English Literature Lesson Plan: Fishbowl Discussion of Oedipus Rex

Lesson Plan Topic

The application of the various tragic literary terms discussed to the tragic play, Oedipus Rex.

Lesson Plan Objectives

1. After having discussed to various critics’ definitions of tragic hero and tragic flaw, the students will understand and identify the differences and similarities between the various critics’ definitions on a short answer quiz.

2. Given the various definitions and Oedipus Rex, the students will be able to orally identify the occurrences of tragic hero and tragic flaw in Oedipus Rex.

3. After reviewing the definitions of tragic hero and tragic flaw, the students will think critically about and analyze the text by participating in a discussion and taking written note of how their peers’ interpretations relate to their own.

4. During the discussion the students will demonstrate their ability to effectively argue and state interpretations using supporting evidence from the text; they will be evaluated by their peers on the quality of their discussion comments.

5. After the discussions the students will synthesize their own interpretations of a text with those of other scholars and critics and will demonstrate this ability by writing a structured paper.

Key Discussion Questions

� What are the key definitions of tragic hero and tragic flaw?

âÂ?¢ Identify each character’s tragic flaw. Use evidence to support your thoughts.

âÂ?¢ How is each character’s tragic flaw both a flaw and a virtue? Support your claims with any evidence from the play.

âÂ?¢ Do any of the characters in the play fit Aristotle’s definition of tragic hero? How?

� Which character is most likely to be selected as the tragic hero? Why?

� Do any other characters fit the definitions better?

Special materials

Fishbowl Evaluation Rubric (below)

Overhead Tragic hero/tragic flaw definitions

Timer for discussion

Guidesheet of Questions (see Step 4)

Paper guidelines (see Step 5)

Lesson Plan Procedure

1. As the teacher takes roll, students will have 5 mins to journal on the question: How do you define hero? Does Oedipusfit your definition?

2. Teacher will write the words, “Yes, he is a hero” and “No, he isn’t” on opposing ends of the chalkboard.

3. Students will line up along the board according to what degree they feel Oedipus is a tragedy.

4. Teacher will choose 2 students from the “Yes” end, 2 students from the “No” end and 2 students from anywhere in the middle.

5. The chosen students will sit in the inner circle of chairs and the rest of the students will sit in the outer while the teacher puts up the definitions of tragic hero and tragic flaw.

6. The teacher will hand out the fishbowl worksheet/rubric (below) to the outer ring and explain that the inner circle will be participating in a discussion and the outer circle will be evaluating the participants based on quality and quantity of comments.

7. The teacher will then explain that it is important for everyone in the class to take notes on the discussion, as they will be turned in at the end of the class and used for a paper later in the week.

8. The teacher will prompt the discussion with the question: Is there a tragic hero in Oedipus Rex according to the critics’ definitions?

9. The students in the inner circle will discuss while the outer circle students will evaluate the discussion using the rubric provided by the teacher. During this time all students will be keeping notes on the observations by fellow students and their own thoughts.

10. After 15 mins of discussion, the teacher will choose 6 new students for the inner circle and step 9 will be repeated.

11. After the second 15 min discussion, the teacher will open up the floor to all students for a brief 5 – 10 min discussion in which everyone has the chance to participate.

12. The teacher will wrap up the discussion by restating the main points that the students discussed and collect the discussion rubrics and the students’ notes for grading. The teacher will also give the students the guidelines and thesis proposal form for the paper that they will be writing on tragic heroes (see attached).

13. Finally, after class the teacher will type up the main points of the students’ notes on a handout for each student.

Lesson Plan Assessment

Students will be writing a paper in which they will have to choose one character from the play and argue why that person is or is not a tragic hero.The students will also be asked to take notes on the discussion so that the teacher can evaluate if the fishbowl activity offered students with substantial amounts of information and sparked critical thinking. Finally, the students participating in the discussion will be evaluated by their peers in terms of the quality and quantity of their contributions.

Oedipus Fishbowl Evaluation Rubric

Name of student you are assessing _________________________________

Your name _________________________

Be sure to keep accurate, careful record of the participation of the person you are assessing. Assess others the way you would like to be assessed!! Remember that I will be keeping notes as well so be fair and honest.

Directions: Circle the number that best describes your peer’s contributions to the Fishbowl discussion. Be prepared to back up your marks with specific evidence.

5 – Strongly Agree4 – Agree3 – Neutral2 – Disagree1 – Strongly Disagree

Listened actively to other students’ ideas 5 4 3 2 1 Was open to ideas that conflicted with his/her own 5 4 3 2 1 Followed up others’ comments with appropriate
questions or paraphrases. 5 4 3 2 1 Offered his/her own comments or ideas
only when appropriate or relevant 5 4 3 2 1 Maintained eye contact when speaking and listening 5 4 3 2 1 Supported arguments with specific and detailed
evidence from the text. 5 4 3 2 1

Directions: Now keep a running tally of how many time your peer did each of the following during the discussion.

Questioned or Paraphrased Another to Assist Understanding

Added His/Her Own Appropriate and Relevant Comments

Cited the Text

Exhibited Poor Listening Habits (for this one please also note exactly what was done)

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