Microcosm of 1940s ShanghaiGrades 9-12, Arts & Literature, Beliefs/Religion, Society Lesson or Unit Plan
Eillen Chang and 1940s Shanghai, China.
In this lesson, students will learn about 1940s Shanghai by reading and analyzing Eileen Chang’s short story “Sealed Off”. They will discuss change and continuity over time in the context of China. Students will walk away from this lesson with a better knowledge of author Eileen Chang and the 1940s in Shanghai.
|Title:||Microcosm of 1940s Shanghai in Eileen Chang’s “Sealed Off”|
|Time Required:||One 1-hour period|
RH.9-10.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
RH.9-10.9. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
|Keywords / Vocabulary:||Microcosm|
|Essential Question(s):||What is “modern”?|
|Learning Objectives/Goals/Aims:||How is the tramcar in Eileen Chang’s “Sealed Off” a microcosm of 1940s Shanghai?|
|Introduction:||In this lesson, students will learn about 1940s Shanghai by reading and analyzing Eileen Chang’s short story “Sealed Off”. They will discuss change and continuity over time in the context of China. Students will walk away from this lesson with a better knowledge of author Eileen Chang and the 1940s in Shanghai.|
|Procedure/Pedagogical Technique/Instructional Strategy:||
Assign this short story at the start of the week, providing students with photocopies and giving them several days to complete the reading. In anticipation that some students will not find time to read the story, make sure that students have opportunities to engage the text during the class period.
Use Karen S. Kingsbury’s translation of “Sealed Off” in Chang’s collection of short stories Love in a Fallen City.
Warm-Up Activity (15 minutes)
Have students do a “think-pair-share,” where they share their written responses with a student sitting next to them. Then, invite students to share with the whole class.
Introduction (5 minutes)
Group Reconstruction of a Text (5 minutes)
Group Read-Aloud (5 minutes)
|Discussion Points/ GroupInteraction:||
Group Discussion Questions (20 minutes)
Have students break into groups of four and discuss the following questions. Emphasize that is not necessary to write down answers. Instead they should discuss their thoughts and annotate the text, underlining appropriate passages and making notes in the margins.
1. If the tramcar is a microcosm of Shanghai, then what do we know about Shanghai in the 1940s from this story? What do we know about China?
Whole-Group Closing Discussion (10 minutes)
Exit Journal Entry (5 minutes)
1. Low-stakes writing: Journal entries at the start and end of class
2. Participation in small-group discussions and whole group discussion
|Instructional Resources/ Materials:||Zhang, Ailing, and Karen Kingsbury. Love in a Fallen City. New York: New York Review, 2007. Print.|
|Extending the Lesson / Follow-up Activity:||One potential follow-up lesson is to have students read “Lessons for Women,” a classic instructional guide on women’s proper conduct written by female philosopher Ban Zhao in the Han dynasty. Potential questions discussion include: What has changed for women since the Han dynasty? Has anything stayed the same? These questions are intended to get students thinking about issues of continuity and change over time in global cultures.|
Caterogy: Grades 9-12, Arts & Literature, Beliefs/Religion, Society Lesson or Unit Plan
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