Teaching Jack London

Jack London's Signature and image.

Teaching Jack London

Available Curricula and Lesson Plans

Jack London offers a way to address a wide variety of topics beyond his literature. We found well-developed lessons and assignments in unexpected places throughout the web. You'll find the through the  Digital History 1876-1916 tab.

During Summer NEH seminars, some teachers created and donated lesson plans as well. We add these on the Lesson Plan tab. We welcome contributions of your own Jack London lesson plans or projects.

Books for Teachers

Brandt, Kenneth, and Jeanne Campbell Reesman, eds.. Approaches to Teaching the Works of Jack London. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2015.
Curricula for teaching world literature from middle school to graduate level.

Dyer, Daniel. The Call of the Wild: Annotated and Illustrated.  University of Oklahoma, 1997.
Order this for your school library in hardback as well.Half the volume consists of maps, historical background, expansion of text material, glossary, etc., so that a reader can move from the literature into history, geography, myth, anthropology, and other topics as well.

Dyer, Daniel. The Call of the Wild for Teachers. University of Oklahoma, 1997.
A curriculum guide rich with plans, resources, and materials. Includes a keying to Dyer's edition of The Call of the Wild, but can be used with any edition.

Kanopy Free Films (available from many library websites)

Jack London: A Life of Adventure: Two 12-minute segments. Part 1 is an inspiring account of how reading led London to become a writer. Part 2 discusses how his adventures formed the basis for his major books, including Call of the Wild and People of the Abyss.

Jack London and the African-American Community: A 28-minute  interview with Mary Rudge, expert on African-American history in Oakland. Her work uncovered the secret childhood of London in the multi-racial neighborhood of his youth.

To Build a Fire: Narrated by Orson Welles, this 52 minute film attempts to match the realism of London's story.

Making Assignments

From the beginning of this site, students have written to us for help.  We politely redirect them to their instructor. Here are some thoughts we have based upon our experiences with students.who contact us.

Skim through this web site overall so you are familiar with what students can and cannot find. In order to avoid cut-and-paste papers, we offer primarily reference material. Still, some students may cut-and-paste from the on-line biographies, wikipedia, and book summaries. Be alert to these by checking out key web sources on Jack London.

Teach students about the importance of citing sources and footnotes so they understand academic honesty and plagiarism. It will save them a lot of trouble in later classes and college to review these practices.

Be sure your local libraries have the materials students need to do their assignments. We often hear from students at 9-12 level who are told to find literary articles on Jack London, but there is no nearby junior college or university that would have these. Much of the Jack London scholarship is in journals or books available only at large academic libraries.

Here's a source with other writing links and advice. The College Resource Center Writing Guide includes even more extensive links to types of style, plagiarism, and creating an essay.