Don Quixote Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''Don Quixote'' is inarguably one of the most influential works of world literature, but it can be hard for some students to appreciate. These project ideas will give students a chance to explore ''Don Quixote'' in greater depth.

Don Quixote

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de La Mancha, often simply referred to as Don Quixote, is an early 17th-century novel by Miguel de Cervantes. Considered by many to be the first modern novel and generally acknowledged as the national novel of Spain, it's a story that's had limitless impact on world literature. The following project ideas are designed to be adaptable for various grade and experience levels.

Don Quixote Project Ideas

Dramatize A Scene

Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a section of Don Quixote, and ask them to turn it into a one-act play. Students will write scripts, assign parts, rehearse, and ultimately perform their scene for the class. For this performance, consider one of the following options:

  • Live actors: Students will assign parts and act out the characters, events and dialogue within their section of Don Quixote. You can let them do this in their street clothes, or if time allows ask them to make basic props and costumes (in the simplest terms, these could be even made out of paper). If you have more time and resources at your disposal, you may ask students to make more elaborate costumes and props.
  • Marionettes: Marionettes (marionetas) have been a part of Spanish folk culture for a long time. Using sturdy paper and thin rods or string, you can ask students to make simple marionettes/puppets. Let students see images of traditional Spanish marionettes for references. Students will make basic scenery out of paper as well for a puppet-show performance of their scene of Don Quixote.

Heir of Quixano

This is an individual creative writing project. After having read Don Quixote, students will analyze the novel and briefly write about the ways that Cervantes uses his titular character to satirize Spanish culture and history. Students will then take this idea and apply it to modern times, in a short story called The Heir of Quixano. In this story, students will create a protagonist who has become obsessed with something in the modern popular culture of their society. For example, while Quixano was obsessed with medieval chivalry tales, the heir of Quixano could be obsessed with modern romance novels, vampire fiction, or superhero movies. Students will then craft a narrative in which their protagonist embarks on a quest to live out the ideals of this genre, using this to satirize modern society.

When students are done with their writing, consider expanding this project with one of the following:

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