More Bridging Ideas for, “All My Sons”, “The Miracle Worker” and “Twelve Angry Men”

Richard Curwin, the director of the graduate program in behavior disorders at David Yellin College in Jerusalem and the author of Discipline with Dignity, recently wrote an article for the Jerusalem Post (November 17, 2013) in which he recommends suggestions for teachers to follow in making homework assignments more useful and consistent:

1) Homework should always include choices.

2) Homework should always be interesting.

3) Homework should be reasonable, in that teachers don’t overload the students with too much.

4) If a parent tells you that her child is getting too much work, listen to her.

This list struck me as something that is essential to keep in mind when we are working on the new literature module and teaching English as a foreign language. The questions, especially the Higher Order Thinking (HOT) questions lend themselves to choices. The teachers can allow the students to choose which questions to answer, since the program provides for teaching at least six higher order thinking skills, and there are many questions from which to chose. Teachers could take from a bank of questions in the books or from the Teaching through Literature and Culture  site and give the students the options of which ones they will answer.

When we are asking our students to think,  it is always interesting, for them and for us.  It is also essential that we do not overload our students with too much work. To ask a student to answer a few questions or to write one bridging exercise for homework will enable them to focus on a small but thought-provoking task.

The following ideas are for you to use as bridging text and context questions for your 5 point students for three full- length pieces of literature.

All My Sons

By: Arthur Miller  (Taken from-

National Endowment for the Humanities      Rachel Galvin

1)“For nearly six decades, Miller has been creating characters that wrestle with power conflicts, personal and social responsibility, the repercussions of past actions and the twin poles of guilt and hope.”

How does this quotation connect to the play, All My Sons?

2)“I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing, his sense of personal dignity.”  Arthur Miller

How does this quotation connect to the play, All My Sons?

3) “Throughout his life and work, Miller has remained socially engaged and has written with conscience, clarity and compassion. His work is infused with his sense of responsibility to humanity.”

How does this quotation connect to the play, All My Sons?

Twelve Angry Men

By: Reginald Rose

1) In selecting a jury in the United States both the Defense and the Prosecution are allowed to interview those people called to serve on the jury. In the 1950’s (when this play was written) women and minorities could not serve on many juries in the U.S. It was only in 1975 that the United States Supreme Court ruled that women could not be excluded from jury duty and in 1979 they ruled that minorities could not be excluded from jury duty.

How does this information about jury selection connect to the play Twelve Angry Men?

2) The play, Twelve Angry Men, is considered a naturalistic play which means it takes place over one continuous span of time and in one place. Furthermore, it uses language that is natural; the people speak like regular people. The goal of naturalistic plays is not just to show how people are but also why they are the way that they are. In other words, what causes them to be the way they are.

How does this information about jury selection connect to the play Twelve Angry Men?

The following are quotations by Helen Keller which could be used as bridging exercises for play,  The Miracle Worker  By: William Gibson

1) We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

How does this quotation connect to the play, The Miracle Worker?

2)Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

How does this quotation connect to the play, The Miracle Worker?

3)Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

How does this quotation connect to the play, The Miracle Worker?

4)When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

How does this quotation connect to the play, The Miracle Worker?

Enjoy these bridging exercises with your students. By creating engaging and stimulating questions and assignments, your students will produce interesting and often creative responses!

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