ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.
Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.
Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
From Dr. Seuss to Jonathan Swift: Exploring the History behind the Satire
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 50-minute sessions|
MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY
- The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
- Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
- Reference materials on Gulliver's Travels
- Satirical Techniques Definitions
- Big Endians and Little Endians Passage from Gulliver's Travels (reformatted)
- Historical References in the Endian Passage
- Historical References for Part I of Gulliver's Travels, "A Voyage to Lilliput"
- Gulliver's Travels Analytical Essay
- Gulliver's Travels Essay Rubric
- This lesson plan can be adapted for whatever portion of Gulliver's Travels that the class will cover. It could be used for a full coverage of all four parts of the text or simply for an individual section. Resources included here focus on Part I, "A Voyage to Lilliput."
- If possible, collect multiple copies of The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss, so that small groups can refer to the book as needed. As an alternative to reading the The Butter Battle Book, you might show the 1989 television adaptation of Seuss's Butter Battle Book (Point Blank Films/Turner Pictures). Seuss wrote the script for the filmed version, which features Charles Durning as the voice of the Grandfather.
- Collect reference materials on Gulliver's Travels for students to use as they complete their research. The Gulliver's Travels Travelogue provides online resources, but your school library and class text can provide additional materials that will supplement students' research. If Internet access is not available, library and classroom resources are essential for this lesson.
- Make copies of the Satirical Techniques Definitions handout, Gulliver's Travels Analytical Essay, and Gulliver's Travels Essay Rubric.
- If desired, make copies or a transparency of the passage from Reformatted Big Endians and Little Endians Passage from Gulliver's Travels. The reformatting breaks the text into chunks for easier reading.
- Create a customized list of historical allusions for Gulliver's Travels. One simple way to create the task is to compile a list of all the names identified in footnotes or glossed in sidebars in your text. For these, students will already have the basic identification information on the historical reference. Their job will be to do the necessary research to determine the underlying significance of the reference. A sample list of Historical References for Part I is provided.
- Decide whether students will investigate historical references individually or in small groups. If you use the Historical References for Part I, you can combine the references to Harley and St. John or combine investigation of the Tories and Whigs. Some of the investigations require more research and analysis than others, so adjust the options based on students' abilities.
- Test the Gulliver's Travels Travelogue on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.