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Teaching Guide

Teaching Ella Enchanted

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You want students to like Ella Enchanted the way the public liked Anne Hathaway back when she played Ella Enchanted. You don't want students to hate Ella Enchanted the way the public hated Anne Hathaway around the time she won her Academy Award.

You can do this by balancing out princesses and dresses with ogres and magic and by unlocking the magic of Shmoop.

In this guide you will find

  • reading quizzes to make sure students aren't just watching the movie.
  • activities about how fairy tales are often updated for modern audiences.
  • essay questions exploring choice and rebellion.

And much more.

You'll be Cinderella or Prince Charming, and this guide will be the little mice helping you out.

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  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop’s teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

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Instructions for You

Objective: Obedience can be a tricky topic, especially for kids your students' age. They're right at that interesting point in life where it can be cool to be a little bad. This will provide some great opportunities for discussion as you read Ella, since obedience is one of the biggest themes in the story, but we'd like to preface the book with a little anticipatory activity. In this one-class lesson, students will really dive into this whole idea of obedience: its definition, its significance in society, and its role in their own lives. So, tell your students to put their phones away (or you'll take 'em!), and let's begin.

Materials Needed: Student access to computers and a way to create and distribute anonymous surveys (e.g. Survey Monkey or Google Forms)

Step 1: Begin your discussion by writing the word "obedience" on the board and then asking students to take two minutes and jot down any words or phrases that they think of when they hear this word. Then, go around the room Round Robin style, asking each student to read one or two of their ideas aloud. Doubles are expected and are totally okay. Meanwhile, have a couple of students record everyone's responses on the board.

Step 2: So, based on your responses, what does obedience really mean? Come up with a definition as a class so you have something to work with.

Step 3: Now, it's time to have a little fun. Ask students to log on to a computer and direct them to the digital obedience survey you've created. Before they begin, assure them that their answers are completely anonymous and encourage them to be as honest as possible. No one will call home and tell their parents if their answers are, ugh, less than desirable.

Suggestions for scenarios are listed below to start you off. All answers should be a simple "yes" or "no."

  • You are standing alone at a crosswalk. There is absolutely no traffic, but the pedestrian crossing light is red. Would you cross the street?
  • You are standing at a crosswalk. There is absolutely no traffic, but the pedestrian crossing light is red. There is a father with two young children next to you, and they are getting ready to cross the street. Would you cross the street as well?
  • You are babysitting, and the parents gave you instructions that the children should go to sleep at 7:30, but they got involved in a TV show. The kids are too young to know the difference in the time, so the parents would never know if they stayed up later than 7:30. Would you let them watch the rest and stay up until 8:00?
  • You are babysitting, and the parents gave you instructions that the children should go to sleep at 7:30, but they got involved in a TV show. The kids are old enough to understand time and possibly tell their parents they got to stay up late. Would you let them watch the rest and stay up until 8:00? 
  • Your mom asks you to set the table. It takes her asking three more times until you actually do it. Has something like this ever happened to you?
  • Your dad gives you $20 and asks you to run out and pick up a few grocery items, then return the change. Would you ever keep a buck or two in order to save up for something you've been wanting?
  • You have a test coming up that you didn't study for. Would you ever fake having a stomachache to avoid the test?

Step 4: Ready for the big reveal? Share how many yeses each question got and analyze the results. (Huge props to the computer for doing the math for us.)

  • Which scenarios got the most yeses? Which got the least? Why do you think so?
  • What was it like to think about and answer those questions? Was it uncomfortable for anyone? Why?
  • Do you think everyone told the truth when answering? Why or why not?
  • What factors influence the choices you make—and whether you decide to obey? Why are people obedient?
  • Is anyone obedient all the time?
  • What is the role of obedience in our lives? Is it always good, always bad, or somewhere in between?

Instructions for Your Students

Obedience can be a tricky topic, especially at your age. You're right at that interesting point in life where it can be cool to be a little bad. This will provide some great opportunities for discussion as you read Ella, since obedience is one of the biggest themes in the story, but we'd like to preface the book with a little anticipatory activity. In this activity, you will really dive into this whole idea of obedience: its definition, its significance in society, and its role in your own life. So, put your phone away (or your teacher will take it!), and let's begin.

Step 1: Let's start with the word itself: "obedience." Take two minutes and jot down any words or phrases that you can think of when you hear this word. Then, we'll go around the room Round Robin style, and have each of you read one or two of your ideas aloud. Doubles are expected and are totally okay. Meanwhile, we'll need a couple of students to volunteer to record everyone's responses on the board.

Step 2: So, based on your responses, what does obedience really mean? Come up with a definition as a class so you have something to work with.

Step 3: Now, it's time to have a little fun. Log on to a computer—that's an order—and take the digital obedience survey your teacher has created. Before you begin, though, let us assure you that your answers are completely anonymous, so please be as honest as possible. No one will call home and tell your parents if your answers are, ugh, less than desirable.

Step 4: Ready for the big reveal? Let's see how many yeses each question got and analyze the results. (Huge props to the computer for doing the math for us.)

  • Which scenarios got the most yeses? Which got the least? Why do you think so?
  • What was it like to think about and answer those questions? Was it uncomfortable for anyone? Why?
  • Do you think everyone told the truth when answering? Why or why not?
  • What factors influence the choices you make—and whether you decide to obey? Why are people obedient?
  • Is anyone obedient all the time?
  • What is the role of obedience in our lives? Is it always good, always bad, or somewhere in between?

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Common Core Standards  

The following standards are covered in this course:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.10
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.9
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.10
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.8
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.9
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.3

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING ELLA ENCHANTED?

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Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Quizzes    Flashcards    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
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