Teaching Jack London

Jack London's Signature and image.

Teaching Jack London

Writing contest for grades 6-8, March 31 deadline. The Jack London Historic State Park once again sponsors its contest for students. For 2022 it is choosing a positive focus and envisioning brighter days ahead for everyone. To support this, the theme of the contest is “Building Brighter Communities.” For details, go to https://jacklondonpark.com/annual-young-writers-contest/

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)

Martin Eden. This 2019 much-awarded Italian film translates the novel to a country with similar class conflict issues. Even viewing a section of it could spark much conversation for classes reading the book. Stunning cinematography and acting. Highly recommended!

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

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 later to review these practices. The College Resource Center Writing Guide includes even more extensive links to types of style, plagiarism, and creating an essay.

Do 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 when there is no way to find them. Much of the Jack London scholarship is in journals or books available only at college and university libraries.