A Ray (Bradbury) of Hope

If you teach Fahrenheit 451, you might be interested to know that I just posted three great tools that’ll make your job so much easier. (Shameless Plug Alert)

RayBradburySciFiHighSchoolEnglishRandazzoFirst, dazzle your kids with a 43-slide introductory Prezi lecture that’ll pull them into Montag’s futuristic dystopia and make them marvel at Ray Bradbury’s prophetic insights. Seriously, the guy dreamed up ATMs, earbuds, and wall-sized flat screen TVs way back in the 1950s. Impressive, no?

Then, use this set of critical thinking worksheets in a variety of ways as you take students through the novel. I vary my use of these handouts – one day they’ll serve as small group discussion starters, the next day I’ll use a set as a homework assignment, and a few select questions from a third set will become in-class short-answer quiz material.

Finally, I built a close-reading lesson on “Dover Beach,” the poem that protagonist Montag uses to try to evoke some humanity from his wretched wife Mildred and her equally vapid friends.

Now that 20Time is finished, it feels good to get back into curriculum building. In fact, even though summer is still two months away I’m already building my summer vacation “to do” list. A non-boring research essay writing unit is at the top of my list, but I’m wondering if you have any other requests? Leave a comment below or send me an email and I’ll add your curriculum wish to my idea notebook. I can’t promise I’ll be able to turn every idea into a download, but you know I’ll do my best to build some cool new tools before the fall semester begins.

Hope you’re having a great week. Teach on, everyone!

16 thoughts on “A Ray (Bradbury) of Hope

  1. Yay! I’m excited for that Bradbury stuff! Your Prezis are the best. My kids love them!

    I’m moving up with my sophomores next year and teaching them junior year (as we change our curriculum to do 2 yrs of American Lit). That’ll mean that they’ve already had most of what I’d normally teach in Amer Lit II, so I’m doing all new novels next year. If you have any desire to work up content on All the Pretty Horses, As I Lay Dying, or Flannery O’Connor’s short story collection, you’d have at least one super happy customer! 😊😊 I love everything you do, so I’ll just keep watching. Oh! On that note–we did your Tone PowerPoint (from the Julius Caesar collection) today, and they loved it! HUGE hit!

  2. Thanks, Mrs. Turner! So glad the materials are working for you. I’ve added your titles to my list and am especially intrigued by the idea of digging back into some Flannery O’Connor. And, crazy timing, but I’m leading my freshmen through that same Tone Powerpoint tomorrow as we launch Romeo & Juliet. Great minds, eh? 🙂

  3. Bradbury Superfan says:

    Laura, I’m so excited! I’ve been hoping you’d tackle some 451 materials. This is my favorite book to teach as it is, I have an amazing group this year who will just sink their teeth right in, and now new stuff! I win! Have you watched the Big Read interview with him? He’s just adorable, and if my kids aren’t in love with him by the end of the novel, that seals the deal. Thanks for all you do!

  4. Katie Mitchell says:

    You are the best! I would love some interactive grammar ideas!

  5. Grammar’s going on my list, Katie! I already have the MUG Shot bell-ringers, but I’m thinking some game-based grammar learning/slides would be fun, too. Hmm…(mental wheels are spinning)

  6. Wow! A chance to explore inside that brilliant mind of yours, and I can’t think of anything!
    Do you assign journal writing, or how often do you give a prompt? Many teachers in my hall assign a daily journal prompt, but I feel as if I don’t have enough time left for that in my schedule, though I’d like to, at times.

  7. Ha, Michelle! I don’t know about “brilliant,” but I do sometimes feel like there’s a hamster in a wheel up there in my gray matter, churning out a ticker-tape of ideas and random cravings for pizza. 🙂

    I don’t regularly use journals because I’ve found them too cumbersome to read on top of everything else I’m doing. I’d hate for a student to bare her soul in a journal entry, only to have that be the page I skipped, you know? I do, though, open some lessons with a “quickwrite,” which is just a 5-to-7 minute brain dump on a theme or idea that I connect to the larger literature unit of the day. Those are fun and journal-like without having to dedicate myself to the whole journal routine.

  8. meganmcrae727 says:


    Since you are so creative, I’d love to see what you’d come up with for a set of creative writing quickwrites. I envision a list per trimester, and students have all trimester to do 5 of their choice. I’d assign it as a Google Classroom assignment so they can work at home and in class, as early finisher work or even a class period devoted to catching up or in reality starting them haha. Anything with grammar would be awesome as well. A research paper writing guide…ugh that’d be amazing! Haha. A short story lesson for The Lottery? More of those video lessons like the Poe one. Any of these would be amazing! Maybe a finished unit for The Outsiders? You have so many things that would work already. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of ideas cooking that I’d love already! You are so kind to open up for suggestions. Thank you, and I hope I didn’t overwhelm you haha.

