Reflection: Complex Tasks The Ransom of Red Chief - Comparing the Film and the Short Story - Section 2: Finding Examples of Verbal and Situational Irony in the Story


Way back in my graduate school days, I had a great class about educational theory. One of the theorists that we studied was Lev Vygotsky.  One of his theories was focused on the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which refers to amount of development a student can accomplish with good instructional support.  The ZPD (and this is a gross simplification) is kind of like a distance calculation that a teacher makes "How far can I take this kid, if I consider where he is now?"

The problem with this lesson, and this is not the first time I have ever done this, is that I underestimated how much teaching and support I would need to do in order for students to be able to master the irony content.  I assumed that their prior knowledge was greater than it was, and I didn't crosscheck my assumptions, really.  The fact of the matter is that very few middle school students are going to stop a teacher and say, "Uh, I have no idea what you are talking about.  When you said IRONY, I thought you said IRONING, so I raised my hand because I know what that is."

Changing course during a lesson that you are doing with 28 kids is almost impossible, because you don't want to open the door for surrender, just because something is hard.

Note in the agenda: Revise irony plan.

  Oh, the irony!
  Complex Tasks: Oh, the irony!
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The Ransom of Red Chief - Comparing the Film and the Short Story

Unit 7: Short Stories, Plays, and Elements of Fiction
Lesson 7 of 8

Objective: 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?

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