The Ransom of Red Chief - Comparing the Film and the Short Story

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SWBAT identify and label elements of irony in the story; SWBAT evaluate director's and actors' choices, exclusions and inclusions in a film version of the story.

Big Idea

How do director/actor choices change stories?

Listening to/Reading Along with the Recording of "The Ransom of Red Chief"

20 minutes

The textbook that we use in our county is the McDougall-Littel "Language of Literature."  It has a ton of resources in it, but the one resource that I use fairly often is the collection of CD's with the stories recorded on them.  While it is important for students to be able to read independently and to develop their oral reading skills, they also benefit from hearing really good readers read with expression.  

In order to do this story justice, it should be read with good pacing and proper emphasis.  The recording is great, and the students can better "get" the irony while reading along.

In addition to the quality of the reader's rendering of the story, it is also faster to use the recording than it is for students to read it aloud.  While this may not always matter; and, no, I don't think faster is necessarily better, it did help us keep the lesson moving.

This is a nice audio version done by Voice of America.  It is from YouTube.

Finding Examples of Verbal and Situational Irony in the Story

30 minutes

Since we had reviewed irony the day before, and I had checked their exit slips for understanding, I really expected my students to complete the chart, in partners, in about 15 minutes.  Boy, was I wrong.  The kids had a little trouble with situational irony, but it was verbal irony that was KILLING us.

My student really worked themselves into a lather confusing verbal irony with situational, and vice versa.  They overthought the process until they got themselves completely confused.  There was a sea of hands in the air, as students just read out lines from the story and asked me, "Is that verbal irony?"  At a certain point, it occurred to me that I should have kept it simple and just taught the situational irony (after all, there is no rule to say that the students have to learn irony this way.)  But, you know how it is.  It's a little hard to turn the boat around when it has already hit the iceberg.

So this is how I handled it.  I told the students that verbal irony has to be something that someone says.  I told them to find quotes and check with their partners and to focus on trying to do their best.  I reminded them that this is process work (meaning, it is not a big grade) and that we are all learning something new.  And then I cut them off and told them that we would do the other side of the sheet (dealing with book/movie comparison) tomorrow.