Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us

 

 

What’s Happening This Week

What’s Happening This Week

There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.

More

 

Reading & Language Arts Community

Book Recommendations

Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.

Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

 

 

Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers

Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers

 

HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

February 21

Humorist Erma Bombeck was born in 1927.

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

 

Humorist Erma Bombeck was born in 1927.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Erma Bombeck was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1927. Soon after the birth of her first daughter, she began writing a newspaper column called "At Wit's End," which was quickly picked up by newspapers across the country. Bombeck's largely autobiographical accounts of the "battles" between men and women and between children and parents, told with gentle yet sarcastic humor, became part of America's reading throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Bombeck died in 1996.

 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Many students have difficulty identifying or appreciating allusive or satirical humor. Using the following lines from Bombeck's newspaper column, ask students to identify not what they think is funny, but what someone else might find funny.

  • Shopping is a woman thing. It's a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.

  • There are two kinds of women who will spring big bucks for a make-up mirror that magnifies their faces. The first are young models who need to cover every eyelash, shadow their cheekbones, define their lips, and sculpt their faces. The second group are women who, without their glasses, cannot find their faces.

  • I just clipped two articles from a current magazine. One is a diet guaranteed to drop five pounds off my body in a weekend. The other is a recipe for a 6-minute pecan pie.

  • Most children's first words are "Mama" or "Daddy." My kid's first words were, "Do I have to use my own money?"

High school students can rewrite the passages to make them funny for a different audience.

 

WEBSITES

 

 
  • ErmaMuseum.org

    This University of Dayton website is dedicated to Bombeck's life and work. The site includes several of her columns, as well as video clips from the short-lived sitcom called Maggie, which Bombeck developed.

     

  • Erma Bombeck Interview

    This page features a biography and an interview with Bombeck from 1991. In the interview, she discusses her writing process, as well as influences on her life.

     

  • Mark Twain Classroom Activities

    Just as Bombeck did in her syndicated newspaper column, Mark Twain used irony and sarcasm to tell his humorous stories. This PBS resource explores Twain's use of humor.

     

RELATED RESOURCES

back to top

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring Satire with The Simpsons

This lesson uses an example from popular culture, The Simpsons, as a means to explore the literary technique of satire and to analyze a satirical work.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

From Dr. Seuss to Jonathan Swift: Exploring the History behind the Satire

Use Dr. Seuss's The Butter Battle Book as an accessible introduction to satire. Reading, discussing, and researching this picture book paves the way for a deeper understanding of Gulliver's Travels.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan

Exploring Satire with Shrek

The movie Shrek introduces the satirical techniques of exaggeration, incongruity, reversal, and parody. Students brainstorm fairy tale characteristics, identify satirical techniques, then create their own satirical versions of fairy tales.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Analyzing the Purpose and Meaning of Political Cartoons

It is important for students to know how to evaluate messages conveyed by the news media. Exploration of the artistic techniques used in political cartoons leads to critical questioning.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Literary Parodies: Exploring a Writer’s Style through Imitation

This lesson asks students to analyze the features of a poet’s work then create their own poems based on the original model.