Tag Archive for symbolic retribution


Good luck on your unit test today, everyone!!!!

Standard: RL.9-10.10. By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Learning Target: Students will demonstrate their knowledge on a comprehensive unit test.

Opening Session: This video is oddly satisfying, and hopefully will help you relax before your test!

Work Session: Today is a test day! You will be answering 5 short answer questions and 3 writing questions about our symbolic retribution unit. Remember to always write SOMETHING, even if you don’t really know! GOOD LUCK!

And have a fabulous Thanksgiving break! Eat food, spend time with family, and I’ll see you next Monday!

Closing Session: Share something you’re thankful for.

Differentiation: Accommodations provided as indicated on IEPs, annotated texts, seating arrangement changes.

Assessment: Summative assessment (unit test).

Musical Hell!

Are you ready for a little musical interlude?


  • RL.9-10.7. Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

Learning Target: I will analyze the representations of the sins punished in Dante’s Inferno as they are presented in modern music.

Activator: Think of a song that represents Hell to you….. What circle? Let’s see the ones I came up with 🙂

Work Session: Your test is TOMORROW!!!! So today we are going to do a little review game, where I play a song and you match the song to the circle of Hell. A couple things to remember:

  • I do not care about you knowing exactly what circle is what sin.
  • I care that you know what the sins ARE – not you can list them, but you know what the words MEAN.
  • I care that you understand the law of symbolic retribution (the punishment fits the crime).
  • I do not care if you memorize what Dante’s punishments are for each individual sin.
  • I do not care if you memorize the orders of the circles.
  • I DO care if you know the difference in greed and gluttony, in wrath and violence, in lust and betrayal.

In other words, I don’t want you to MEMORIZE the text, but I DO want you to understand it. Capisce?

Excellent 🙂 Let’s listen to some music!




After we finish listening to these 9 songs, I want you to flip your sheet over. On the back is a place for you to come up with your own 9 songs for the inferno. Warning: Fraud is kind of hard to find!

Enjoy! I may use these songs later on, so put some effort into this!!!

Closing Session: Think-Pair-Share with a neighbor and then with the class!

Differentiation: Learning style (visual, auditory); interest (musical genres).

Assessment: Worksheets will be checked for completion and understanding (answers could vary).



  • ELAGSE9-10RL2 Determine a theme or central idea of text and closely analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Learning Target: I will argue whether Dante’s law of symbolic retribution applies to the 9th circle of Hell and analyze how Dante develops the theme of symbolic retribution in the final portion of the text.

Opening Session: Let’s look at this video from Lady Gaga, a song you might know called “Judas.” I want to activate some prior knowledge here – do you guys know who Judas was? What did he do, who did he betray? Can you think of any other betrayal that was quite that important to history? Dante thought of one – can you guess who?

Work Session: Welcome to Circle 9: BETRAYAL. I know, you’ve been dying to get here, right? (ba-dum TISS!)

Today we delve into the deepest reaches of Hell – Circle 9, Canto XXXIV. We’re going to be reading it together out of the textbook today, closely working through the poetry as Dante surmounts the most difficult obstacle of all, Satan himself. And as we end our reading and Dante walks out of the cave and looks up at those beautiful stars, I want you to consider…. that’s it. You’re done. You’ve journeyed through a harrowing week, nay, a harrowing SEMESTER of World Lit, and now, we have but a mere three and a half weeks left before winter vacation.

Of course we do have another unit after this one, and and Dante’s test still to do – but right now, let’s talk about theme!

Now that we’ve finished Dante’s Inferno, discussing all along the way about the theme of symbolic retribution, I want you to consider how Dante has represented that theme throughout the story and specifically in circle 9 of Hell. Today I would like to see some writing from you. Compose a short essay – 3-4 paragraphs – on the theme of symbolic retribution in circle 9 of Hell. Specifically, I’d like you to consider your knowledge of Brutus and Cassius from our earlier reading of Julius Caesar as well as your knowledge of the story of Judas, and then I’d like you to answer the following prompt:

  • Did Brutus and Cassius deserve what they got? Was their sin of backstabbing Caesar as bad as Judas’s sin of backstabbing Jesus? Are they really the WORST people that have ever lived? Are the traitors against their masters really the worst sinners of all? Why did Dante choose to put these two people in the deepest depths of hell? Do you think Dante accurately represents his theme of symbolic retribution (the punishment fits the crime) in the 9th circle of Hell?

