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Exploring Satire with Shrek
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
Charleston, South Carolina
Because students are typically familiar with the characteristics of fairy tales, the movie Shrek, which satirizes fairy tale traditions, serves as an introduction to satirical techniques. Students begin by viewing a scene from the movie and examining the ways in which it departs from typical fairy tales. They are then introduced to the four techniques of satire: exaggeration, incongruity, reversal, and parody, and identify these techniques in the clip from Shrek. Students next select a fairy tale to satirize and share their finished stories with the class or small groups.
Rubric for a Narrative Writing Piece: This thorough rubric can be used to assess any piece of narrative writing.
Literary Elements Map: This online tool can be used by students to create a character map, conflict map, resolution map, or setting map, for stories they are reading or writing.
Plot Diagram: Students can use this open-ended online tool to graph the plot of any story.
Popular culture, in the form of the movie Shrek, provides an introduction to the literary techniques that are commonly used in satire. This pairing of popular culture with traditional literary instruction provides what Meg Callahan and Bronwen E. Low call "a meeting place where students and teachers can share their expertise" (52). Through their extensive research with secondary students, Callahan and Low concluded that "many students identified the use of popular culture in the classroom as a catalyst for complex thinking" (57). Callahan and Low identify popular culture as "a site where students can experience competence at the same time that the teachers provide appropriate challenges through careful support, reframing, and questioning" (57).
Callahan, Meg, and Bronwen E. Low. "At the Crossroads of Expertise: The Risky Business of Teaching Popular Culture." English Journal 93.3 (January 2004): 52-57.