Lesson Plan

Literature Chatroom - Cuckoo's Nest

Engage in higher level thinking - from the author's perspective.
Andrea N.
Technology Integration Specialist
Springfield Local Schools
Akron, OH
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, World Languages, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor

I can statements...

  1. I can engage in a variety of discussions by listening an sharing acquired and prior knowledge of grades 11 and 12 topics and texts. 
  2. I can facilitate discussions over designated 11th and 12th grade topics. 
  3. I can analyze and evaluate

    • text
    • comments
    • claims
    • evidence posed
    • Personal conclusions
    • the conclusions of others. 



English Language Arts
Grades 11 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Set Induction

Free, Paid

Using Prezi, Notebook, or other presentation software, place the agenda/activity directions  and learning targets on the board.  

(Directions will vary depending on what resources the teacher decides to use for the main activity.) 


Student Instructions

Today we will be participating in a literature chatroom.  There are questions posted in pods around the room.  You will rotate to the pods and answer the question posed in regards to your opinions in regards to the novel.  Be sure you can support your opinion with evidence from the text.  Please be respectful of others opinions.

Let's review and record our learning targets.  

2 Discussion

Students will respond to the five discussion questions and read and respond to their peers responses as well to fascilitate and engage in discussions.  Students should be able to rotate to questions freely.  If no technology is available, this can be done with posters.  If students do not have personal technology, there can be computer stations set up around the classroom.  Students also could use personal devices.  Personally, I found this activity more effective when they could talk to one another and move around freely.  Whatever technology you choose to use, I recommend making sure students don't become engulfed in the technology in that it hinders the discussion process. 


The five questions used for Cuckoo's nest are as follows:

Some would say that Chief Bromden's perspective is crucial to the development of the novel.  Do you agree or disagree? Hypothesize the possible origin of his character.  (In other words, why would Kesey choose THIS character to narrate the novel?)

What do you see as evil in the world, and how do you depict it?  

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Big Nurse is often seen as the embodiment of evil.  Do you think this is an accurate representation of her?

Do you believe that individuals have to be held accountable for evil, even if they are not the ultimate source?

Do you believe that an author imposes his own cultural vision on his/her readers?  Furthermore, is it appropriate for an author's cultural vision to be imposed on his/her readers?

Kesey's novels have been popular in Eastern Europe, and have been translated in the former Communist-bloc countries.  The novels were allowed in communist countries because they were perceived as anti-American.  Do you feel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest should be seen as anti-American?  Why or Why not?


3 Debriefing

Free, Paid

After the discussion period, bring students back in to debrief and review major points.  At this point, add an element of surprise by asking students "Wouldn't it be interesting to know what Kesey thought of these questions?  Then reveal that all the questions they just discussed were indeed answered by Kesey in an interview.  Then, view Prezi or another presentation tool, review Kesey's answers with students.  Continue the discussion on how Kesey's responses compared to their own.  What were the similarities and differences?  

The interview with Kesey can be found here:


*disclaimer - The interview contains questions that refer to Kesey's very public drug usage, particularly with LSD.  I choose to pull approrpiate questions out of the article, and did NOT share the link to the whole interview with students.  I decided it would be more appropriate to copy and paste the relevant sections and share those with students, and properly site the article on my presentation to them.  *Cuckoo's Nest is a mature novel that is usually taught in 12 grade or AP Literature.  This activity was enjoyed by the students and received high praise from my administrator who observed.  This activity could be easily adapted to any novel by finding an interview with the corresponding author.