Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel: Teachers & Lesson Plans

Betty Williams

Betty Williams

Betty Williams teaches English at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. She has an M.A. in counseling psychology and a B.A. in English. Ms. Williams has served as Life Skills Coordinator and Social Services Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Group Homes and Shelters in Silver Spring, MD. She has also been a mental health counselor at the Center for Abused Persons in White Plains, MD. Since 1980 Ms. Williams has been a performer of African American traditional music with the a cappella sextet “Sweet Honey in the Rock.”

Lesson Plan forThings Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe


To involve students in the novel on an emotional level.


The class is assigned to adapt any chapter as a:

  • script
  • setting with original music
  • skit with characters faithful to the novel

    Note: These lesson plans are probably suitable for all schools, but they were developed particularly for the Duke Ellington School for the Arts.

Plan 2


To help students appreciate the reality behind the fiction.


  • The class travels to a nearby African American cemetery. In this case, it is an unkempt, freed-slave cemetery in Georgetown, a old section of Washington, DC. Students collected the names and dates of the dead.
  • Follow-up Activity: On their own initiative, some students went to the National Archives to research names found in the cemetery. They learned basic research techniques. Of particular interest was the concept of how family histories relate to history generally and to language and culture.

Plan 3


To extend students’ knowledge beyond the novel.


Students conduct research projects centering on one of the following:

  • The treatment of women among the Ibo
  • The treatment of children among the Ibo
  • The use of music among the Ibo
  • The use of parables and proverbs among the Ibo
  • Tribal beliefs
  • Racism
  • Colonialism


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