Lesson Plans

Prep Sheet for Discussion and Essay – Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts”



Each student will sign up for one of the following discussion points and one of the following scenes.

You will analyze and annotate the play in order tofind specific evidence in the play that will help you make discoveries and/or raise questions about your assigned discussion point and scene.

You will come to class prepared to share your discoveries and / or questions and supporting evidence with your small group and with the class.

Your preparation and the class discussion will help you prepare to write your Ibsen essay.

Discussion Points (Select one):

  1. “Ibsen is a master of the art of informing the audience about the past while simultaneously sustaining and enhancing the interest in the immediate present.”
  2. “It is characteristic of Ibsen’s technique that revelation of the relevant past continues almost down to the final moments of the play.”
  3. The play is “. . . an intricate pattern of theme and image, idea and symbol.”
  4. Everyone in the play wants something.
  5. No one escapes tragedy in this play, and all the characters share responsibility for their tragedy.
  6. “The rigorous enchainment of events makes for a drama of strict causality, but the contrivance of sequence is the work of an artist practicing an art of dramatic illusion, without any necessary dependence on our sense of the way things really happen.” [Extra credit for choosing this point!]
  7. Ibsen makes use of biblical allusion in the character of  Jacob Engstrand.
  8. Pastor Manders is not the only one in the play who “blunts the free expression of individuality and stifles ‘the joy of life.’”


SCENES (Select one):

  1. Act I – Regina and Engstrand (68 - 69)
  2. Act I – Regina and Manders (69 – 71)
  3. Act I – Mrs. Alving and Manders (71 – 73)
  4. Act I – Oswald, Manders, Mrs. Alving (73 – 75)
  5. Act I – Mrs. Alving and Manders (75 – 77)
  6. Act I – Mrs. Alving, Manders, Oswald, Regina (77)
  7. Act II – Mrs. Alving and Manders (78 – 80)
  8. Act II – Engstrand, Manders, Mrs. Alving (80 – 82)
  9. Act II – Mrs. Alving, Oswald, and Regina  (82 – 86)



Guidelines for a Peer Review

1)         As you read your peer’s essay, very briefly summarize each paragraph in the margins or sketch a very bare outline of the paragraphs on a separate piece of paper.  Doing so will inform the writer what the reader finds the focus and parameters of each paragraph to be, and it will give the writer a overview of the paper, which will help identify any organizational problems.

2)         Write two positive comments at the end of the paper; be specific.  For example, don’t just write something like “Your reading of “Yolanda” is good” but rather tell why you think it is good– as in “Your reading of “Yolanda” is good because you clearly characterize the narrator’s crush and support your argument with four examples from the story.”

3)    List the two most important things that the writer must work on when he/she revises the paper.  Look back at the “Peer Evaluation Checklist for Revision” I handed out to help you determine how best to advise the writer.



Workshop for Long Research Essay Draft

**Note to Instructors:  It’s essential to do one of these workshops as a full class before letting them do it in groups.

Spring 2007

Each group is going to re-enact what we did as a full class before the break: Find the main argument, and map out the essay according to that argument.  You will also discuss other positives and negatives in the draft.


--The person being workshopped MAY NOT speak while the essay is being discussed.

--Find a time to meet outside of class and finish your discussions by this Friday.


1.  Read one of the drafts, then take the following discussion steps.  Feel free to write on the draft.  Please do not read all the drafts at once, then discuss them at once.  Please read, then discuss, one essay at a time.  That way, the essay is fresh in your mind, and you are not distracted by other essays.

Discussion, 20-30 minutes per essay:

2.  2-3 minutes.  What does this essay do well?

2.  5-10 minutes.  What is the main argument?  Is it debatable, interesting, and specific?  The group should decide what they think the main argument is or should be, based on what’s in the draft, then ask the writer if this is an acceptable main argument.  If the group’s argument  is not acceptable to the writer, the writer can help the group develop a more acceptable one.  After this minor input, the writer must remain silent.

3.  10-15 minutes.  Map it out.  According to that main argument, what MUST this essay discuss, and in what order?  What claims and evidence will be important for that main argument?

4.  3-5 minutes.  What feels irrelevant and might be cut?  Does the writer need to use more sources?  Advise them about what sources might fit well.

5.  3-5 minutes.  Does the writer have any questions?

