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

    An Age-Old Target Of Satire

    An Age-Old Target Of Satire


    In this lesson, students will continue to enjoy examining an age-old target of satire. Students also start to plan a class presentation.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Your Thinking About Satire

    • Today’s lesson is generally a continuation of Lesson 15, with the beginnings of work on the presentation for the class.
    • Having researched their own examples of satire for homework, students are likely to be invested in their projects and energized today.
    • The class is working independently in small groups during Lessons 15 – 17. But every once in awhile, it’s helpful to pull back to the large group to think in a big way about the topic, simultaneously reminding students of the purpose of the project and unit.
    • You won’t need to let students talk for more than 5 or 10 minutes; that will be plenty to return them to the true north of the unit.


    Complete a Quick Write.

    • How has your thinking about satire changed after your work in Lesson 15?
    • How has your thinking about your target of satire changed?

    Open Notebook

    Share your thinking with your classmates. While it’s great to work in small groups, sometimes there’s a benefit to sharing big-picture thinking with the whole class to stimulate others’ thinking and push your own forward, too.

    Targets of Satire Project

    • As you did in Lesson 15, you can push the students to some of the questions raised as you walk around the room. You can also ask them what examples they might use for their presentation.
    • You’re in the middle of the work for the project, so it can help students out to remind them of the timeline; that in Lesson 18, they’ll make their presentations.
    • In this task, students are getting a baseline understanding. They’ll move from here to making connections and comparing and contrasting. They should really have a pretty solid understanding now of how their target group has been dealt with satirically.

    Work Time

    Although the steps for today are presented as they are for other lessons, in a linear way, you don’t have to go in order. You might begin thinking, for instance, about creating your presentation to start with, and move back to this task.

    How much viewing and reading you have to do today depends on what you accomplished in the previous lesson. But even if you made your way through all the texts, there will probably be some you want to revisit.

    You’ll probably want to begin by discussing the homework and the satires you found.

    • Which ones did you enjoy?
    • How did they compare with the satires on your target group that you’ve already seen?

    Targets of Satire Comparison

    • As you did in Lesson 15, check for understanding where you can. When a group has finished a text or movie clip, listen for their discussion on what was satirized, and redirect them if they’re off base.
    • You can also look at their notes. That will give you a sense of both how quickly they’re working and also whether their interpretations are strong.
    • In this task, they’re building on their understanding of the texts and making comparisons. This level of thinking, synthesis, is difficult, and they’ll need encouragement.
      • ELL: Allow students to bring up examples of satires from other countries.

    Work Time

    As you move through your texts and videos, you’ll want to think about what you are gathering on how this target group has been dealt with through the years. Take notes and discuss with your group as you work.

    • How do the various satires compare with one another? What, in particular, is commonly satirized about your topic? Are there universal qualities?
    • Where on the satirical tone scale would you put each—more Horatian or Juvenalian? Can you make any generalizations about the level of harshness of satire for your target?
    • What lines can you excerpt from the texts or videos for your presentation?

    Open Notebook

    Satirical Strategies

    • As was true in Lesson 15, you can direct them to specific strategies if they don’t detect them on their own. For example, Romeo and Juliet uses rhyming couplets in its parody of love poetry; The Misanthrope also uses rhyming couplets to establish rhythm and a sharper tone; “The Waltz” utilizes stream-of-consciousness, (intentional) run-on sentences, and juxtaposition; and all The Canterbury Tales selections use stock characters.
    • Today, though, each group is moving toward its presentation, so they should begin to prioritize what strategies are most important or interesting.

    Work Time

    Work with your group to study the satirical strategies that are used in each of your works.

    • What strategies can you find? And which are most important? Identify just two or three per work, and be sure you have text support for each.
    • How do they contribute to tone?

    Open Notebook

    Group Presentation Creation

    • The groups will likely not get very far in this task unless they work on the presentation in between considering some of the texts. But they should at least begin to do so, so that they can get some significant work done for homework.
    • The enrichment questions in the Targets of Satire Project description might be given to more adept readers, who can do a little research in addition to other assigned work to consider how cultural conditions can affect how target groups are satirized.
    • Struggling groups might focus mainly on video sources and contemporary writing.
      • SWD: You may allow some students to work on sources that are easier to understand.

    Work Time

    The final part of the Targets of Satire Project is the group presentation.

    • Go back through your notes and consider what you’re saying, in a big picture way, about your target group and how satirists through the centuries generally have handled it.
    • Begin to create your presentation, which you’ll give to the class in Lesson 18. Make sure your presentation addresses the questions and meets the requirements described in the Targets of Satire Project.

    Try to set a realistic timetable for what you hope to accomplish when. You have the rest of class today, Lesson 17, and homework time after both lessons to prepare.


    • Make sure group members know what they need to do before the next lesson.


    Consider how far along your group is with the Targets of Satire Project.

    • Discuss with your group who will work on what before the next lesson.

    Group Presentation Creation

    • Encourage students to continue working on their presentations for homework.


    Your group will present its findings during Lesson 18.

    • Based on what you decided with your group members, continue working on your presentations.