Social Context of A Doll's House

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Teacher: Mr. Alford                                                                           
Subject: English 10 G&T
Date: 10/3/2008


Topic or Unit of Study: A Doll’s House


Our study of A Doll’s House is part of a larger unit focused on the sociological approach to literary criticism. In this web quest activity students will explore the sociological, historical and cultural context in which the play was written. Prior to this activity students have read acts one and two of the play and they will finish it independently while we work on the web quest in class. This web quest will also help prepare them for the culminating activity of the unit where they will research a social topic and compose a letter to the editor which will be mailed to an actual publication of their choosing.


Maryland Core Learning Goal:

1.3.2-   The student will interpret a work by using a critical approach (e.g., reader response, historical, cultural, biographical, and structural) that is supported with textual references.

2.1.4    The student will compose persuasive texts that support, modify, or refute a position and include effective rhetorical strategies.

2.3.2    The student will use various information retrieval sources (traditional and electronic) to obtain information on a self-selected and/or given topic. Electronic sources include automated catalogs, CD ROM products, and on-line services like Internet, World Wide Web, and others.


BCPS Grade Ten G&T English Indicators
#1-       Analyze world literature and examine the cultural context in which it was written to determine the diversity of world cultures and similarities of the human condition.
#2-       Use a variety of formalized critical approaches including Formalistic, historical/biographical, psychological, philosophical, and archetypal in order to support a literary analysis of a work of world literature.
#7        Identify points of view in narratives to determine how they shape the stories and compose a narrative incorporating an appropriate point of view.


Summative Assessment of Indicator:
The students will compose a letter to the editor from the point of view of the character they have researched and developed. This letter will address how the character feels about Ibsen’s play The Doll’s House, and will assess their understanding of both the play and the social, historical and cultural context in which it was written. Students will also be assessed on their proper use of business letter format.


Proposed # of days for Instruction: 5

Lesson Objective(s):

By participating in a web quest students will learn how the social, historical and cultural context of a work affects its overall meaning of a work in order to compose a persuasive letter addressing A Doll’s House from the point of view of a Victorian character.


Lesson Activities and Instructional Strategies:


Mind Jog:
Presented on a PowerPoint slide
What factors do you feel have the most influence on people’s opinions and attitudes? Rank the following factors on a scale of one to five with five being the most influential.
Ø      Family
Ø      Peers
Ø      Income
Ø      Occupation
Ø      Religion
Ø      Gender


“When the play A Doll’s House was first performed throughout Europe it was a very controversial play. It was banned in some places and Ibsen was even forced to rewrite the ending in order to get it performed in Germany. Today you will begin a web quest activity in which you will explore the Victorian period and discover why the play was considered so controversial. In your research you will learn about various aspect of the society and you will speculate on how they influenced people of that time period.”


The teacher will introduce the class to the web quest and explain how it works and the process they will follow.
1.      Students work in self-selected groups of 3-4 students
2.      Each group member selects a different generic character to research.
3.      Students research chosen character by following links provided in the web quests.
4.      Students record the results of their research on the “Developing Character Profile” worksheet.
5.      After students complete their research, group members will share their profiles and make suggestions for refining each other’s work.
6.      Working together, each group will compile a list of list of characters and events from the play that deviate from the norms of Victorian society.
7.      Students will visit links to sites on writing letters to the editor and business letter format.
8.      Students will individually compose a letter to the editor for an imaginary Victorian paper from the point of view of the characters they researched. In this letter they will comment on the play.
9.      Groups members will proof read each other’s letters and make revisions.
Towards the end of the class period the teacher will redirect the students’ attention away from the web quest to a brief class discussion on what they have found.
Ø      What is the most interesting thing you have learned about your chosen character?
Ø      How does this fact influence the character in general?
Ø      Based on your knowledge of the play and your character, would your character approve of the play?
Ø      Do the characters in the play conform to Victorian society norms?



Formative Assessment:
Students will be assessed throughout this activity based on their performance in group work, class discussion and their completion of the “Developing a Character Profile” worksheet.

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