Students usually have a difficult time enjoying Puritan literature, and this activity allows students to safely enjoy the benefit of Puritan essays such as Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".
Begin the lesson with a roll call quesiton. Your RCQ is "What is the most beautiful image in the whole world?" As students stand and answer the question, you will hear answers that range from rainbows to a million dollars.
Introduce the concept of imagery - reinforce your concept by having students think of examples of song lyrics that invoke images (hint: many of these titles include words such as "like" or "as".) Examples could include: Every Rose has its Thorns, A Bridge Over Troubled Water, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and my favorite blues song I Got the Oreo Cream Sandwhich, Chocolate Covered, Cream-filled, Cookie blues.
Introduce Jonathan Edwards and his presence in Puritan tradition Introduce the sermon he wrote, and be sure to warn the students that the material is very graphic in nature and that students should be mature in their response to the literature. Note that this is more for effect than precaution - you'll suddenly have 30 or so students who can't wait to hear what you are about to read.
READING ACTIVITY: As you read "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" out loud, have students draw pictures of the images created by Edwards. I have often found that giving students a concrete example from the story BEFORE I read it gives them good direction. After you finish the last word of the story -- say nothing. Quiety return to your desk and let the students finish pasting their images on to their papers. After you sense most everyone is finished, announce a deadline of 3 minutes.
End the hour by having students stand and promote their work, explain their images, and be recognized.
Since I teach this text in the first few weeks of school, it helps students feel comfortable about tough literature. It also provides some great artwork for the walls.
Please let me know if you think this lesson could be better -- I'd love to hear your ideas.