The Annotated Frankenstein Project
Organized around essential questions and thematic literature selections, each Whitfield English course combines collaborative experiences and individualized instruction. Across grade levels students examine ideas, read critically, make presentations, design media products, and communicate using a variety of technology resources, balancing deep thinking and concrete skill acquisition to prepare for college, careers, and citizenship.
In English 9 students spent the majority of the last six weeks creating an original website to display their understanding and analysis of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein. Built on the Blogger platform with the annotating functionality of the popular website genius.com, the Annotated Frankenstein Project features students’ analytical writing, creative projects, and of course, annotations.
English department faculty David Records and Sari Rotskoff ’00 developed this project to provide students with an authentic audience for their work and to develop and strengthen essential skills.
“Annotating, analytical writing, collaborating, writing theme paragraphs, and making connections between books are skills that we want our students to be able to do,” said David Records. “And giving them the opportunity to put their thoughts out there for a wider audience reinforces the importance of drafting their work and being thoughtful and intentional with their writing.”
To create the Annotated Frankenstein Project, the ninth grade was divided up into small groups and each group was responsible for one chapter of Frankenstein. Groups were required to write a paragraph analyzing one of the novel’s themes and three different types of double-entry journals focusing on a literary device, book club connection, and a connection to one of the Essential Questions for English 9. Finally, each group was required to create a project that helps their audience develop a deeper understanding of the individual chapter. In addition to working on content for this website, students also participated in book clubs and read contemporary novels that connected thematically to Frankenstein.
“Without this project, students would have completed the individual components—the analysis paragraph, the double-entry journals, and the creative project—but we would have collected the assignments and that would have been it,” said Sari Rotskoff ’00. “This way, their work is published for people to see in a living document where students can continue to interact with each other about their thinking and what they did with their projects.”
Freshmen Jackson Brungart, Blanche Hartmann, Kennedy Crisp, and Sarah Schott were responsible for Chapter 10.
“I really enjoyed making our creative project which was a paper maché sculpture that was half mountain and half garden,” said Kennedy Crisp ’23. “The sculpture showed the scenery from Chapter 10 and it helped me connect with the setting as it was described in the context of the novel.”
“I thought it was a really fun project and although the annotating wasn’t my favorite part, it did help me gain a deeper understanding of the book because I really had to dig into it,” said Sarah Schott ’23.
Visit the Annotated Frankenstein Project by clicking here. To explore student work, click on the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the home page. A table of contents includes links to individual chapters of the book. Within each chapter, are highlighted passages. Click on each highlighted passage to reveal student annotations in the margins.