Buck Institute for Education

Cyrano’s Funk

Author: Jenny Pieratt

What will my students be doing?

In Cyrano's Funk, students will feel like the characters and themes from this over 100 year old classic piece of literature are playing out on their Facebook page today.

What's Included:

  • Project Overview
  • 8 Essential Elements of PBL
  • Sequence of the Project
  • Step-By-Step Teaching Guide
  • Student Handouts
  • Teacher Materials

Current Version: January 10, 2018

It is no secret that teaching literary canons in an ever-changing and technologically advanced world is challenging. Competing with roller coaster designs in a physics class or robotics in an engineering course across the hall makes the pages of a dense novel seem unmanageable for students. However, Project Based Learning offers a viable solution for literature teachers, by allowing them to teach a novel in the context of an authentic project.

Cyrano’s Funk focuses on the story of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Although it is over 100 years old, students in this project will feel like the characters and themes from this classic piece of literature are playing out on their Facebook page today. Students become engaged and motivated by making personal connections to the play by developing a forum through social media to share and exchange their knowledge and ideas.

During the project students complete assignments which parallel character traits and literary themes in the play to their favorite music. They share these connections through social media by designing a Facebook page for one of the characters in the play and assembling a soundtrack for the play consisting of these “paralleled” songs. The project culminates when student teams create either a live performance, video, or written product that is shared with an audience at a “red carpet” event.

Project Notes

  • Subjects: ELA
  • Grade Level: 9th, 10th
  • Common Core Aligned
  • Time Required: 15-30 Hours
  • CC BY

Sponsored By


Cyrano’s Funk was inspired by my passion for literature and sincere desire to engage my students. I love this story and wanted to change my kids’ perceptions about classic literature. I figured if I could find a way to make them see that the emotions of these characters were similar to their own as teenagers, and then find a medium in which they could make these connections, I could hook them! I have been teaching for nine years and this is the only lesson that I repeat every year (with a twist of course) because my kids come back years later and remind me how much they loved Cyrano, as if he was a friend. Giving him a little “funk” seemed like a natural connection to their interests and also provided a window for me to see into their world.

Student Work

Books & CD Booklets
Look inside the covers of student adaptations and compilations. visit »

Project Documents

Project Author

Jenny is currently a 10th grade, Humanities Teacher at High Tech High North County. She has worked there for five years and was one of the founding staff members.  Prior to her time at HTHNC,  Jenny taught middle school social science and language arts for four years.

Jenny was born and raised in San Diego, and graduated from Helix High School in 1999. She went on to San Diego State University to get her BA in Political Science and minored in Sociology. While earning her Bachelors Degree, she spent a summer studying in Guadalajara, Mexico where she studied Spanish and international relations. The following winter, she attended Oxford University in England, where she continued her studies in comparative government. Her senior year in college was spent in Washington D.C. where she interned through The Women’s Leadership Program. Following graduation at SDSU, she went on to receive her Teaching Credential and Masters Degree in Cross-Cultural Education and and then her PhD in Education from Claremont Graduate University.