  9. Meg,
    LOVE this thoughtful, useful list. I really like the idea of a choose-your-own-adventure creative writing list/assignment, sort of a choose five and get ’em by done by XX date. Great idea. More grammar stuff? Yup, I need that, too. More Poe-like video quickies? Easy. The Lottery? Why haven’t I done that one already? Sheesh. And The Outsiders unit? Ponyboy’s been waiting for me to circle back around for far too long. Okay, now I’m getting even more excited for summer. Thanks for submitting your wishlist – it’s amazing!
    🙂 Laura

  10. Heather Hollands says:

    Hi Laura,
    Well, since you asked…..
    Keep the SAT prep materials coming! I am looking for games and other ways to prepare the students for the SAT while keeping them engaged. Mini research projects. I would be interested in some Native American literature resources for my EN11/American Lit. class to start off the school year. I also would like materials for the Harlem Renaissance. Add Ernest Hemingway. Lord of the Flies. Things Fall Apart. Have you ever taught Paolo Bacigalupi’s ShipBreaker? Would love teaching ideas for that. What about Much Ado About Nothing? I need to add more literature with female protagonists. Maybe Malala Yousafzai, Henrietta Lacks or Maya Angelou? I’m thinking about putting together lit circles with some nonfiction selections or some newer YA titles. I’m happy that you have added materials for F451. This year, I purchased those from some other TpT sellers, and I definitely wished you had created the resources…money down the drain. I hope you find some time to relax this summer, but I won’t complain when I see lots of additions to your TpT store!

  11. Thanks, Heather, for the wealth of ideas. This’ll certainly keep me busy. Relax over summer vacation? Afraid I’m not familiar with that concept… 🙂

  12. You are my go-to person on TPT because you think so differently than I do-more visual-oriented, and I appreciate your ideas so much.
    I pushed the administration to go all electives (except for English I) with course offerings in English; they all get English credits, but finally students get a choice instead of lockstep as before.
    This year I inaugurated a full year of Shakespeare and it was a huge success, both for my kids and for me. We read, acted out, watched Globe theater productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Macbeth, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, lots of sonnets, and Julius Caesar. Now that I understand how to pace this ear, I hope to add a few more plays.

    Next year I will be teaching Great American Authors–we planned this to take the best of the Am Lit course. It seems like every year, the early stuff just killed the kids and we never got to modern materials. I plan on F451 and a study of Bradbury and Sci-fi, Robert Frost, Of Mice and Men. I want to offer other units so kids can pick their own interests. I inherited my dad’s collection of Zane Grey westerns and want to incorporate Owen Wister and other “western” writers, a unit for American poets and give them their choice, maybe a unit on transdendentalism. Maybe great short stories with Faulkner, O’Connor, Shirley jackson, etc. I can design it any way I choose, so what great ideas do you have if you could design this course? (And aren’t I a lucky teacher?!)

    I also get to design and teach a course I am calling Ancient Greek Literature and Mythology–thinking origins of drama, Iliad and Odyssey, Antigone and Oedipus Rex, some Plato and Aristotle. What else might you add if you were to design this course?

    Considering that we are a small rural high school in southern Ohio, I am pretty proud of our English offerings! Thanks for any ideas you have.

  13. Wow, Rho, you have a DREAM assignment. I’ve never heard of such autonomy. Relish it! For the short stories, I’d definitely keep the sci-fi (always a favorite in my classes) and maybe build in a mystery unit, too. Also, I’d cover the classics, but try to fold in more modern writers. Maybe some readers out there have suggestions of underappreciated modern writers for Rho? The ancient Greek lit. class also sounds great. I’m super-jealous! Oh, and Othello (sexy and horrific) and Taming of the Shrew (sexy and funny) would be great additions to your Shakespeare class because there’s a lot of modern connections/debate topics that would definitely get your kids all fired up.

  14. Hi! Thank you for providing these resources for us English teachers! However, I have one comment to make. I believe you spelled “Clarisse McClellan” in the first discussion question worksheet for Fahrenheit 451. You spelled it as “Clarisse McClelland.” I really don’t mean to be rude or anything, so sorry if that sounded kind of harsh.

    I love that you’re selling these resources for us English teachers to use! They have saved me tons of stress and are great additions to my lesson plans! 🙂

  15. This isn’t rude at all! Your eagle-eye is super helpful. 🙂 I just updated this item in my shop with the correctly spelled name, so be sure to grab a fresh copy in your “My Purchases” area on your account screen. Thanks for the heads-up!

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