Mini-Projects 2: Around the World

This week the mini-projects seemed to focus on taking us out of the classroom and into the world.  Among the choices were timelines, Google Treks, and Lit Trips.  I worked with all three of these choices to come up with a way to bring a piece of literature to life for students.

The first project I completed was a timeline, which I created on a website called TimeToast.  This website allows users to create any kind of timeline they would like, with the option of adding text and photos.  I chose Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days for my timeline because the story is basically an itinerary that the characters try (and sometimes fail) to follow.  A timeline would be a good way to illustrate to students the passage of time for books like this, which can be very confusing when the characters are moving to different areas quickly.  The timeline also acts as a deadline.  The main character has to return to London after exactly 80 days, and by putting that date on the timeline, students can visualize the amount of time the characters have to work with.  Here is my timeline below:

timeline link

Screenshot of Timeline linked to online profile.

The second project was a Google Earth Lit Trip of Around the World in 80 Days.  This project was much more difficult for me.  I was able to place landmarks where the characters went in the novel, like London or Bombay, but I couldn’t figure out how to link them.  With some help from Dr. Coffman, I was able to finally get the landmarks to link together, forming paths in between.  However, while I was working on Google Earth, I also tried to make a Google Trek to see if I could create paths more easily.  Here are both projects (still works in progress) below:

Screenshot of Google Trek


Path from London to Suez

Path from London to Suez

Both of these projects could be very important in an English classroom.  Sometimes it can be difficult for students to visualize the paths that the characters take in the story.  Another good example of a novel that I could do a Trek or Lit Trip for would be Night by Elie Wiesel.  In this book, characters are moved from one concentration camp to another throughout Europe during World War II.  A Lit Trip could show students not only the places that these prisoners were taken to, but how far these people had to walk during Death Marches.  This serves to call attention to themes like human suffering, and give students emotional relevance to the text.

Both of these activities could be useful in the classroom as a means of helping students visualize texts.  Treks or Lit Trips and timelines help make texts much more accessible because students are able to see a journey of a character or the places they went and when.  Both projects would give context on an emotional, historical, political, and geographical level.


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