OER Administrator
English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Juvenal
  • Satire
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Identifying Concrete Details & Examples

    Identifying Concrete Details & Examples


    Students will identify entertaining or harsh examples Juvenal uses to criticize parenting skills. Then they will discuss strong concrete details found in Juvenal’s text.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Review the annotation for Juvenal’s “Try Setting a Good Example” section of “Satire XIV: Bad Parenting” prior to the lesson for your own background knowledge.

    Specific Examples

    • To begin this lesson, it’s helpful to remind students that awareness of the author’s intent is key to understanding the author’s method. This is a critical approach that is not only useful here, but in general studies as well.
    • As students share their homework with a partner, circulate around the room to answer questions and monitor their grasp of Juvenal.
    • As you circulate, talk to students about the specific examples Juvenal uses to support his thinking and why they thought certain ones were interesting.
    • Students who are more able can read some of the next satire “Your Children Will Outdo You,” lines 189–255.
      • ✓ What’s different from the previous satire?
      • ✓ What’s similar?
    • Students who struggled with the assignment might work in a small group with the teacher, reading the assignment aloud again.
    • Students might also read the background information on Juvenal in More to Explore to present briefly to the class.


    With a partner, talk about your homework, specifically sharing your answers to the questions posed.

    • What exactly is Juvenal criticizing?
    • Are there any lines that summarize his point?
    • What specific examples does he give to prove his point?

    Once you finish discussing your answers, decide on the specific example that you found to be most interesting. Share it with the rest of the class.

    Juvenalian Examples

    • The students’ choices serve as a kind of textbook for the whole class to close-read Juvenal.
    • As the students read the pull quotes and talk about the questions, you can introduce the term hyperbole. Hyperbole is use of exaggeration, often to create humor or irony.
      • ✓ Where does Juvenal seem to be exaggerating?
      • SWD: Be sure students with disabilities understand the meaning of hyperbole. Consider providing examples from other texts.
    • When you get to the questions about harshness, you can introduce the term invective (vehement and railing sentiment or expression) and ask whether there are any examples that really are a personal attack.
      • SWD: Be sure that students understand the meaning of all these questions. Provide sentence frames to support them in answering the questions if you think it is necessary.
      • ELL: In defining words, check in with the ELLs to be sure you define words they don’t understand (vehement, railing, sentiment), even if native speakers might understand them.

    Work Time

    With your classmates, take a look at the examples everyone has selected. As you take turns reading your examples aloud and talking about them, take notes and think about the following questions.

    • Which examples are the most entertaining? How do concrete details play a part?
    • Which are the harshest?
    • Are there any that are disturbing or that go too far?
    • Why make criticisms this way, in a satirical format?

    Open Notebook

    Concrete Details

    • Allow students to select their own groups.
    • * * SWD: Keep a special eye on any students with disabilities that you think might have trouble negotiating group work. Be there to support them as they strive to be an active participant in their group.
      • Circulate to see what kinds of differentiation each group needs.
        • ✓ For instance, struggling groups might need you to sit with them for a minute as they pull out concrete details, like “peel truffles.”
        • ✓ Stronger groups might come up with their own contemporary concrete details for a parallel situation—what gourmet foods would Juvenal describe today? They can even satirize modern obsession with fancy dining, cooking, and ingredients.
        • ELL: Observe what exactly it is that is hindering some ELLs’ participation or making it difficult for them to engage with the activity successfully. If you find that there are small modifications you have to make before moving on to the next group, be sure to introduce the modification so as to ensure full participation.
      • During the Whole Group Share, help students to see the pleasure in some of the details—the entertainment value of them.
      • Pave the way for the homework by hinting at the harshness of the language.
        • ELL: Be sure that ELLs feel encouraged to share. Some students will prefer to stay quiet, but it is important for them to speak out loud in a group.
        • SWD: Before students with disabilities participate in sharing with the whole group, consider having a quick conference with them to make sure they are prepared. This will give them confidence to participate in the larger setting.

    Work Time

    In groups of three, look at lines 6–14 of “Try Setting a Good Example” (“Nor can his relatives expect” to “the highest standard of cuisine.”) and discuss these questions.

    • What are the concrete details that make this passage come alive?
    • How do they help you believe Juvenal knows what he’s talking about?

    Then, discuss these questions with your classmates.

    • What was your favorite concrete detail that Juvenal shared?
    • On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly do you think he felt about how parents deal with their kids?
    • Do you know any adults as angry as Juvenal about this topic?

    Unit Accomplishments and Guiding Questions

    • Make sure students are clear about the requirements of the unit.
    • Let students know that they will have opportunities to respond to the Guiding Questions in upcoming lessons.


    Review the Unit Accomplishments and ask your teacher any questions you have about them:

    • Research an aspect of modern life that you would like to lampoon.
    • Read from satirists across history to absorb the style and forms of humor and institutions satirized.
    • Write your own satire, drawing on techniques of famous satirists to criticize your target.

    Then review the unit’s Guiding Questions:

    • What is satire, and when is it too harsh?
    • How can humor and irony make you more persuasive?
    • What do you think is funny? How far would you go to satirize it?
    • Who gets more reaction—satirists or protesters?


    • Review the definition of invective with students: vehement and railing sentiment or expression.
      • ELL: Before sending them off with the homework, check that students fully understand what is expected of them.


    Write two paragraphs answering the following question.

    • What lines in Juvenal come the closest to invective? Explain your thinking, paying special attention to some of his word choices.

    Open Notebook