Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

A Stone's Throw Away: The Dangers of Tradition

The Lottery

Margaret Salesky, Lindsey Link, Ryan Rahhal | Published: October 13th, 2021 by K20 Center

Summary

In this lesson, students explore the theme of tradition by reading Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery,” and an accompanying article, “The Dangers of Tradition.” As students develop their own beliefs concerning the value and possible dangers of tradition, they share their opinions with their peers and petition for a new school tradition or the removal of an old one.

Essential Question(s)

How does Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” demonstrate the possible dangers of tradition?

Snapshot

Engage

Students participate in a Word Cloud, watch a YouTube clip from “My Lottery Dream Home,” and respond with a Commit and Toss.

Explore

Students read or listen to “The Lottery” and take notes using the Tip of the Iceberg strategy.

Explain

Students read “The Dangers of Tradition,” and continue the Tip of the Iceberg strategy.

Extend

Students use the Fold the Line strategy to engage in a discussion about tradition.

Evaluate

Students create a One Pager to petition for a new school tradition or the removal of an old one.

Materials

Engage

35 Minute(s)

Introduce the lesson by displaying the title slide 2 from the attached Lesson Slides.

Display slides 3-4. Review the essential question and the learning objectives.

Display slide 5. Explain the Tip of the Iceberg strategy to the class. Distribute or share digitally the attached Tip of the Iceberg handout. Direct students to fill out the top of the iceberg above the water line with words that come to mind when they hear the word “lottery.”

Display slide 6. Let students know they will be using the notes they just took to create a Word Cloud. At this time, share the link to the Collaborative Word Cloud generator that you set up earlier with the class. As students type in their examples, guide them to make the observation that the larger the word in the cloud, the more consensus the class has on what “lottery” means to them as a group. Are there any words that surprise you? Stick out to you? Make you wonder?

Display slide 7. Show the clip from “My Lottery Dream Home.”

Encourage students to add any new thoughts to their Tip of the Iceberg handout as they watch.

Display slide 8. Introduce students to the Commit and Toss instructional strategy. Distribute small strips of paper and ask them to jot down anonymously the one thing they would want in their lottery dream home. Once they are done writing, ask students to crumple up their responses and toss them across the room or into an empty box. Have students choose one and read it aloud, or you can read a few responses to the class.

Explore

Display slide 9. Distribute or share digitally Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery.” Direct students to fill out the waterline portion of their Tip of the Iceberg handout with new thoughts about tradition as they read.

Once students have completed the reading, have them partner up with someone sitting close to them and share what they thought of the story and how it changed (or did not change) their viewpoints on tradition. Ask a few students to share out with the whole class if they are comfortable.

Explain

Display slide 10. Distribute or share digitally the article, “The Dangers of Tradition.” Direct students to fill out the portion below the waterline in their Tip of the Iceberg handout with new thoughts about tradition as they read.

Once students have completed the reading, have them partner up with someone sitting close to them and share what they thought of the reading and whether or not it provided any new insights on traditions to them. Ask a few of students to share out with the whole class if they are comfortable.

Tell students that they are going to use what they learned from “The Lottery” andThe Dangers of Tradition” to help them justify their responses in the next activity.

Extend

Display slide 11. Introduce students to the Fold the Line strategy and explain to them that they will be engaging in a discussion about tradition.

Display the first prompt on slide 12. Direct students to line up according to how much they agree with the prompt on a scale of 1-5. After they have lined up, instruct the student at the end to “fold the line” by walking to face the student at the front. Have the rest of the line follow the leader, pairing up with the next classmate in line. Each student should be standing across from the classmate who was standing at an opposite position in the line. If there is an uneven number, create one group of 3. Instruct students to discuss the prompt with their partners.

Display slides 13-15. Have students repeat the procedure for each prompt.

Evaluate

Display slide 16. Share the One-Pager instructional strategy with students. Explain to them that they will be creating a One-Pager petitioning for a new school tradition or the removal of an old one.

Display slide 17, which illustrates an example of what the students will create. The labeled diagram demonstrates how the student example meets the criteria. Each criterion will appear as you continue to advance the slide to allow you to point out each necessary element of the student’s work sample.

  • Title of the proposed new tradition or old one you want removed;

  • Border around the page that includes one major belief you now hold about tradition;

  • Image representing the new tradition or the old one you want removed;

  • Three (3) or more questions with the answers included;

  • A statement arguing for your new tradition or against an old one.

Display slide 18 for students while they are working on their One-Pager. The slide shows both the example and the criteria.

Resources