Exploring Satire with Shrek

Because students are typically familiar with the characteristics of fairy tales, the movie Shrek, which satirizes fairy tale traditions, serves as an introduction to satirical techniques. Students begin by viewing a scene from the movie and examining the ways in which it departs from typical fairy tales. They are then introduced to the four techniques of satire: exaggeration, incongruity, reversal, and parody, and identify these techniques in the clip from Shrek. Students next select a fairy tale to satirize and share their finished stories with the class or small groups. This lesson is a fun way to teach satire and writing for different purposes. The lesson includes active viewing, a narrative writing assignment, and an assessment rubric to score the writing assignment.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6
Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
CLE 3001.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3001.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3001.1.3
Understand and use a variety of sentence structures.
CLE 3001.2.5
Understand strategies for expressing ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of oral contexts.
CLE 3001.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3001.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3001.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in lo
CLE 3001.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3001.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of informational and technical texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3001.7.1
Evaluate the aural, visual, and written images and other special effects used in television, radio, film, and the Internet for their ability to inform, persuade,...
CLE 3001.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3002.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3002.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases
CLE 3002.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, wellconstructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3002.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in logic.
CLE 3002.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of informational and technical texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3002.7.1
Evaluate the aural, visual, and written images and other special effects used in television, radio, film, and the Internet for their ability to inform, persuade,...
CLE 3002.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3003.3.1
Write in a variety of modes, with particular emphasis on persuasion, for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3003.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3005.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3005.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
SPI 3001.1.1
Demonstrate an understanding of the eight parts of speech, including their troublesome aspects, such as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but...
SPI 3001.1.12
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3001.1.13
Select the appropriate word among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who, accept/except,...
SPI 3001.1.15
Use a sample reference source to determine aspects of a given word (e.g., spelling, part of speech, definition, cognates, etymology, synonyms).
SPI 3001.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gaining the floor in orderly, respectful ways and listening with civility...
SPI 3001.3.10
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3001.3.14
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3001.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3001.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3001.8.13
Locate words or phrases in a passage that provide historical or cultural cues.
SPI 3002.1.1
Demonstrate an understanding of the eight parts of speech, including their troublesome aspects, such as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but...
SPI 3002.1.13
Select the appropriate word from among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who,...
SPI 3002.1.14
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3002.1.16
Use a sample reference source to determine aspects of a given word (e.g., spelling, part of speech, definition, cognates, etymology, synonyms).
SPI 3002.1.9
Recognize a shift in either verb tense or point of view within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gaining the floor in orderly, respectful ways and listen with civility to...
SPI 3002.3.11
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3002.3.15
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3002.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3002.4.3
Evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources for use in research.
SPI 3002.8.12
Locate words or phrases in a passage that provide historical or cultural cues.
SPI 3003.3.13
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3003.3.8
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.CSE.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; use effective parallel structure and various types...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.KL.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend ...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 9th -10th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a range...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings in grades 9-10 reading and content; interpret figures...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.6
Acquire and accurately use general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of...
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 9th- 10th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.CC.2
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media formats; evaluate the credibility and accuracy of each source.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
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:

  • 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: