Lesson Plan: The Legacy of Margaret Laurence
Briefly review with students what
they know about Margaret Laurence. If they have not completed the activity
Scavenger Hunt, they may wish to do it now.
Present the following quotation (from a speech entitled "My Final Hour") to students: "I have always believed I had to live as well as to write, to be a citizen and a person and a mother and a friend as well as a writer." Ask what students feel the quotation reveals about the author.
Outline the Opportunity
Divide the class into 6 small
groups. Assign each group one or two of the clips on the topic Margaret Laurence: Canada's Divine Writer" on
the CBC Digital Archives website to analyze. The clips "A difficult childhood"
and "Laurence's first novel" should be done by the same group, as should "Laurence's
books banned" and "Laurence dies at 60".
Have students view the assigned clips, then view it again and take
point-form notes. Questions for them to consider are: What is Laurence's place
in the canon of Canadian literature? Why is she one of the most beloved,
revered, and respected Canadian authors? What is her legacy? Why do her
characters live on in the hearts of her readers?
When students are finished, have them share with their group their own opinion about Laurence.
Revisit and Reflect
Create new groups that include a member of each of the original groups so that there is an 'expert' on each clip in each group. In the new groups, each person should summarize his or clip for the group, then lead a brief discussion on the views expressed in the clip.
Students can write a few paragraphs summarizing what they learned from their peers and from their own work about Laurence's legacy. They can include notes about what they would still like to know about her work and which of her works they would be interested in reading.