As a teacher, I am constantly searching for resources. This may take the shape of creepily staring at other teachers in my office as they pull out their supplies, meeting with colleagues from other schools to trade tips, and searching endlessly online for inspiration. My lovely friend Robin introduced me to this book and it has sat among my teaching supplies ever since.
This book is a gem. At first glance I thought it might be a cute book to have but not something that would seriously add to my teaching repertoire. Wrong. I was so wrong.
Most recently I used this book when teaching Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” While focusing on the theme of tradition, I used the lyrics to “Weasel Stomping Day” by Al Yankovic (available in the book) as a Mind’s On activity prior to introducing the story to my class. Both the song and the short story address fleeting tradition and what some people will do in order to hang on to remnants of ritual, no matter how absurd. I found this pairing in the book and found that it worked fabulously well.
This book also contains ideas for literary criticism, mythology, novel study, history, and many, many other topics. The Simpsons in the Classroom has hundreds and hundreds of teaching tips, lesson plans, and media connections that are applicable to many different grades. I have used this for grade 11 and grade 9 English and friends of mine have used it for media and history. If your creativity knows no bounds, you can take this book and run to any class and make it work.