Category Archives: Twain for Teachers


It is safe to say that most secondary school students know Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from their novels. But they do know less of the enormous variety in Mark Twain’s literary output and the extraordinary triumphs and tragedies of his life. If using class time to show a film, teachers must have precise learning objectives, making certain to engage students’ attention and prompt them to respond with fuller appreciation of the subject matter. There are several fine documentaries on Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, Jocelyn Chadwick responded to the recent removal of “sensitive texts,” including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, from the curriculum in Duluth Public Schools by asking “When will WE listen?” This week, Dr. Chadwick and John E. Grassie, co-authors of Teaching Literature in the Context of Literacy Instruction, share with us the voices of some of the students who they have been listening to as they tour U.S. classrooms.     In so many ways and for so many reasons, we practitioners of Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Duluth Public School District in Minnesota recently decided to drop two novels from their curriculum, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird. Jocelyn Chadwick, current President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and a former Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, is both an expert on secondary education in the U.S. and an acclaimed scholar of Mark Twain, having authored The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn. She takes this opportunity to discuss the importance of these controversial Read more…


The Quarry Farm Fireplace Creative Writing Contest CMTS is pleased to announce the creation of creative writing contest for elementary school students.  Three winners will be awarded a tour of Quarry Farm, including inside the main house. A PDF copy of this assignment can be found by clicking here. Mark Twain on the Quarry Farm Porch The Center for Mark Twain Studies encourages local elementary school teachers to discuss Mark Twain’s legacy in Elmira and the Southern Tier region of New Read more…


Editor’s Note: This is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series focused on adapting Twain to the classroom. If you have an assignment, activity, lesson plan, syllabus design, or pedagogical narrative which you would like to share with other teachers, please consider writing it up (500-1200 words) and sending it [email protected] Now approaching its third year, the English elective “Writings of Mark Twain” at Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, New Jersey explores the life, Read more…

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