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Download Dialogue Handout

Awakening to the Art of Mary Cassatt

Students integrate the paintings of Mary Cassatt into their study of The Awakening by Kate Chopin in this creative activity. First, students imagine Cassatt's famous images depicting women in the 19th century actually portray characters in the novel, then write dialogues between the characters that explore the role of women in Victorian times.

Grade Level(s)

Curriculum Area
English/Language Arts (American Literature)

Time Required
1 class period

Standards Connections
Materials/Resources Needed
Necessary Technical Skills
Student Activities

Standards Connections
  • National Standards:
    • Standards for the English Language Arts (NCTE/IRA)/Standard 3: Applying Strategies to Comprehend Text, 4: Adjusting Written Language for Purpose, and Standard 8: Using Technological and Informational Resources
  • State Standards:
    • Maryland School Performance Program
      3.12.4 Personal Narrative Writing. Students will express personal ideas in plays,biographies, short stories, autobiographies, and other writings.
    • See www.explorasource.com for more state standards connections.
  • District Standards (fill in your own)
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Students will:
  • Compare the art of Mary Cassatt to the novel The Awakening.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of character relationships through the creation of an imaginative dialogue.
  • Discuss the artistic efforts of women in the late 19th century who strove to challenge the conventional gender roles of Victorian times.
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Materials/Resources Needed
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Necessary Technical Skills

  1. Students must be able to open a Pocket Word document, format and edit text, and save the file.
  2. Students must know how to access websites using Pocket Internet Explorer and beam and receive files.
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Student Activities

Step 1
  1. Beam the handout to the first two students as they come through the door. Each student can beam the worksheet to two more students until everyone has the assignment on the handheld. Or email the document to your entire class.
  2. Have students open the Dialogue handout and cut and paste the URL into Pocket Internet Explorer. Tip: The website in this lesson will display best if the text wraps to fit the screen. Within Pocket IE, go to View>Fit to Screen and make sure it is checked.
  3. Go over the instructions on the handout with the students. The handout describes how each student will read about Mary Cassatt and then select one of her paintings on the website (http://www.oir.ucf.edu/wm/paint/auth/cassatt/). Students imagine that the painting is from a scene in Kate Chopin's The Awakening and write a creative dialogue based on their understanding of the characters in the novel.
  4. Provide enough time in class for students to read about Mary Cassatt and write their individual dialogues.

Step 2
  1. After students have finished writing, consider having pairs of students act out their dialogues in front of the class.
  2. Ask students to select partners and exchange their dialogues by beaming them to each other. Students should correct any errors they find in each other's writing.
  3. Student can either select one of the dialogues to perform for the class or act out both dialogues. Allow them enough time to plan and practice their skits.
  4. After partners have performed for the class, collect everyone's final drafts via email or beaming.

*Lesson plan provided by Lin Storey, 11th grade English teacher, River Hill High School in Howard County, Maryland.
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