You guys will have a sheet to work on this essay with some framework on it, and you’ll have a pretty good chunk of class to write!

Finally, as we end the day, I want to ask for a little feedback for me. I taught this unit differently this semester than I have in the past, and I wonder if you guys liked it. Could you include what activities you liked and didn’t like in your writing today? I have a short survey for you 🙂

Closing Session: Do your LAST poster activity!! WHOOOOOO!!!

Differentiation: Readiness (varied reading lengths); process (essay frameworks).

Assessment: Writing will be graded.

Be Greedy for Monday


  • ELAGSE9-10SL1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions(one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Learning Target: I will understand circle 4 of Dante’s Inferno and how the punishment fits the law of symbolic retribution; I will participate in a collaborative discussion with my classmates about capital punishment.

Opening Session: Daily video! Some overview of the debate that we’re going to have today, which is about capital punishment (AKA the death penalty).

Work Session: Welcome to Monday!

Today we’re studying greed – the avaricious and prodigal, or in other words, those who hoard (keep everything) and those who squander (waste everything). We’re going to start out with our Cliff Notes summary of this circle, since we aren’t reading it out of the book. Next, we are going to have a little debate!!

You may have noticed that the desks are in rows that face each other with an aisle between you. Today we’re going to have a stone throwing debate! Because the punishment in circle 4 is to push giant rocks into one another, you’re going to be doing something similar with your papers. I’ve got a sheet with 5 questions on it for each of you. You’re going to have 5 minutes to write on any one of the questions. Then, you’re going to crumble up your paper and throw it at the person across from you, just like the sinners in circle 4 did. When you get the paper your partner throws at you, unfold it, and you’ll have 5 minutes to either write about a new question OR respond to your partner’s writing.

We will swap papers 6 times, so you’ll end with your original paper and you get the last word 🙂then flatten them out and turn them in!!

Here are the questions, for those of you playing along from home:

  1. In Dante’s Hell, the punishment must fit the crime. This is based on ancient laws like Hammurabi’s code (“An eye for an eye”). Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
  2. In our modern legal system, almost all punishments are going to jail or probation. Do you think these punishments “fit the crime”? Give an example of a time when jail is NOT “fitting.”
  3. Worldwide, only 37 countries in the entire world still have the death penalty. In North and South America, only 2 countries still have the death penalty (USA and St. Kitts & Nevis). Why do you think so few countries have the death penalty in 2016?
  4. In the United States, only 56% of people support the death penalty. Since such a large group of Americans do not support the death penalty, why do you think we still have it?
  5. Last year (2015), the United States executed 28 people. The only countries that executed more people than the USA were Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. What do you know about those 3 countries? What does that say about the USA?

Closing Session: Ticket out the door – 3-2-1: Write 3 things you learned today, 2 questions you still have, and 1 thing that surprised you.

Assessment: Debate sheets may be summatively assessed; Formative assessment of TOTDs.

Differentiation: Process (students may avoid throwing if needed); Content (alternate debate topic if needed).



  • RL.9-10.7. Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

Learning Target: I will learn about circle 3, then I will analyze design choices of an artist’s interpretation of the 9 circles of Hell as characters, understanding what the artist chose to emphasize in their treatment of Dante’s work.

Opening Session: Daily video! You know I can’t let you get away without watching ThugNotes! 

Work Session: Welcome to Circle 3: GLUTTONY!

Today we are going to read a Sparknotes Summary of circle 3, canto VI. This particular circle isn’t in our book, so we’re turning to some outside sources for it. After we finish the discussion of the circle, you’ll do your collaborative poster project activity for the day, and then…. dundunDUN! We have a VIDEO!

This is an episode of the TV show Face Off, which is on Syfy, and it’s all about movie makeups. In this challenge, the contestants had to make characters inspired by Dante’s Inferno, which I think you will appreciate 🙂


After we watch the video, we will end class with this prompt: The guy that went home on Face Off. What did he do wrong? If you had his assignment in the challenge, how would you interpret it and what would you create? Be creative, feel free to draw a picture!

Closing Session: Ticket out the door: Poster project activity (see Monday’s post…or the sheet I gave you… you know, the one you kept in your binder, right? yeah that one…)

Assessment: Prompt responses will be graded; TOTDs will be graded at the end of the unit.

Differentiation: Process (student choice in poster activity); Product (various media of responses to prompt).