Simons English classes take on roles from ‘Great Expectations’ book

Simons English classes take on roles from Great Expectations book
Mrs. Ramona Simons classes were adorned in 1800's apparel for their presentations about the book 'Great Expectations.' Students were required to interview a character during class about thier life and times. (Maria Sifuentes photo)

Ruffled shirts, lace gloves and other fashion statements of the 1800s adorned students in Ms. Ramona Simons’s freshman English class earlier this week. Students turned into reporters while others played the part of characters from the book as part of their final project over the book  “Great Expectations” they read earlier in the semester.

“I received this idea already prepackaged from a teacher at St. Marks four or five years ago.  I was kind of afraid of trying to do the project,” Simons said. “PBLs have really been encouraged this year and I thought this would be a perfect project and I was just going to go for it.”

After the students were assigned their parts they went into groups and decided what questions to ask during their interviews. Although some questions and answers were prepared others were just spur of the moment questions.

“We had to come up with some of the questions off the top of our head because one of the other students actually had one of the questions I was going to ask,” freshman Patience Elliott said. “So I just had to think back into my memory and try to remember something back from when I read the book.”

To be able to thoroughly understand the project, the students had to do research and analyze their character and their behaviors. Along with gaining a better understanding of her own character, freshman Valarie Cardenas said this project helped her understand other characters in the novel and their purpose for being in the story.

“This project showed me the different feelings of the other characters and why they reacted to situations the way they did,” Cardenas said. “With my character, Biddie, it showed me how even though she was a minor character she was important to the book itself.”

After reading Great Expectations, Elliott said that she didn’t learn just how to analyze a character and write an interview.  She also said she learned actual lessons from her experiences.

“This book taught me that even if you come from a poor family, not to quote the book, you can still rise to great expectations,” Elliott said.

See more photos of the project here