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Andrea M. Hill
Civil Peace: Technology Lesson Plan

Technology lesson plan based on Chinua Achebe's short story "Civil Peace"

“CIVIL PEACE” by Chinua Achebe

W401 Lesson Plan Template


Lesson designer:  Andrea M. Hill                                                                            

Last revision date: 01 December 2005


Target audience

  This lesson plan is geared toward a sophomore general education English class.  The classroom, along with the school, contains less than 1% students who fall into racially and/or ethnically identified groups.  Of the approximately 26 students in the class, all are white, lower to middle class and have grown up and lived in a rural environment their entire lives.  The high school is the only high school in the area, servicing all of the students in the town as well as the immediate surrounding areas. 

  While the students’ prior knowledge on West African civil wars is most likely non-existent, they do contain an abundance of prior knowledge relating to the themes and general concepts expressed in the short story.  I am currently unaware of any exceptional learners with special needs; however, this lesson is tailored to accommodate the needs and learning styles of diverse learners. 



  Since this lesson calls for using the overhead projector, group work and classdiscussion, the current classroom arrangement will be altered.  


While working in groups, the students will need to arrange their desks in fours.  For the beginning and end of the lesson the students will need to face the chalkboard.  A laptop with portable speakers will be set up on the teacher’s desk to play an audio clip.  The students will also need to face the television while viewing the movie clip.  For the end of the lesson, students will use the overhead projector and need to face the chalkboard/ overhead screen. 





Summary of lesson

While reading and analyzing Chinua Achebe’s short story “Civil Peace”, the students will review the basics of plot structure, find and analyze themes, build on prior knowledge and work in groups to evaluate the reading.  Student’s will experience the use of technology by listening to Chinua Achebe describe the circumstances surrounding the writing of this piece.  Students will not directly use technology, but they will experience it as a means of enhancing learning. Students will learn to build on prior knowledge to create a better understanding of a reading, using the prior knowledge to find commonalities between their lives and the main character’s.   



Overall learner goals

  1. Build on prior knowledge to contextualize a reading
  2. Find and relate themes to their lives
  3. Review story structure and demonstrate knowledge using a graphic organizer
  4. Work in groups using collaborative learning to analyze and evaluate the story
  5. Experience technology
  6. Expand their knowledge of world cultures and world events



Indiana Content Standards addressed

10.2.2 Extend - through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration - ideas presented in primary or secondary sources.

10.3.4 Analyze characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, and soliloquy (when they speak out loud to themselves).

10.3.12 Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period.

10.7.17 Deliver oral responses to literature that:

  • advance a judgment demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the significant ideas of works or passages.
  • support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text and to other works.
  • demonstrate awareness of the author’s writing style and an appreciation of the effects created.
  • identify and assess the impact of ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.


ISTE Technology Foundation Standards for Students addressed

3.  Technology productivity tools

  • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.


Student objectives for the lesson

Given the presence of all needed materials, by the end of this lesson students will:

  1. determine at least two main themes in the story and present them to the class
  2. in groups, outline the plot structure using a graphic organizer and present it to the class
  3. share their ideas regarding the circumstances of the time period studied by participating in classroom discussion


Length of lesson or activity

One class period; 75 minutes


Plan and schedule of activities


1.      Opening discussion (5 minutes):  (Building on prior knowledge) Have you ever lost anything?  Has anyone ever stolen anything from you?  How does it make you feel?  How would you feel if this just kept happening to you, day after day? 

2.      Relate to story (2 minutes):  The short story we are reading today deals with a man’s reactions to very trying circumstances.  This story takes place in the aftermath of a civil war in Nigeria.  As we read the story think about how you would respond in similar circumstances.

3.      Contextualize (2 minutes):  How many of you know about the civil war in Nigeria?  How many of you know where Nigeria is?  Place map on board and point out location of Nigeria.  Can anyone guess when a civil war there took place?  The one we’re reading about took place in 1970- that’s only 35 years ago.

4.      Historicize (3 minutes):  We’re going to listen to the author of the story, Chinua Achebe, describe the historical circumstances surrounding this novel.  Chinua Achebe is a famous author who lived during this civil war and survived the terrible times.  He has written numerous books about his experiences- and he often mixes history with fiction to tell about the times. 

5.      Discuss (5 minutes):  Did you realize that things like this still go on today?  How do you think you would react to these circumstances? 

6.      Reading Groups (20 minutes):  Give students directions then break them into groups.  In your reading groups you are to read the story aloud, taking turns.  Volunteer to read, no one has to read aloud.  When you are finished reading, raise your hand and I will bring you the directions to complete the next activity.

7.      Group Activity (10 minutes):  Fill out the graphic organizer.  You will present it to the class.  (Organizer includes Plot Structure -Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution, Themes)

8.      Reflection:  Groups who complete the activity early can begin on their reflection- others will have time at the end of class.  Use handout with writing prompts to do reflection.

9.      Presentations (15 minutes):  Bring class back together.  Have everyone turn their desks to face the board.  Each group presents one aspect of the graphic organizer to the class.  Ask questions to each group to spark discussion and further thought.

10.  Reflection:  For the rest of class continue working on the reflection

11.  Closing:  Ask students to share what they reflected on. 




List of materials needed

1.      Audio file, “An Interview with Chinua Achebe”

2.      Student texts, “Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes” Platinum Level with short story “Civil Peace”

3.      Graphic Organizer Handout

4.      Reading response prompts

5.      Computer with speakers

6.      writing utensils




1.      Progress on reading- group reading will be closely monitored by teacher

2.      Number of themes found and presented to class (collect group transparencies)

3.      Completion of graphic organizer and presentation

4.      Participation in discussion

5.      Written reflection



If the technology does not work, we will discuss what it was going to demonstrate and move onto the next activity.

This lesson incorporates modifications for students with learning disabilities in reading, reading comprehension and writing.  It also caters to students with emotional/behavioral disorders and students who are visual and auditory learners. 

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