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Lesson Plan

Understanding Irony

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Understanding Irony

Grades 8 – 10
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Amanda Ottinger

Amanda Ottinger

Woolwich Township, New Jersey


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson introduces students to the three types of irony and then builds on that knowledge over the course of multiple sessions. Students watch YouTube videos to categorize information on a graphic organizer, apply the knowledge from those videos to outside examples of irony, read short stories which employ the three types of irony, and ultimately demonstrate their ability to apply irony to our modern world. Over the course of these five days, students are able to move from identification to manipulation of a skill through the scaffolding provided from the teacher and other resources.

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  • Situational Irony Video: This YouTube video provides examples of situational irony and explains why coincidence is not irony.
  • Verbal Irony Video: This YouTube video provides examples of verbal irony and discusses the differences among verbal irony, sarcasm, and compliments.
  • Dramatic Irony Video: This YouTube video provides examples of dramatic irony and discusses dramatic irony as a storytelling device.
  • "Ironic" Lyrics, by Alanis Morissette: Click on the link to the right of the song title for lyrics to Morissette's song on the artist's offical website.

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Irony surrounds upper grade students in their daily lives, making an understanding of what it is and how it works essential. In his article regarding incorporating pop culture in the classroom, Jerome Evans writes "popular culture has an important place in the English classroom—as an object worthy of study and as a means for students to access and study literature successfully." Through including popular culture such as YouTube videos, song lyrics, and an accessible performance task, students are able to learn the skill of understanding the purpose behind irony in a way that engages their everyday interests. Through helping students see the connection between irony and their world, they are able to see not only the classroom-related value that this skill entails but also the real-world application of the skill.

Evans, Jerome. "From Sheryl Crow to Homer Simpson: Literature and Composition through Pop Culture." English Journal 93.3 (January 2004): 34-38.

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