Frankenstein Day takes place on the last Friday of October. Do your students know the story of Frankenstein? Do they know the story behind the story?
Listen or Read The Story Behind Frankenstein
Mary Shelley was in a writing group. The writers challenged each other to think of a ghost story. They talked about scary things that were happening in the world to help inspire each other. Mary Shelley tried to think of an idea, but she couldn’t come up with anything. The other writers were busy at work! Finally, Mary Shelley had a bad dream about a scientist who created a monster that ended up coming to life. According to legend, Mary Shelley had the dream while she was awake! She was afraid of her own dream, and she decided to write it down. Her idea turned into a novel and a film. Many people think the monster’s name in the story is Frankenstein. It’s not! In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein is actually the last name of the scientist who created the monster. Over the years, it’s almost like the monster claimed the name for itself. Creepy!
Here is a fun activity that you can do with your students this month.
1. Share the background about Mary Shelley and Frankenstein with your students. (You can play the listening above, read it out loud yourself, or paraphrase it.) You can also try our Frankenstein lesson from our Easy Readers section.
2. Put your students into small groups just like Mary Shelley and her writing friends. Ask the students to tell each other about some dreams that they have had recently. They can share funny, scary, or strange dreams. They can also talk about things that scare them.
3. Have students brainstorm a list of at least five scary words. Allow them to use a dictionary or thesaurus. Encourage them to use at least three nouns and at least two adjectives. If they can come up with ten words, that’s even better! Check out Tanya’s Morbid Words to Learn for Halloween.
4. Challenge each student to go home (or back to their desks) and write a spooky ghost story for Frankenstein Day or Halloween. They should try to use all of the scary words their group thought of.
5. On Frankenstein Day (or Halloween), ask your students to hand in their stories. Give them the option of being part of the contest. (Read the stories first, to make sure that they are appropriate for class.) Ask students to hold a secret vote for the scariest story! Give the winning writer this Mary Shelley Award for Spooky Fiction. Ask for permission from your student, then copy and paste the winning story in the comments below.