Do Make a Scene: Using narrative techniques to develop a scene in Anthem by Ayn Rand (Day 3)

3 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use narrative techniques such as dialogue to develop characters and experiences in a scene about Equality in Anthem.

Big Idea

Lights, Camera, Action: Students write, direct, and act out a scene from Anthem by Ayn Rand

Do Now: Reading Anthem

20 minutes

For the first 15 minutes, I am giving my students time to read Anthem. Today, they should read chapters 3, 4, and 5. If they have already read those chapters online, they can always read ahead. I am giving them this time in class because their at-home reading is primarily online on Curriculet. I know that some students prefer to read a hard copy, so this is my way of accommodating them. This also prepares them to complete the quizzes and questions on Curriculet that will help me to determine whether they are mastering Common Core Reading standards.

Building Knowledge: Model of a Scene

10 minutes

Today my students will be writing, directing, and acting out their own scene. The scene will be one that is missing from Anthem and will reveal beilefs, values, and experiences of the characters (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3.b). In chapter one, Equality finds out from the Council that his job is a Street Sweeper. I want my students to develop this scene more fully (since they will have read up to chapter 5 of the book). In other words, knowing what they now know about Equality,  how might he have responded (or not) to the Council?

Before having my students write their scene, I will show them a model of a short scene from the Write Source. As we read this script (), we will make the following observations:

1) the setting is identified at the beginning of the scene

2) the characters' names are in all caps with a colon

3) the speaking parts are indented after the colon

4) stage directions are written in italics and can help show what the characters are doing, facial expressions, position on stage, etc.


After these observations, I will ask students to tell me what the script reveals about each of the characters. This is important because I want my students to see that all of these elements of the script help develop the characters and reveal aspects of their personalities, beliefs, values, and thoughts.

Application: Writing the Scene

30 minutes

I will give my students 20 minutes to work in groups on writing scenes that develop the conflicts, experiences and personalities of the characters (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3.b). These scenes will be acted out at the end of this time, so I will remind my students that their scenes should reflect the interactions between Equality and the Council and should include approximately 10 lines of dialogue with stage directions and setting (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4). In this clip, I narrate as students work diligently on their scene. Here's a another sample of my students crafting their dialogue for their scene. You will notice that I had students work on their scripts on large paper. I did this because I thought it would be easier for them to read their parts on larger paper when acting them out.

Closure: Acting Out and Discussing

15 minutes

To close out the lesson, each group will have an opportunity to act out their scenes.  Their speech during the scene should be adapted to reflect how equality would have spoken in the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3).

After each group presents their scene, students will have an opportunity to ask questions or make a comment about how the group chose to portray Equality or the Council. I will also encourage them to compare the scenes of different groups and discuss what the scenes reveal about the characters.

We are closing out the lesson this way because the whole point of the lesson was to develop the characters through writing a scene, and I want students to have an opportunity to discuss how each group developed their characters and why they chose to have Equality/the Council behave/speak in certain ways (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.c).

Clip 1  and clip 2 show groups of students acting out their scripts.

Lesson Image Attribution

Károly Lotz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons