This is a series of lesson plans based around “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. Each plan deals with the next chapter of the book, students read a chapter a week and bring any vocabulary questions they have to class.
Here are some things that may cause problems from chapter 5.
a porter – a person who carries bags in a hotel or hospital
weave – wove – woven = in relation to the weaving of carpets on the first page.
maid – a cleaner / person who helps maintain a house or cleans a hotel room.
to get along with somebody – to have a friendly relationship
to lace a shoe – to tie a bow to keep a shoe on
to slap – to hit with an open hand
- What happens in this chapter?
- What new characters do we meet?
- What does Marji learn in this chapter?
- Are there distinct social classes in your country?
- Can people marry people from other social classes?
- Have you ever sent love letters?
- Did you have a crush / infatuation when you were growing up?
- We see Mehri telling Marji scary stories about jackals, what scary stories do you remember from you childhood?
This is the fourth in a series of lesson plans based around the graphic novel “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.
Here is some of the vocabulary that students had difficulty with from this chapter.
to be ashamed – to feel regret or embarrassment
to take in – strange choice of verb in the text as it is used in the context of Marji’s grandmother taking in sewing. Here is means to start doing an activity. I advised my students to use “take up” instead.
sewing – students had problems with pronunciation, stress that the verb “to sew” is pronounced the same as “so”.
verbs that collocate with “a promise” – make a promise, break a promise, keep a promise.
“the population couldn’t have cared less” – useful, common expression meaning not to care.
cemetery – place where dead people are buried.
stretcher – equipment to carry an injured person.
widow – wife of a dead man.
- What happens in this chapter?
- What new information do we learn?
- How did it make you feel?
- How does the chapter end?
- Why is Marji confused?
- In this chapter we see Marji asking her grandmother to tell her stories of her life. What stories did your grandparents / parents tell you about their lives?
- In this chapter Marji’s grandmother talks about politicians who don’t keep their promises. Do the politicians in your country keep theirs? Can you think of any examples of promises they have kept and broken?
- Marji’s Dad bravely tries to take photos of the demonstrations. How important is this kind of action?
- Can you think of any famous war correspondents? Or famous war photography?
- How do people document demonstrations and revolutions nowadays?
- How has this activity changed since the time Persepolis was written?
Next week chapter 5: The Letter
This is the third in a series of posts based around the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I am reading through the book with several groups of ESL students. Each week we go over new vocabulary that arises and have a short discussion based on any issues that come up.
There are several vocab points that came up from this chapter:
a putsch = a coup
to overthrow = to remove a government from power
proof = noun from verb “to prove”
westerner = person from the west, also northerner, southerner, easterner.
illiterate = someone who cannot read or write
vast = very big
nevertheless = 1 use as a contrast linker like “however” or another use is as a synonym of “anyway”
entourage = group of people who accompany and support a person
the rabble = a disorganised group of people, here referring to the workers
to rule = to govern
to be sidetracked = to be distracted or prevented from doing something
wrinkled = with fold lines
- What happened in this chapter?
- What was your reaction to it?
- What new information do we learn in this chapter?
- How aware were people of British involvement in regime change at the time?
- Were your country’s government involved in anything similar?
- Do you think this type of interference still happens today?
- How have the tactics and strategies changed?
- On the opening page we see the police’s heavy-handed response to the demonstrations, are the police heavy-handed in your country? What was the governments reaction to the last big demonstration in your country?
Next week chapter 4: Persepolis
This is the second part in a series of posts based around the graphic novel “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. I’m currently working through the book with three separate groups of adults with a level ranging from A2 – C1 and one teenage individual with a C1 level. Each week I set the next chapter of the book as homework and we dedicate the first 15-20 minutes of each class to vocabulary and grammar issues that arise and a discussion of the various issues that come up.
Chapter 2, The Bicycle
Here is some of vocabulary that came up in class:
a synonym of “to wake up” but used for more poetic writing, or in older texts. Note that there are irregular conjugations of the verb = awake, awoke, awoken but also regular ones: awake, awakened.
To blame something ON somebody.
The shah blames the fire on the fanatics.
pronunciation of Iran and use of different regional adjectives: Iranian, Middle-Eastern, Western etc.
The collocation unshakeable faith, an indestructible faith. Also verb “to shake” – shake shook shaken. (James Bond Reference)
forbid forbade forbidden
In reference to the police stopping people from rescuing the people trapped in the burning cinema.
a good adjective to teach students to describe Marji, in the last chapter she wanted to be a prophet and was obsessed with religion and now in this one she wants to be a revolutionary like Fidel Castro or Che Guevara. Fickle describes a person who changes their loyalties and tastes very easily and often.
- What happens in this chapter?
- How does Marji’s attitude change?
- Who does she idolise? Is she fickle?
- How does the novel portray the Rex cinema fire? (one of the worst terrorist attacks of modern times, read the wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_Rex_fire)
- What do you think of the way Marji’s parents are raising / educating her? (with Descartes, Marx etc.)
- Do you think that children today study reliable history of these events?
- If you are old enough to remember the Iranian revolution, what do you remember? How was it perceived in your country?
- Do you remember where you were and what you were doing at the time of a big atrocity? (in reference to the Rex fire, possiblities could be 9/11, the London bombing, the Madrid bombing etc.)
Set chapter 3 entitled “The Water Cell” for students to read for next class.
For each class I am making a set of vocabulary flashcards on the website http://www.quizlet.com so that at the start of each class we can briefly revise vocab from the week before.
This is the first of a series of posts based around the graphic novel “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. They are suitable for a wide range of levels (A2 – C2). You will need a copy of the book (or a cheeky pdf).
Each week you set the students a chapter of the book as homework. Each chapter consists of approximately 9 pages and the graphic style makes them easy and quick to read. In graphic novels students are presented with direct speech rather than prose, this helps them to pick up more natural language of expression. Also graphic novels are easier to follow than more traditional stories as much of the story is conveyed by the pictures. This means students are less likely to get lost and give up.
The first 15-20 minutes of the following class will be dedicated to vocabulary issues from the chapter and group discussions based on the themes that arise therein.
First ask students for clarification of any new vocabulary and encourage them to share new vocabulary they have learned at home relating to the chapter.
Chapter 1 discussion questions:
- What happened in chapter one?
- How did the chapter make you feel?
- How would you describe Marji? (Head-strong? Precocious? imaginative?
- What themes and issues are introduced?
- What are your views on single sex schools?
- What are you views on compulsory uniforms of any kind?
- Have you ever taken part in a demonstration? When? Where? What was it for / against?
- Do you think that public demonstrations and protests work?