Character Analysis: Examining familial conflict in Antigone Scene 2 and 3 (2 of 2)

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SWBAT analyze the conflict and characters in Antigone by asking provocative questions to student actors.

Big Idea

Can questions bring students to a deeper analytical understanding?

Warm Up

10 minutes

As students enter class, this prompt Scene 2 and 3 Warm Up will project on the Smart Board.  I ask this prompt because it applies to the overall theme of Antigone.  Students will write a response for three minutes.  When time is up, I will ask for volunteers to read their response and we will discuss.  Rather than just ask students to "share" their response, I ask students to read what they wrote.  Students need to write for a variety of reasons and over extended time frames (W.9-10.10).  Part of learning to write, students need to hear their own writing voice.  When I ask students to read their response rather than just summarize and share, they begin to hear their rhythm, sentence structure and word choice.  

Writing provocative questions

15 minutes

Now that students are finished reading Scene 2 and 3 of Antigone, I want them to use textual evidence to examine two of the characters, Creon and Haemon.  In Scene 3, Creon and Haemon both deliver long speeches that contrast with each other.  I will choose two students who I know will enjoy acting and who have been really engaged during our study of Antigone.  Those two students will have fifteen minutes to reread the scene together, in the hallway.  I will explain that they are preparing to be Creon and Haemon and they need to know them extremely well.  They will be answering questions based on the text and based on their inferences about the characters.  

The rest of the class has fifteen minutes to prepare to be provocateurs and write six, excellent, thought provoking questions.  They will write these questions at their tables, in groups of three or four.  I will explain the rules for their questions:

1.  Your question can't be answered with a yes or no. It should examine one of the complex concepts/ideas from the play (W.9-10.2a). 

2.  Your role as a provocateur is to provoke the characters.  Dig deep into their characters.

3.  Analyze the content of Antigone and use text evidence to base your questions (W.9-10.2b) (RL.9-10.1).  

4.  Use academic and appropriate language in your questions (W. 9-10.9)

While students are writing their questions, I will walk around and help assure they follow all the criteria.  This video of students developing questions is an example. 

Provoke and respond

15 minutes

Now comes the fun part!  Our student actors representing Creon and Haemon will come to the front of the room and have a seat.  I'll explain that our goal in this lesson is to dig deeper into our characters and further understand their motivation as well as continue to gather evidence to support who the Tragic Hero is (RL.9-10.4, RL.9-10.1).  

Students will take turns asking questions to Creon and Haemon and the actors will respond as the characters.  One of my favorite moments as a teacher is when I get to observe awesome learning happening. Hopefully, this is one of those moments.  I only plan on adding to the discussion if one of the actors answers a question that is totally off base (SL.9-10.1c, SL.9-10.1d). 

These videos, provacateur and provacateur part 2, demonstrate this lesson.  

Closure-What questions do you still have?

5 minutes

To wrap up our lesson, students will reflect and consider any questions they still have about either of the characters.  Students will write those questions down and turn them in.  I want students to do this so that I can judge their understanding of the character and the topics of the play.