Mentor Text: Writing with Satire

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SWBAT use the literary devices of satire to strengthen their narrative/opinion writing.

Big Idea

How do students use mentor text to develop a writing style?

Introducing the Mentor Text

20 minutes

Developing reading and writing connections is the purpose of using mentor texts.  I have found that explicit instruction on the use of literary devices increases the quality of student writing for all types of purposes (narrative, expository, and opinion). This lesson focuses on the literary device of satire. Satire is an artistic way to express sarcasm and irony, and it's well-suited to both narrative and opinion writing.  It is a complex form of writing with parodic overtones.  Students learn that satire uses humor to entertain readers.  It ridicules human errors and weaknesses.

I began this lesson by reading a mentor text that demonstrates the author's satiric style.  The mentor book is called How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson.  After reading this story aloud, I ask students what they notice about the author's style.  Most of my students are familiar with sarcasm because they often discuss their teenage siblings' attitudes, and I take that as opportunities to discuss sarcasm.

After students have opportunity to discuss their reactions to the book, I present my Mentor Text on Satire Flip Chart. This flip chart presents the definition of satire and its components and characteristics.  For my students it is a review of some literary devices such as hyperbole and fantasy.  We also discuss a few examples of sarcasm, including wit, irony, understatement, sarcasm, and hyperbole.  We also discuss the difference between two types of satire:  Horatian and Juvenalian.

At the end of the flip chart presentation, we take a quick quiz to check student understanding.  The questions are displayed on a page of the flip chart, and the answers revealed later on the following page.

Developing Writing Skills

20 minutes

I model writing that incorporates satire so students can see another concrete example and get a model for using the graphic organizer correctly.  I use a Satire Writing Graphic Organizer to plot my sample narrative. We decide to write about a good friend, but with non-examples of a good friend.  We discuss how a satire is the opposite of the truth because we are mocking or making fun of the situation. For example, My best friend is so glad to see me that he always hides when I come over. I show students how to plot it on the organizer to keep their writing on target.  After reviewing the organizer, we discuss the final writing.  After the discussion, I inform students that they will create their own writing, similar to the one I modeled, but on a topic of their choosing.

I pair students to discuss creating their own satiric writing.  I promote a discussion between partners about the components, characteristics, and examples of satire prior to writing.  Planning is an important first step of writing.  So, students create an outline of what they plan to write using a Satire Writing Graphic Organizer.

Once students develop a plan, they begin to create their satiric writing in the form of a book.  I give them construction paper so that they may create a satiric book that imitates the mentor text show in the introduction of this lesson:  How to Lose All Your Friends.

As I walked around, students created satiric writing in books that follow the sequence and planning of their graphic organizers: Cover page and Title, First page, second page, third page.

Sharing our Writing

20 minutes

Common Core ELA ties writing, reading, speaking, and listening all together.  I encourage students to show and tell their writing to the class.  Sharing conceptual knowledge is both an art and science.  Communication skills have to be developed by practice and building oral language skills.  My students shared the information learned from their satirical writing.