Exploring Satire with Shrek. Author: Readwritethink.org

These lesson plans use clips from the popular movie Shrek to teach satire and its characteristics. Students analyze a clip, identify how this clip meets the four techniques of satire, create a satire based on a fairy tale of their choosing, and then present it to others in the class.This lesson can be used (with modification) to intoduce satire or to teach satire in a more advanced manner, especially with its detailed satire techniques.  The lesson comes with handouts, additional clips, and interactive resources, if the teacher chooses to use them. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3001.8.3
Recognize the conventions of various literary genres and understand how they articulate the writers vision.
CLE 3001.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3002.8.3
Recognize the conventions of various literary genres and understand how these conventions articulate the writers vision.
CLE 3002.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3003.8.3
Recognize the conventions of various literary genres and understand how they articulate the writers vision.
CLE 3003.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning and comprehension from various literary genres.
CLE 3005.8.3
Recognize the conventions of various literary genres and understand how they articulate the writers vision.
CLE 3005.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning and comprehension from various literary genres.
 
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Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • brainstorm genre characteristics based on prior knowledge. 
  • use visual literacy skills to analyze, interpret, and explain non-print media. 
  • identify the techniques of satire in a satirical work. 
  • analyze a satirical work to determine the comment or criticism being made about the subject it is ridiculing. 
  • use the elements of satire in narrative writing.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding
Extension suggestions: 
  • View Additional Satirical Video Clips from Shrek and Shrek 2 and continue your exploration of the ways that these movies satirize fairy tales.
  • Use the interactive Fractured Fairy Tales to review how the genre works and practice fracturing three well-known fairy tales. Also, this booklist outlines picture books and fiction that "fracture" traditional fairy tales structures to explore different perspectives and comment on "fairy tale" worlds. The books can provide useful supplements as examples during class sessions or give students who are particularly interested in the genre of fairy tales additional resources to explore.
  • Share clips from a film version of the Robin Hood tale to encourage sharper analysis of the scene from Shrek. The 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn, is widely available and is rated PG. The Disney Robin Hood (1973) would also make for interesting comparisons.
  • Share Robin Hood and the Lady by Walter Crane, an illustration from the 1912 book Robin Hood and the Men of the Greenwood by Henry Gilbert. Ask students to compare Crane's depiction of the hero and heroine to the depictions in Shrek. Ask students to consider the extent to which Shrek relies on the visual appearance of the hero and heroine for the satire and the extent to which the satire is based on the actions that are depicted and the situations that take place.
  • Follow this lesson with the Exploring Satire with The Simpsons lesson plan which invites more in-depth analysis of satirical techniques in popular culture.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • DVD or VHS copy of Shrek
  • Fairy tales for students to satirize (see Website section for suggestions)
  • Television, and DVD Player or VCR
     

References

Contributors: