Incorporating Pop Culture in the ELA Classroom


Older literature can be hard to teach sometimes in the modern age. Language can become misinterpreted, students might not be interested, or the stories just don’t have the same meaning anymore. However, current pop culture does replicate and successfully take on the messages of this older literature.

Watch any television show, read any new book, or listen to the latest music, you can see the elements of classical literature. Here are some shows to check out to give a new spin on the classics:

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1. The Simpsons
From Edgar Allan Poe to The Count of Monte Cristo, The Simpsons has been famous for some of their classical parodies and did it in a manner which brings fun to the stories and poems. While some of the humor may not be appropriate for younger students, for students in high school, it’s a perfect way for them to become more involved. This can be fun to use for many lessons, as The Simpsons incorporates famous tales such as The Odyssey, The Raven, and Hamlet.

Incorporating Pop Culture in the ELA Classroom
2. Wishbone
This classic 90s show was a great way for students to apply lessons from literature in their daily lives and see it similarly in others. It also has a cute dog (just a bonus). It’s great for middle schoolers and students just starting high school. It’s a fun way to be able to relate to literature, as well as learn about it. This series can be used to teach The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other short stories and can even be used for plays such as Romeo and Juliet.

3. The Percy Jackson Series
Written for middle school, this is a great way to teach mythology. The entire series has pieces from different myths and stories and is a fun way to bring a tale to the modern age. It’s engaging for the reader and a great way for students who may not enjoy reading or have trouble reading to become more involved in the class. It’s also an interesting way to involve students who have learning disabilities with characters they can relate to. This goes well with any story or play written in Ancient Greek times. The Odyssey is an excellent pairing to go with this series due to the many quests the heroes go on to reach their ultimate goal.

4. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
The web series takes a new, more modern spin on Pride and Prejudice. It’s fun for many students and very relatable for students about to head to college. The creators of the show, Pemberley Digital, have also created series based on Jane Austen’s Emma and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It’s a creative way to look at these pieces and to have a good laugh.