Monday, January 21, 2013

Teaching Irony in the Secondary English Classroom

I have been working on creating a unit or lesson on irony and I thought I would share it with you guys!

I first learned about irony from the movie Reality Bites: 

It is still one of my favorite movies, but the quote from this movie is:
Lelaina: I mean, can you define irony?
Troy: Its when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.
Lelaina: My God, where were you when I needed you today?

I plan to start my introduction to irony by giving that exact definition!

I recently created an "Irony" board on Pinterest and plan to use it by asking my furry little friends to explain why the examples given are ironic.

Check it out below or click on it to go to the board on Pinterest.

I then plan to show the following music video and ask students to explain what makes it ironic:
Once I feel like they grasp the concept I plan to have them read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson 
  Reading The Story-Ideas 
  1. Box each paragraph and underline key words/ideas in each
  2. Highlight words that you do not know or recognize
  3. At the end of each paragraph write a short summary (imagine you only have 50 cents and each letter costs you a penny)
  4. Circle and Identify:
    • Setting
    • Characters
    • Problems
    • Solutions
  5. Look for, circle, and label examples of:
    • Irony
    • Foreshadowing
    • Tone (Look for proof of friendly as well as sinister)
    • Figurative Language
    • Symbolism
  6. After reading the story give a summary of the entire story
  7. What makes this short story a perfect example of irony?
I have not figured out yet the best way to quiz the kids on this concept. Maybe give them some examples and ask them to state if they are ironic or not? Anyone out there have any ideas they would like to share? :)


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  2. Love the irony lessons! One way I plan to assess my students is to have them create their own examples of irony. I am also going to have students identify irony in the novels they are reading, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and Tangerine by Edward Bloor. Would enjoy hearing more ideas too.