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

    Illustrating & Describing A Problem

    Illustrating & Describing A Problem


    Students write a description of a parenting problem Juvenal would be unhappy about today and come up with three concrete examples that illustrate the problem. Then the whole class shares and comments on the examples.


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


    • A fun way to refresh everyone’s memory of the homework is to give them 2 minutes to list as many specifics as possible from their reading of Juvenal. Make it competitive—see who can list the most. The list will be a warm-up/focus activity and helpful with the later discussion.
    • Since students have had to answer the questions for their homework, you can call on just about any student, even the quieter ones, to share. They’ll have something to say.
    • The two examples most students will have written about are the father who enjoys others’ pain and the daughter who has observed her mother’s affairs.
    • Introduce the term Juvenalian satire here, explaining that it refers to the harshest form of satire.
      • ELL: Since the academic vocabulary in this episode is substantial, consider going through and asking questions to be sure that all students have understood the meaning. Repeat the new words to practice pronunciation. Encourage students to use the academic vocabulary in their own sentences as a way to apply the academic vocabulary as well as responding to the questions.
    • This is a great moment to reintroduce the term tone. As seniors, they will have heard it and used the term in the past, but it’s especially relevant in distinguishing between different satires.
    • This would be a good time to ask students if they can think of any contemporary parallels. Again, you can circle back to tone:
      • ✓ Which example of contemporary satire has the harshest tone?
      • ✓ How does the audience receive that tone?


    For homework, you came up with some of Juvenal’s harshest examples of how parents set a bad example for their children. Share with the class the examples of invective you wrote about.

    The harshest form of satire is sometimes referred to as Juvenalian satire .

    • Why do you think this is so?
    • How is tone relevant in distinguishing between different satires?

    A Current Parenting Problem

    • If students seem a little stumped, you could brainstorm together for a couple of minutes. Some possibilities include: helicopter parents (parents who pay extremely close attention to their children—they “hover” overhead); parents who work so much they are never home; parents who say one thing and do something else.
      • ELL: Different cultures may have different views about a topic like this. If students have different or controversial insights, be sure to allow for extra time so that they can explain further. It is much easier to understand views when we understand the culture a little better.
    • You might differentiate here according to interests. Most students can simply make a bulleted list, but if any of them are artists, they can cartoon this, or students interested in theater could write a short dialogue or improvise in front of the class.
      • SWD: Consider allowing students with disabilities whose writing ability is below proficiency level to work with a more advanced writer. Depending on the writing ability of the student with disabilities, a group of three might be more appropriate.
    • Students who are more concrete or linear might have trouble here, so you can jog their imaginations by asking them to think of real-life examples that correspond to their focus.
    • Pick out one pair’s creations to demonstrate annotating for Juvenalian qualities and concrete details.
    • As students respond to each other’s creations, you might help out students who are struggling readers in finding, again, concrete details and Juvenalian qualities.
    • Students who are more capable might create another version of their creation, aimed at parents in particular, with the goal of changing parent behavior.
      • ✓ What changes if you change your audience?

    Work Time

    Work in pairs to complete the following tasks.

    • Write a description of a parenting problem Juvenal would be unhappy about today. That means you really need to focus on one problem in parent-child relationships today.
    • Then, come up with at least three examples, like Juvenal’s, that illustrate the problem. Be as concrete as you can, but don’t use real names!
    • Share your description and examples so others can comment on what you came up with, and you can take a look at theirs.
    • Provide feedback for each other’s creations, especially looking for Juvenalian qualities and concrete details that you find compelling, entertaining, or both.

    Open Notebook

    Class Response to Juvenalian Examples

    • Your goal is to highlight how much more effective the creations are when they include very concrete details. Allow students to select their own groups.
      • SWD: Though students should strive to participate in Whole Group Shares, it may be less intimidating for some to have the option to complete this activity in a smaller group discussion and to listen in and take notes only during the Whole Group Share. Consider giving a specific note-taking format to ensure organization of ideas. You may decide to give some students the option to audio-record ideas or to write down comments to submit or share digitally.
    • You are also trying to plant the seeds for later conversations on the connections between tone and audience.


    Respond to the following questions with your classmates.

    • Which of your classmates’ examples were the most entertaining?
    • Would parents think they were entertaining?
    • Were there any that went too far—were especially harsh, or Juvenalian?

    Once Upon a Time

    • Before students read the story, see if they can access any prior knowledge about South Africa. You might also have students read the background information on apartheid in More to Explore.
    • You might also ask what they expect from the story, given its title. They should definitely begin thinking about fairytales and modern adaptations of fairytales, like The Princess Bride or Shrek.
      • SWD: Monitor the ability of students with disabilities to annotate throughout this unit to take note of their progression. If they struggle with annotating, consider giving them additional questions to promote deep and meaningful thinking.
      • ELL: Be sure all students, especially ELLs, understand the significance of the phrase “once upon a time.”


    Does anyone know, from social studies class or somewhere else, anything about apartheid or Nelson Mandela?

    Your homework is to read and annotate “Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer. This story deals with the really horrible political situation that existed in South Africa just a few years ago.

    As you read and annotate, consider these questions.

    • What makes this satire?
    • What makes it Juvenalian satire?
    • What connections can you draw between “Once Upon a Time” and current events?