Happy birthday, Citizen Dickens!

Yep! One of the best known British writers of all times is turning 200 this year. Exactly on February 7, 1812,  Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth and he had no easy childhood. His family went bankrupt and his father sent to prison, reason why he had to work in a factory at a very young age. Not much later he started working as a journalist and he gained great success with his first novel the The Pickwick Papers at the age of 24.

If you want to know more ( for you or your students) the BBC has a 4-minutes cartoon with a summary of his life, you can also find a brief reference to his work and life on OUP Bibliographies.Charles Dickens

I personally think that Dickens is a great author to use in class, not only for reading purposes, but also because the amount of class resources we can find on-line    to work almost anything. And what a perfect opportunity to bring it into the classroom by celebrating his bicentenary!

From drama activities to work vocabulary, pronunciation and even creative writing and speaking, to games about the author’s life and literary work or Victorian society. Today, we want  to recommend two of them:

  • Oxford University Press: the publishing house has given free access to some of the class materials from their repositories. You’ll find games, a taste of their readers based on Dickens’ most famous novels, drama activities and more.
  • British Council- Teaching English: on this site you will find a collection of really interesting lesson plans for younger and adult students based on the Victorian writer’s works.
If you know any other please add a comment with the link and your opinion.



4 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Citizen Dickens!

  1. I loved your article, Carlos, because I’ve been thinking myself about Dickens’ anniversary and how I could introduce the topic in class, so your post came like an answer to my unspoken thoughts ;D
    I don’t know if I’ll be able to put it into practice as this year it’s impossible for me to use the computer lab with my students, but I had this crazy idea that might be fun, it’s based on something I read on http://goo.gl/ftVSC
    There’s this site http://www.myfakewall.com/ where you can create a fake Facebook account, the students would work in groups of 3 or 4 and each group reads a work by Dickens, they can choose the one they prefer, it could be a novel or it could be a short story, and of course it could be an abridged version as in most cases their English will not be good enough for the unabridged version. Every student picks a character in the story they read and creates a fake account for it. Then of course characters belonging to the same story would befriend each other and they will write on each other’s walls retelling the story in their own words!
    Don’t you think it could be fun?

      • Thank you for the idea Carmen, I can’t work that in class (we don’t have a lab or even a good internet connection), but maybe it could work as a short term project. I’ll give it a thought.

  2. This is an addition to what has been posted, the charity Film Education have created these section Oliver Twist (http://www.filmeducation.org/olivertwist/) where teachers can find activities on Victorian society, and resources to work script writing, summarising, use of language and pronunciation, among others. Besides, if you like using films in your lessons, it’s worth spending some time surfing the site.

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