Wilde's Gothic novel about vanity and perdition is an established favourite for senior students. This 55-page unit of work has been tested successfully with a mixed-ability class and provides material for a full 10-week school term.
Pre-reading research tasks introduce students to the late Victorian period and the Decadent movement, before the bulk of the unit focuses on close textual analysis. There is a mixture of tasks which gets students writing analytically, personally, and creatively, helping them to build up their own unique interpretation of the work, and eventually to express this in a formal essay.
There is a brief, student-friendly explanation of what a close reading is and how to perform it, followed by a sample close reading of the opening passage.
Each chapter has a single-page task sheet comprising three higher-order tasks: a close reading of a nominated passage, an extended response to develop interpretative thinking, and a choice of creative writing tasks which springboard from the language and ideas in the chapter.
There is a discrete analysis task which shows students how to evaluate the same piece of textual evidence against three different questions, preventing them from regurgitating the same remarks regardless of question.
A guided essay which breaks an essay down into manageable steps for lower-ability students or those who struggle to form and maintain an argument. Ten senior-level essay questions offer a choice of arguments about character, theme, language, and context, and a sample essay discusses whether 'touching the sacred things is the only thing worth touching'.
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