Lesson Plan

Blurred Lines in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"

Students analyze setting and make inferences with Ambrose Bierce’s classic short story.
Rachelle W.
Digital Learning Specialist
Fort Settlement Middle School
Sugar Land, TX
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts
Objectives

Ambrose Bierce's classic short story is one that can challenge today's students.  The language and vocabulary provide opportunities for students to build upon their vocabulary while getting a glimpse of American history during the Civil War.  This opening activity is ideal for scaffolding text analysis and encourages students to dig deeper in the text for meaning.  At the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

1. Do a close reading of the text highlighting key words and phrases that describe the setting.

2.  Use a T-Chart to sort descriptions of the setting based on patterns they notice.

3.  Explain the inferences they were able to draw after analyzing the text.

Subjects
English Language Arts
reading
reading comprehension
text analysis
using supporting evidence
vocabulary
writing
Grades 11 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Engagement

PhotoPeach
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Padlet
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Show images of different places and have students make inferences about the places they see.  Ask questions like: Is it possible this place is real, how do you know?  Is it fake, how do you know?  Place images on the Padlet wall and students can respond.  Share and discuss students’ responses. (Padlet is great for showing images or other documents on a virtual bulletin board and you can have all students respond.) PhotoPeach is another good option for taking your images and creating a slideshow that students may enjoy

Student Instructions

Analyze the images in the slideshow or on the Padlet wall to determine which places are real and which ones are not real.  Provide a brief explanation of your answer.

2 Exploration

Students will do a close reading of the story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” silently.  If students need it read aloud, they can use the video of the text being read on LearnZillion's website.  The LearnZillion lesson inspiring this lesson flow can be found here. After reading the passage, students will write a one minute paper describing the setting of this story.  When the time is up, students will get into groups of 4-5 and take turns sharing their responses with their group.  Group members may ask questions about responses for clarification.

Here is a great resource on how to do a close reading from Harvard College Writing Center.

 

Student Instructions

Students will do a close reading of the story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" silently.

Write a one-minute paper describing the setting of the story.

In groups of five, students will take turns sharing their one-minute paper with the other group members and ask questions if they need clarification.

3 Explanation

Activity: Drawing

Students will be analyzing setting in the text and draw inferences.  They will be using a T-chart to describe what parts of the setting are real and what parts are illusion?   

Student Instructions

Students will be analyzing setting in the text and draw inferences.  

They will be using a T-chart to describe what parts of the setting are real and what parts are illusion?  

Use the graphic/illustration tool of their choice, to illustrate the setting in a particular section of the short story.

4 Elaboration

OneDrive
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Google Drive
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Skitch
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Students will view the video on LearnZillion “Drawing Inferences by Analyzing Setting” for "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce.  Students may use the Guided Notes that accompanies this lesson if necessary. (Available on the Learnzillion website.)

As shown in the video, have students also illustrate the setting in  a section of the text using the graphic/drawing tool of their choice.

Student Instructions

Sketchnoting or Illustrating the Setting:

Choose a section of the text that describes the setting in great detail.  Use the graphic/illustration tool of your choice, to illustrate the setting in a particular section of the short story.

5 Evaluation

Activity: Other — Writing

Give students a choice to either do a Quickwrite or a Paper Slide Video for this activity.  If students choose the paper slide video, they may use some of the illustrations from their sketchnote activity. 

What parts of Bierce’s setting in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” are real and what parts are illusion?

Paper Slide Video Resource

 

Student Instructions

Complete a quick write or create a paper slide video that answers the question: "What parts of Bierce's setting in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" are real and what parts are illusion?  Be sure to provide supporting evidence from the text.  Digital responses may be submitted using Edmodo or the learning management system of your choice.