English Language Arts, Reading Informational Text
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Jr.
  • Martin Luther King
  • Narratives
  • Writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    The Laws in Thebes

    The Laws in Thebes


    In this lesson, students discuss the ending of Antigone and retake the survey about justice that they took in Lesson 1. They will also write about how the laws in Thebes have shaped the lives of the characters who live there.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Begin to schedule regularly reading conferences with groups of students or individuals as they work on their Independent Reading.

    The Ending of Antigone

    • Facilitate a class discussion about the end of Antigone.
      • SWD: Encourage students with disabilities to discuss. This is an opportunity for students to show their understanding and for the teacher to check their understanding.
      • ELL: Be sure that all students participate in sharing with the group, and monitor that ELLs do not avoid this activity, as it is important that they share out loud so that they can hear their own voice and get used to talking in front of large groups.
    • Near the end of the discussion revisit Justice—Take a Stand from Lesson 1 and ask whether students have changed their positions after reading Antigone.


    Engage in a discussion with your classmates about the ending of Antigone.

    • Clarify the events of the last part of the play.
    • What does the play say about the rule of law?

    As the discussion comes to an end, revisit Justice: Take a Stand from Lesson 1.

    • Have you changed any of your positions after reading Antigone?

    Discuss the changes you notice with your classmates.

    Sympathies of Sophocles

    • Give students about 3 minutes for their Quick Writes.
    • Facilitate a brief discussion.
    • Use these probing questions when students have had their say:
      • ✓ What does this play say about law?
      • ✓ What are the differences between moral laws and civil laws? Encourage them to think of any instances today where citizens oppose a government law or policy because they are following another moral or religious law.
      • ✓ In their opinion, was Creon’s law unjust? Why?
    • ELL: In posing these questions be sure that your pace is adequate and that you are providing ample wait-time to allow for a thoughtful response. If needed at any point, present the questions in writing if you think that will support the students. Allow students to use dictionaries before responding if there are words in your questions that they don’t understand.
    • Once you cut off the discussion, raise the question of whether Antigone, a princess of Thebes, is given special treatment because of her status in the community.
      • ✓ Is she treated unfairly or given special treatment because she is a woman?

    Work Time

    Complete a Quick Write.

    • Where do the sympathies of Sophocles lie, and how do you know?

    Open Notebook

    Share your response with your partner.

    Then share your response with your classmates and join in a larger discussion:

    • What do you think was Sophocles’s purpose in writing the play?
    • Who was his audience?
    • How could the position he took be dangerous?

    How Law and Social Class Shape Character

    • Give students the remaining class time to draft a “seed” essay.
      • SWD: Offer suggestions for students to scaffold this activity by. For example, they could create a graphic organizer to plot out their ideas before they begin drafting their argument.
      • ELL: Remind students that they can use dictionaries and spell-checkers while constructing their responses. Consider providing these sentence frames (or others) in writing to help students in this activity.
    • Although students are writing, they are applying what they have understood from the reading. Reading and writing are integrated. You can use their writing as a formative assessment to determine which students understand the play.

    Work Time

    Think about how the laws in Thebes have shaped the lives of the characters who live there.

    • Write an explanation in which you show how legal institutions and perspectives and status in society have shaped the life of one character, including possibly the character’s thoughts, actions, and identity.

    Open Notebook

    This writing will not be revised and edited at this point. However, it may be the start of a process for writing an essay due later in the unit.

    After checking your work, submit your writing to your teacher.

    Law and Social Status

    • Begin to schedule regular reading conferences with groups of students or individuals as they work on their Independent Reading.


    Share two ideas with a partner.

    • One idea from your writing about how law shaped a character’s life
    • One idea about how a character’s social status shaped his or her life

    Independent Reading

    • Remind students to continue reading their Independent Reading Group Novel and to turn in journal entries.


    Continue your ongoing homework assignment.

    • Read your Independent Reading Group Novel.
    • Remember to submit two journal entries a week to your teacher and publish some of your journal entries so others can read your work.