Suggested activities for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Ideas developed by Anne Arvidson from Exeter-West Greenwich High School and Pamela Blanco from Coventry High School for Students Respond
All entries must include a Participant Information Form
• Literature Letters – Pretending to be a character, student will compose a letter either to another character in The Secret Life of Bees, or to a character in another work of literature.
• Diary Entries – Pretending to be a character, student will create diary entries.
• Extend the novel – Student will compose/amend a scene from the novel that they either think is missing or begging to be written.
• Postcards – Before reading, students receive a series of postcards written by different character in which said characters’ conflict, wishes, or observations are noted.
• Change the genre – Students will transcribe prose into drama.
• Newspaper – Students will prepare a newspaper account of events, including national news, local news, entertainment, editorial, obituary, etc.
• Magazine – Students will create a magazine modeled after a current magazine, i.e. People, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated, or Seventeen.
• Wish book – Pretending to be a character, students will create a list in book form that describes their deepest desires or wishes.
• Annotated recipe – Students will create a character recipe, in which they combine culinary elements that reflect the chosen character.
• “How to” Guide – Students will create a how-to guide describing the following: how to process honey, how register to vote, how to design an outrageous hat…
• Time or place rewrite – Students will rewrite their favorite scene in a different time and/or place.
• Prediction chart – Using the signs of the zodiac, students will write insightful horoscopes for characters.
• Dear Ann advice column – Students will compose two letters: one which describes a character’s problem and one which presents a possible solution to the problem.
• Creative writing – Students will create an original piece of writing inspired by the novel.
• Multiple points of view – Students will retell a scene from multiple points of view.
• Quotable quotes – Students will compile and explain the connection between a list of sayings/proverbs from well-known Americans, such as Twain, Dickinson, Thoreau, and Emerson and characters from The Secret Life of Bees.
• May’s last will and testament – Pretending to be May, students will write her last will and testament, a document which will provide insight into her character.
• Response to quotes – Students will select passages from the novel and will write insightful commentary.
• Book review critique – Students will write a book review or critique of the novel with an eye to a peer audience.
• Analytical essay – Students will develop an insightful thesis on theme or character and will write a formal essay.
• Reader response journal – During their reading of the novel, students will create a double-entry journal detailing their thoughts, questions, and discoveries.
• Symbol book – Students will construct a book that demonstrates their understanding of the function of symbols in the novel.
• Character quilt – Students will create squares of information that will be pieced together to form a character quilt.
• Respond to a photograph – Students will provide a written response provoked by a photograph from the Sixties.
• Letter campaign – Students will write a letter in defense of the literary merit of The Secret Life of Bees.
• Across the years – Students will defend the relevance of issues in The Secret Life of Bees with contemporary concerns.
• Thematic comparison – Students will compare/contrast two works written in different time periods with similar themes and issues.
• Poetry sampler – Students will locate and provide connections for five poems and relate them to The Secret Life of Bees
• Where I’m from – Using the poem “Where I’m From” by Georgia Ella Lyon, students will create a personalized “Where I’m From” poem for both a character from the novel and for themselves.
• Found poem – Students will manipulate lines of text to create a new poem which provides insight into an aspect of the novel.
• Circular poetry – Students will create a poem that originates from a line in the text and repeats the last word in each line in the first position of the following line.
Visual Art Responses
• Movie poster – Students will create a movie poster for the upcoming film version of The Secret Life of Bees for a specific audience.
• Illustrated The Secret Life of Bees – Students will select art, paintings, or sculpture that would compliment the novel and defend their choices.
• Memory box/scrap book – Students will create and explain a memory box or scrapbook of objects that would be near and dear to one of the novel’s a characters
• Map – Students will construct an annotated map of significant landmarks and events from the novel.
• Book jacket – Students will design a new book jacket that will include artwork, brief synopsis and review, author information, and teasers and commentary from other authors, characters, etc.
• South Carolina notebook – Students will create a scrapbook-type document in which they present flora, fauna, people, or customs of the Carolina region.
• Travel brochure – Students will create a tri-fold brochure for the novel and the region.
• Everything I need to know about life I learned from The Secret Life of Bees - Students will create a poster delineating life lessons learned from the novel.
• Outta character’s head – Using an outline of a head, students will fill the head with graphics or words that provide insight to a character’s motivation.
• Freytag’s pyramid – Students will create a visually appropriate model that delineates plot with explanation and graphics.
• Have a happy birthday – Students will select and explain gift choices to celebrate the characters’ birthdays.
• CD for The Secret Life of Bees – Students will create a selection of music reflective of the events and themes of the novel, in which they explain how the selected pieces compliment the novel.
• Original song lyrics – Students will appropriate a favorite song, rewriting the lyrics to reflect a significant event or theme from the novel.
• Dramatic monologue – Pretending to be a character, student will create a dramatic monologue, which could be videotaped.
• Character interview – Pretending to be reporters, or talk show hosts, students will interview characters.
More details about Students Respond, participant form, or Teachers.