”A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle is a classic childhood novel, however, it can be a little confusing in spots. The activities in this lesson are designed to help your students get as much as possible out of their reading.
Why A Wrinkle in Time Activities?
What can make reading a favorite book even more fun? Sharing the experience. As book club members know, talking about a book you like can help you enjoy and understand it even more. As a teacher, you plan activities around a book to make your students’ reading a communal, social experience that enhances appreciation and comprehension.
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a classic that many children love, but it is not necessarily the world’s easiest book to read. Not only will the activities in this lesson help your students enjoy the book more and involve themselves more wholeheartedly in their reading, but these activities will also enhance comprehension of the text.
Doing these activities before you begin reading A Wrinkle in Time with your class will help activate their prior knowledge and build the skills they will need to understand the book.
One of the major themes in A Wrinkle in Time is that of being different. Most of the main characters experience an intense sense that they are different from ordinary people, for a variety of reasons. Ask your students to write in their journals about what it means to ‘feel different.’ They can write from personal experience, their imagination, or previous books they have read around this theme. Then, ask your students to share their journal entries if they feel comfortable doing so. Discuss some of the common ideas that come up for different students doing this activity.
What Is a Tesseract?
The idea of a tesseract can be quite a captivating one, and also a complex one. Introduce the word to your students and have them look it up. Explain that the book will help develop their understanding of the term, but for now, they should work with whatever they already understand or imagine. Ask them to use colored pencils to illustrate their associations with this concept and its various connotations. Have students share their works, and refer back to them throughout the book.
During Reading Activities
These activities are designed to monitor students’ comprehension and foster their engagement as they read.
Choose a Character
The characters in L’Engle’s novel are rich and full. Ask each student to choose one major character to follow over the course of the book. Students will likely choose Meg, Charles Wallace, or Mrs. Murry. Later, students might also grow interested in the three Ws and Calvin. At the end of each chapter, students are responsible for writing a report on that chapter’s events from their character’s point of view. They should showcase what they know about their character’s personality and voice through their writing.
Map of Meg’s Travels
To understand the setting of A Wrinkle in Time, it can be helpful to create a graphic representation of everywhere the main group of characters has traveled. Dedicate a wall or bulletin board of your classroom to this map, but put students in charge of it. They can use yarn to show the path and construction paper to designate each of the major stops. They can write captions describing the different places and times. Your students will add on to the map as they read; it will begin very small but grow larger as the group travels farther.
After Reading Activities
Finally, these activities will help students consolidate what they got from the text and share their appreciation with others.
Letter from Meg’s Father
Ask your students to imagine that they are Meg’s father, writing a letter to his daughter while he is in IT’s clutches. They should imagine everything that her father has gone through, but they should also use what they know about his character to imagine how, specifically, a letter to his daughter might sound.
Dramatize a Scene
Break your students into small groups and ask each group to select a scene they especially loved from the novel. Have them write a script dramatizing that scene, emphasizing getting into the relevant characters’ shoes and representing the importance of the scene in relation to the rest of the novel. Give your students a chance to make scenery as well, looking back to the book for ideas about exactly how the different settings looked. Then, give them a chance to perform their scenes for one another and offer constructive feedback.