about how to read, understand and interpret the text.
The worksheets are great to use to give yourself a break from talking, as a homework task or to leave for a substitute teacher.
After-reading lesson plans: Jane Eyre
So, your students have read the book and now you need to help them revise and prepare for some kind of assessment. If that’s the case, check out the activities below.
We’ve found tests, quizzes, escape rooms, group research tasks, essay writing tasks, soundtrack projects, and more.
1. Tests, quizzes, and answer keys
If you’re wanting reading quizzes as well as a final exam, you might want to check out this bunch of tests by Danielle Knight. Included in the PDF file are
- four quizzes and answer keys
- review and answer key
- final test and answer key, with question types including multiple-choice, short answer, and essay
2. Escape the room review activity for Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea
If you want your students to review both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, this escape room by O’Neill English Literature 9-12 might be exactly what you want.
In the activity, students work in teams and think critically to review the novel. And you can adjust the clues to suit your students’ ability and how much time you have in class.
3. Digital escape room review activity
If you want to do a digital escape room, then check out this one by Innovative English Instruction. In the activity, students will review characters, key plot details, and the chronology of the text, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the text.
The escape room includes
- Directions and rules
- A timer (set for 45 minutes)
- A “start here” narrative
- Google Forms (which direct them to a character identification task and a chronology maze)
- 2 jigsaw puzzles
- Hidden pictures (which direct them to 2 sets of comprehension questions (5 for Thornfield; 5 for Moor House and Ferndean) and the final congratulatory note)
4. Group research project
If you’re looking for an alternative to a test for assessing student learning, you might enjoy this group research project by The Daring English Teacher.
In the common core-aligned task, students work in groups to create a research project. The research project includes a five-paragraph research paper that is written and cited in MLA format, as well as a PowerPoint presentation that students present to the class.
Included in the project are
- the research project assignment
- research topics and websites for students to use
- group member evaluation forms
- teacher rubric
- and an editable example PowerPoint template
5. Expository essay writing task
If you want your students to write an essay for assessment, you might want this expository essay writing lesson plan by Write On with Jamie. The lesson can be run in-class, for homework, as a flipped classroom lesson, or independently during distance learning as it can be uploaded to most learning management systems.
In the no-prep activity, students watch a video with an expository writing tutorial that shows students the process of writing an expository essay using supporting evidence from the novel. Aspects of writing an expository essay covered in the lesson plan for Jane Eyre include
- brainstorming ideas
- creating thesis
- introducing supporting evidence
- writing hooks, leads, and conclusions
- using appropriate transitions
- and incorporating the six traits of writing.
The common core-aligned Jane Eyre lesson plan has what you need to implement the lesson, including instructional procedures, lesson objectives, direct instruction, guided practice, enrichment, differentiation strategies, and essential questions.
Students also get worksheets to prompt their writing, brainstorm their ideas, develop their thesis, and take notes on how to write an expository essay. Students also use an interactive PowerPoint to identify key vocabulary, list essay ideas, develop their thesis, and identify what their essay needs using a checklist.
Finally, an essay rubric and graphic organizer are included in this Google Slides-ready lesson plan.
6. Soundtrack project
Another fun assessment option if you are teaching Jane Eyre is this common core-aligned soundtrack project by The Lit Guy.
In the activity, students must create a list of songs that will be used for a film version of the novel. The songs students choose must link to themes, character insights, or moods that are developed in Jane Eyre.
The activity includes instructions for students, a grading rubric, a student sample, and tips on how to use the project in your unit.
Whole-unit bundles of lesson plans: Jane Eyre
Now, if you’ve scrolled straight down here, we won’t judge. We know time is short and pre-prepared units can be a total lifesaver! We have two options to look at today.
1. Whole unit bundle by SJ Brull
The first option we have today is this five-week unit plan by SJ Brull. Included in the plan are
- an anticipation and reflection guide – a two-page handout with quotes relating to the text’s themes. Students need to respond whether they agree or disagree with the statement and then explain their opinion. There are teacher notes on how to turn this into a class discussion.
- quote analysis and reading quizzes – the reading quizzes help you gauge student comprehension and the quote analysis helps students learn to read for a deeper understanding of themes
- theme tracking notes – students research themes and track them while reading. They use this later to create an author’s theme statement.
- film and text essay – an elements of film handout, essay graphic organizer, grading rubric, and notes for the teacher that you can use while showing an adaptation of Jane Eyre.
- character analysis packet with three activities – firstly, a guided space for students to illustrate, describe, record, and analyze evidence about character development in the novel. Secondly, a character-theme graffiti table to help students understand how minor characters support the theme development. Lastly, a creative character review project that encourages abstract thinking and evidence-based writing
- post-reading discussion in the Socratic method: a semi-structured approach to class discussions with a 20-slide PowerPoint that explains the Socratic method. Students get a preparation worksheet and reflection. You also get instructions on how to hold a class discussion.
- author study – students create a Facebook profile, Facebook newsfeed, Facebook exit tickets, and Twitter exit tickets about Charlotte Bronte. There is also extra information on how you can use these in different ways throughout the unit.
- theme and quote poster – two different styles of printable posters that highlight key themes from the novel
2. Digital whole unit bundle by The Digital English Teacher
The second option for a whole unit bundle for teaching Jane Eyre is this unit plan by The Digital English Teacher.
The unit can be assigned through Google Classroom as it is created using Google Docs and Google Slides. You can simply assign the tasks to students, and students can complete their work in the documents’ easy-fill text boxes.
The unit includes
- Vocabulary tasks with 68 vocabulary words
- Reading guide w/answer key so students are held accountable for reading (and you can check student comprehension)
- Close reading tasks – eight passages where students must read closely, explain the passage in the context of the novel. consider the implications of the passage in the real world, and personally respond to the passage.
- Digital character notebook where students explore in/direct characterization, static and dynamic characters, stock characters, round and flat characters, and protagonists/antagonists
- Character development – students will describe character motivations and how they change throughout the novel, as well as how they advance both the plot and the theme
- Making inferences activity – where students choose significant pieces of the text, use the knowledge they have, and draw conclusions based on that information
- Types of conflict – students examine examples of the types of conflict in the novel and explore how they move the story forward. Types of conflict include person vs. self, person vs. person, person vs. nature, person vs. society, person vs. God/fate, and person vs. machine/technology.
- Plot chart – students use the chart to identify six parts of the story’s plot
- A self-grading final test on Google Forms – includes 50 multiple-choice questions and 20 matching questions.,
- and a bonus theme project worksheet – students select a theme from the novel, choose text examples to support the theme, and make connections to modern society.
That’s all folks . . .
Whether they’re lesson plans or other activities for teaching Jane Eyre in high school, we want to know what’s worked in your classrooms.
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