Looking for Of Mice and Men lesson plans? I have lots of ideas to help personalize your lessons for teaching Of Mice and Men.
I’ve taught Of Mice and Men, and I have lesson plans for everyone! Personally, I enjoy the book, but The Grapes of Wrath is my favorite Steinbeck novel. Still, teaching Of Mice and Men is fun, and like most novel studies, I never teach the same way twice.
No matter what novel you are teaching, and no matter how many times you’ve taught it, you will want an assortment of activities for individual classes. You can download these activities (for free!) and then bookmark these other links for extra engagement during Of Mice and Men.
Sometimes having varying activities and resources will add oomph to whatever novel guide you are using. Here are quick extension activities for teaching Of Mice and Men.
Incorporate nonfiction from Steinbeck.
Steinbeck wrote “The Harvest Gypsies,” and students can relate this reading to the novel. I normally jigsaw the eight parts and have students present a brief summary. Then we work on meeting informational text standards, such as central ideas and details.
After you meet informational text standards with those nonfiction pieces, connect the situation to America’s crisis today.
I typically introduce the novel with those informational pieces. Not only do students get introduced to Steinbeck, but they also are shown a connection to their lives today. As I continue with Of Mice and Men lesson plans, I relate the material back to our initial activities.
Play a song.
Add music to your Of Mice and Men lesson plans. Songs about migrant workers and their lives exist! You can play the songs or have students read the lyrics. Start here.
You can play those pieces throughout the novel. As we review the men’s interactions in the bunk house, I play a song to better set the atmosphere.
Students normally feel empathetic toward Lennie. Sometimes they wonder why George participated in teasing him. This takes some reflection; it helps to ask students if they regret behavior from when they were younger. Also, it helps to discuss how treatment of those with disabilities has changed throughout time. Take into account students’ abilities and then apply research.
For instance, when I taught Of Mice and Men with students who found the book difficult, I found that they had all seen “Forest Gump.” They understood that Forest had a learning disability, and I could relate that character to Lennie.
We discuss how society changes as well. Honestly, our discussions about Lennie are some of the more meaningful ones. Students reflect that younger children sometimes don’t understand differences, and they share that older generations still treat anyone who is differently poorly. I’m normally engaged with what students share with me concerning this topic.
Understand Curley’s wife.
Curley’s wife doesn’t have a name, and I take the opportunity to introduce feminist criticism. Her lack of a name was not an accident, and students deserve to understand the cruelty of this. Steinbeck is emphasizing the role women had during this time period. I allow students to express their anger.
Honestly, the men’s treatment of her angers me, and I think being honest about literature is an important part of teaching it. We briefly cover critical theories in literature as part of our Of Mice and Men activities.
Furthermore, I show students that students research this character extensively.
Steinbeck has won a Nobel Prize. Students typically recognize that honor, and they understand the magnitude of winning it. I encourage students to read the novel and then research the author; they seem to look for clues about the author more if they have already read some of the author’s work.