For teachers introducing Mark Twain to their students, the Mark Twain Interactive Scrapbook is a website with a useful variety of multimedia resources from video and audio to images of primary documents and quotes from the author. The site is produced by PBS and has five classroom activities ready to use with your middle or high school students. It is aesthetically well designed and organized and the classroom activities come complete with a bullet list of national standards to which each one aligns. Even if you do not use the ready-made lesson plans, this site is worth exploring just for what you and your students can learn about Twain’s life and work.
The audio and video components of the site are professionally produced but they require the free Real Player application so be sure the students’ computers are updated with this application before starting. The clips of Mark Twain’s writing are read by actors who sound as we imagine Twain would have. The videos are from Ken Burn’s documentary on Twain and they include short clips of interviews with Twain scholars. Coupled with the text and images, these audio and video elements give visitors a clear, dynamic picture of one of American literature’s most important literary figures.
PBS also includes a thorough chronology of Twain’s life in the form of a timeline with images and quotes. The links page is also worth visiting as it lists many other valuable online Twain resources.
The Mark Twain Interactive Scrapbook is another PBS site well worth exploring with your students. You should check it out.