21st Century Integration Model

Title: Capturing Fractured Families in American Drama
Subject: Language Arts
Grade Level: 9 through 12
See Mrs. C's Senior English Blogs, an example of an English teacher's blog in which students are expected to contribute to discussions.

Lesson Summary

In conjunction with reading Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams, and Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'Neill, ARTSEDGE suggests an in-depth study of the role of dysfunctional families in modern American plays. To give students an authentic audience for their comparative critique discussions, have them post discussions to a class blog and respond to comments made about their discussions. This format will insure that all students in class actively participate in the class discussion. An added bonus, if the blog is available to the wide world instead of just the school or class (teacher/district rules and choice should determine this) is that students may receive feedback on their discussions from around the world.

Original Lesson Plan

Original Objectives

Students will:

  • Probe possible causes of breakdown in relationships within families
  • Collect biographical data on the lives of two of America's most valued playwrights
  • Exercise oral play-reading skills
  • Explore the nature of modern tragedy and modern concepts of the "heroic"
  • Add range to their understanding of ways dramatic force is achieved through structural patterns, diction, tone quality, rhythms of syntax, and pace of dialogue
  • Appreciate the value of the playwright's stage performance directions
  • Experience growth in the writing process, skills of research, collaboration, oral presentation, contextual and comparative analysis
  • Experience and appreciate the work of two of America's most valued playwrights

21st Century Skills Integration Objective(s)

Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by making and supporting analytical comments during their discussion of the two plays. Students will demonstrate ICT skills by posting discussions to a blog, and responding to comments that are submitted to the blog.


  1. Before Lesson: If you do not already have a blog for your class, create one using Blogger. (See Supporting Teacher Resources for help, if needed.) Provide your students with the link to your blog. Create a new blog entry for each discussion question. There are several discussion questions in the original lesson which you might want to use for your blog. You may have others you would like students to deal with, as well.
  2. During Lesson: At the point in the lesson at which you "initiate comparative critiques of O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night and Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," introduce the blog to the class. For the blogging assignment, each student should post an original paragraph to the discussion of at least one of the discussion questions and make a response comment to at least one of the original comments made by another student. Depending on your class, you may wish to increase these requirements.


The original lesson provides for the assessment of the critical analysis content of the discussions. The assessment of the 21st century skill can be measured based on whether a student exceeds, meets, or does not complete the required number and kind of blog entries.