AP Lang: Shooting an Elephant SOAPSTone


  • ELAGSE11-12RI1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. Georgia ELA
  • ELAGSE11-12RI3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text. Georgia ELA
  • ELAGSE11-12RI2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text. Georgia ELA

Learning Target
Students will examine Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” and perform a SOAPSTone analysis to consider the effects of mass hysteria.

Opening Session
VOCAB! Take ten minutes to define these words and then let’s unpack them together:

  1. Hysteria
  2. Allegory
  3. Puritanism
  4. Crucible **Get both definitions!
  5. Juxtapose
  6. Paranoia
  7. Persecute
  8. Creed
  9. Heathen
  10. Partisan

Work Session
After we do vocab, we’re going to be reading an essay by a guy named George Orwell. If you ever read Animal Farm or 1984, this is the same author! Today we’re reading “Shooting an Elephant.”

I’m giving you copies of the text, so I want you to read and annotate as you go. You may NOT use a highlighter – use a pen or pencil to underline, circle, make notes in the margins, etc. The reason I’m saying no highlighters is because you’re not allowed to have them on the AP test 🙂

We’re going to use a reading strategy called SOAPSTone to talk about this essay today.

  • Speaker
  • Occasion
  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • Subject
  • Tone

Make a chart with all those letters on your own paper, and we’ll go through each of them together so you have a solid understanding of the essay.

After reading, annotating, and SOAPSTone-ing, I want you to answer some critical reading questions, which I’ll put on the board for you to answer on your own paper.

Closing Session
Think-Pair-Share: Think for a minute about how the concept of hysteria applies to the essay we read today. Discuss what you think with a partner, and then we’ll take a few volunteers to share.

Formative (reading questions, class discussions)

Process (Scaffolding, annotated text as needed)

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