Classics through Pop Culture


    NEW Course! “What’s the next colorful literature class after Shakespeare and pop culture? And could we read classics that are exciting and fun?” ~Prof. Valerie’s students


    Coming Soon

    Frankenstein's Monster - Classics through Pop Culture
    InstructorProf. Valerie Frankel
    Content LevelsGrades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Grades 11-12 • Upper High School
    Course Length16 weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnThursdays, 1:00 - 1:50 PM Pacific - 1/25/24 - 5/18/24

    Many of the big novels have helped create today’s pop culture. The Mark of Zorro and The Scarlet Pimpernel arguably created superhero fiction—particularly the love triangle with the disguised alter-ego.

    Frankenstein was the first science fiction novel, establishing the plight of the artificial beings that followed. Don Quixote expanded the bounds of fiction as well as early fantasy. Dracula gave us basically all our vampire films and shows. Most anime owes a debt to Journey to the West. (Yes, these books have predecessors, but bestsellers make a big splash.)

    Let’s read these fun classics, while also comparing them to our favorite works today.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Assignments to do weekly readings—entire short online books or selections
    • Short critical writing assignments and discussions

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • Supplemental readings on pop culture, context, and history
    • Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.
    • Additional lessons and resources to help students get more out of the lessons and read with more depth.

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • In-class discussion and literary analysis of the classics, including our favorite pop culture spin-offs.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) is encouraged in online class discussions and also during lectures.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 8th-grade level or above.
    • Type fluently.
    • Write a paragraph independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Read a third of a classic novel for homework each week.
    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • Classics are free online, at and elsewhere. Libraries are also well stocked.
    • The Mark of Zorro
    • The Scarlet Pimpernel
    • Journey to the West
    • Frankenstein
    • Dracula
    • Don Quixote