"The Lady of Shalott" Day Two

3 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT analyze and articulate the connection between theme and technique in "The Lady of Shalott" through writing and collaborative discussion.

Big Idea

"Every theory is a self-fulfilling prophecy that orders experience into the framework it provides." Ruth Hubbard

Lesson Overview and Note to Teachers

My classes are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day.  Last class, students read the poem independently, answered text-dependent questions, and wrote reader responses to the poem (Student Work: Lady of Shalott - Day One).  

The lesson below outlines Day Two of activities on "The Lady of Shalott." Students engage in a warm-up to review the text, begin a collaborative discussion to explore how Tennyson uses literary techniques to convey the theme, and create a ticket out to articulate remaining questions and observations on the poem.

Warm-Up & Debriefing

45 minutes

I begin the lesson by explaining that today we are revisiting "The Lady of Shalott." Since I have not seen students for a few days, I give them a review of the poem by playing a 14-minute reenactment of the poem by WAGScreen (2012).

Next, I explain to students that they will engage in a warm-up to summarize the poem.  However, instead of completing a bulleted summary as we usually do, I would like to give students different options.  I state that today's warm-up provides writing, visual, and kinesthetic options for summarizing, options students can use in college to help them outline what they know about complex texts when studying.  Please view the video in this section to find out (1) how I use summaries in my classroom; (2) about the kinds of summaries you can find in my lessons on this site; and (3) why I change the type of summaries I use in today's lesson.

Students work in partnerships or groups of three to create a summary of the poem (Warm-Up: "Lady of Shalott" Summary). This takes longer than I think it will, but the student products are worth it.  Each group presents its product. Some students present a traditional timeline, a picture timeline, and a top 5 things to know about the poem (Student Work: Warm-Up - Timelines and Top 5).  One group presents a series of pictures (Student Work: Warm-Up - Pictures). 


Collaborative Discussion

50 minutes

In this section of the lesson, students engage in small-group discussion on the last four of the five text-dependent questions (Text-Dependent Questions: Lady of Shalott - Day One) they completed last class from The Language of Literature (McDougal Littell, 2003) and questions I developed for discussion based upon student reader responses (Student Work: Lady of Shalott Reader Response - Day One) and my goal for students to explore the connection between theme and technique in a literary work (Assignment: "The Lady of Shalott" Collaborative Discussion Activity).  

In small groups they have used throughout the year, students begin small-group discussion of the poem, using a list of 10 questions and a graphic organizer I created for each group to record its answers (Student Work: Collaborative Discussion).  This activity takes much longer than I anticipate. However, students are engaged in authentic discussion.  I circulate during the discussion and talk to students about their observations, which include:

  • Why doesn't the Lady of Shalott have another choice than suicide when the mirror cracks?
  • If the ballad were told from her point of view, we might get the back story on the curse.
  • Tennyson uses pathos, an emotional appeal, to impact the reader by telling the story from a third person point of view so that readers feel the emotion of an observer in Shalott.

We run out of time; we will finish and debrief next class; however, I have included the completed questions for your reference.

Paper Towel Ticket Out

5 minutes

Since we are running out of time, I decide to have students complete a Paper Towel Ticket Out (PTTO).  I ask them to list three questions and/or observations they still have about the text.  Some questions relate to what the curse on the Lady of Shalott may be, how Lancelot is significant to the Lady of Shalott, and why the Lady of Shalott did not try to overcome the curse (Student Work: Paper Towel Ticket Out). I will use student feedback to create any additional topics to be addressed next class.