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Teaching Persepolis

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Katie Cunningham

on 12 May 2015

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Transcript of Teaching Persepolis

Week One
Week Two
Week Four
Week Three
Teaching Persepolis
Guiding Questions
How do cultural ideas and movements shape our lives and philosophies?
What are the components of a good story, and how effective are graphic novels in conveying these components?
What happened in the Iranian revolution? What are the different perspectives?
What does it mean to grow up?
Day Two: Introduction to Iranian History
Part 1: Full-Class Introduction

History from

Crash Course World History
(The first four minutes or so)

Self-generated timeline.

Part 2: WebQuest

Define key names, dates; find a current Iranian political blog; fill in a map; share findings with others.
Day One: Carousels
On the day before the students start to read the novel, have them pre-think about the big questions.

Carousel questions:
1. What forces form our personalities and opinions? What factors have formed your personalities and opinions?
2. What are the pros and cons of graphic novels and movies? Are some forms of storytelling "better" than others?
3. What do you know about Iran and Iranian history? Islam and Islamic history?
4. What does it mean to grow up?
Day Nine: Marjane Map
Have students think about Marjane's influences and development by drawing and labeling her on butcher paper: encourage them to be creative in representation.
Days Six, Seven, and Eight:
Cultural and Ideological Presentations
Form student groups of three and four.

Have students, as a group, choose an extension topic to study from
Communism, the veil, torture, types of "decadence," famous Iranian protests and demonstrations, fundamentalist Islam, the Qajar dynasty, the shahs, Khomeini, etc.

Gives students work time in class to prepare short presentations; have them present over a few class periods.

Day Eleven: Immigration Stories
Choose an appropriate reading about immigration: for instance, "The Secret Garden" by Azadeh Moaveni, which is used by the Portland School District for their

Have students read the selection, then ask them to fill out a graphic organizer with a partner. What does it mean to have an eye-opening experience? What would be difficult about moving to a new place? What would be difficult about moving to your school from a different country?
Day Twelve: Perspectives
Assign students small groups and characters. Have them brainstorm adjectives and significant events to describe that character.

Then answer the question: what does the Iranian revolution mean to this character? How do they react/how are they reacting to it?
Day Four: Other Perspectives

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-iranian-coup

Iran Chamber Society: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/coup53/coup53p1.php

The Smithsonian: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/inside-irans-fury-11823881/?onsite_medium=internallink&page=1

Activity: Read one article closely. Then, pair up with two other classmates. Share the articles and fill out a worksheet comparing the different perspectives.
Veil: law and personal religion
Ears: "decadent" American pop
Mind: parents' progressivism
Heart: Respect and love for her grandmother and Anoosh
Whole Unit Activity: Journaling
Day Ten: Whole-Class Discussion
Ask students to participate in a whole-class discussion. Provide the questions ahead of time so students prepare their answers.

Questions (along the lines of):
1. What are the political ideologies we have seen so far in this novel?
2. How is Marjane navigating between these ideologies? How are you navigating between them?
3. Are Marjane's parents right to protest, but bar her from protesting as well? Are they taking too many risks?
Days Thirteen and Fifteen:
Comic Book Project
Introduction: Introduce students to graphic novel vocabulary. Split them into groups of two and give each group a chapter to reread. Ask: how does the pictorial quality of this novel enhance this particular chapter? Share as a large group.

Project: Tell students to choose the character they relate to most. Then have them create their own comic strips. One comic strip will reinterpret the events of
from that character's point of view. Ask students to put themselves into that character's shoes. Also ask students to be mindful of the effective elements of graphic novels.
Days Fourteen and Eighteen: Movie Days
Show the
movie in two days, splitting between parts one and two. Engage in discussion with students over which mediums are more effective: movie, graphic novel, or print. Should all be taught in the classroom?

Conversation with Marjane Satrapi: Was it a good idea to make a movie?
Day Nineteen:
Marjane Compare/Contrast
Day Twenty: In-Class Write
Have students show their thinking throughout the unit by writing on the ideas in
and how these ideas have influenced Marjane's personal development. They may include analysis on the real-life Marjane as well.

This is one of their final assessments. The other is the finished comic product, which shows their ability to think about point of view and the graphic novel as a medium.
For each reading assignment, ask students to keep a reading journal. In this journal, they should trace: 1) the ideas presented and how they affect Marjane; 2) their own reactions/connections to what they are reading; and 3) any questions they might have.
Think about Marjane at the end of
and Satrapi as she presents herself today:

"On Writing
": http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/43801/marjane-satrapi/

"I Must Return Home to Iran Again": http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/opinion/04iht-edsatrapi.html?_r=0.

How do these ideas compare with the end of
? How is the character of Marjane similar or different to Satrapi? Do we see ourselves differently than others see us?

Full transcript