Repeat 1. – 5. with the other essays in the group, finishing for homework if necessary—yep, that means meeting outside of class!  We will discuss your answers with the entire class next time/



Responding to Short Fiction

EN1102/ Spring 2206

Reading Response Two

Molly Ivins Short Story

Name:  ___________________________________

For the next ten minutes, write about what impressions this story gives you of the time period (the specific year the narrator recalls is 1969); ground your observations with examples from the story.



Paraphrasing and Summarizing

            The following lesson was conducted in Metro Writing Studio, where I placed the first paragraph on the screen and asked students to place it into their own words.  Then I asked students to change seats and to count how many words in the student’s rewritten piece were the same as those in the initial paragraph.  I asked how many paraphrased pieces kept the same format as the original passage and simply inserted synonyms here and there.  We discussed at length the meaning of putting something into one’s own words.

            When students returned to their own seats, I put them into groups of three and placed the second paragraph on the screen.  This time I asked the students to collaboratively paraphrase the passage on the screen.  We put each of the paraphrased passages on the board and chose the one we found most effective.

            The last passage I placed on the board completed the case study.  Now I asked them to summarize the passage.  This time I asked for volunteers to share their summaries with the class, and we discussed their effectiveness.

            For the lesson, I put each passage on a separate sheet of paper.

Taken from Critical Strategies for Academic Thinking and Writing by Malcolm Canaria and Mike Rose, Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, Boston1993.

A Case from Psychology:

            Despite public concern over the increasing use of marijuana and hard drugs, alcohol is still the most widely used and abused drug in this country.  It is estimated that some 9 million people in the United States are alcoholics or problem drinkers, and alcohol consumption appears to be steadily increasing.  The cost in terms of lost productivity and medical care for alcohol-related illnesses is staggering.  Other social consequences include increased crime (homicides and child abuse are both related to alcohol use), family discord, deaths and injuries on the highway, and suicide.

A Case from Psychology continued...

            The stereotype of an alcoholic–the skid-row drunk– constitutes only a small proportion of the individuals who have serious drinking problems.  The depressed housewife who takes a few drinks to get through the day and a few more to make it through the afternoon, the overworked physician who keeps a bottle in her desk drawer, and the high-school student who drinks more and more to gain acceptance from peers are all on their way to becoming alcoholics.  There are various definitions of alcoholism, but almost all of them include the inability to abstain (the feeling that you cannot get through the day without a drink) and/or a lack of control (an inability to stop after one or two drinks)...

A Case Study from Psychology continued...

            An individual can progress from social drinking to alcoholism in many ways.  One survey of alcoholics describes the following four stages.

  1. Prealcoholic stage.  Individual drinks socially and on occasion heavily to relieve tension and forget about problems.  Heavy drinking becomes more frequent, and in times of crisis, the person resorts more and more to the bolstering effects of alcohol.
  2. Prodromal stage.  Drinking becomes furtive and may be accompanied by “blackouts,” during which the person remains conscious and relatively coherent but later cannot recall events.  The individual becomes preoccupied with drinking and feels guilty about it but worries about when and where she or he will have the next drink.
  3. Crucial stage.  All control is lost; once the person starts drinking, he or she continues until sick or stuporous.  Social adjustment deteriorates, and the drinking becomes evident to family, friends, and employers.  The person starts drinking in the morning, neglects his or her diet, and may go on the first “bender”–several days of continuous drinking.  Abstinence is still possible (the individual may go for several weeks or even months without drinking), but once he or she takes a drink, the whole pattern begins again.  This is called the “crucial” stage because unless the individual seeks help, she or he is in danger of becoming a chronic alcoholic.
  4. Chonic stage.  Drinking is continual; the individual lives only to drink.  The body has become so accustomed to alcohol that the person may suffer withdrawal symptoms without it.  Malnutrition and alcohol have produced numerous physiological disorders.  The person has lost all concern for physical appearance, self-esteem, family, friends, and social status.  This is the stage of the skid-row drunk.

            Not all elements of these stages have been corroborated.  Some alcoholics seldom get drunk but consume enough alcohol each day to maintain a certain level of relaxation, and some never experience blackouts.  Nevertheless, the general progression from state to stage is typical of many alcoholics.

                                                –Rita L. Atkinson, Richard C. Atkinson, and Ernest R. Hilgard,

                                                                                             Introduction to Psychology, 8th ed.