Modern-Day Scarlet Letters

I truly believe that students learn best when they are asked to relate content to their personal lives. That was my goal with this ending, fun activity–Modern-Day Scarlet Letters–applying the theme of hidden vs. exposed sin to students’ own lives.


I set aside the day before the Scarlet Letter Final Objective Test to be fun. Students were given the period to brainstorm and create their Modern-Day Scarlet Letters using paper, markers, crayons, and their own creativity!

I first showed them this goofy photo I found online. I told the students that their letters (or symbols) could be serious or funny. They could incorporate something they felt silly or embarrassed about; they could be something that others judged them for.

The results were awesome! I had some students who took the project seriously. They created ‘O’ for Obstinate, ‘P’ for Procrastinator, ‘I’ for Innocent, etc. I also had students with silly, random letters such as ‘P’ for Peanut-Butter-Hater. One student drew the Twitter symbol to represent how spent too much time on social media.

student videoI was impressed with their ideas and willingness to expose things about themselves!

I had the students present their letters at the end of class. Here is one of my students presenting is ‘O’ for Obnoxious. I loved that he was comfortable talking about himself and admitting something he felt was a flaw/scarlet letter.

Here are more of their creations:

What was fun about the class atmosphere, is that it became like a humorous AA meeting. Students would say their name and the class would respond back, “Hi ______.” The goofy, fun atmosphere made it easier for students to share their letters without worrying about being judged. Some were more serious than others, and I think that’s what made the activity work so well. Having the students share, too, made everyone feel more connected to one another and to the book. I’m pleased how well this went!


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