Stop. Collaborate and Listen (to each other).

“Stop.  Collaborate and listen.” is not just the opening line of Vanilla Ice’s tune ‘Ice Ice Baby’.



Literature Conference 2017: Red or Dead

As an English teacher, you must know by now that my philosophy is READ OR DEAD.   You will be tested on your knowledge of both texts in the first week of term 3.  For the study of both texts, we will be adopting the idea of RED or DEAD.


photo credit: by revengeforwanda
Photography / Conceptual©2010-2016

Welcome to the 2017 Literature Conference: ‘Red or Dead’.  This will be an opportunity to share a wealth of insights and interpretations of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale and Arthur Miller’s historically significant play, The Crucible.

As delegates at the conference you will need to prepare your material thoroughly.  Each group will be assigned a broad theme from the text to analyse.  You will need to re-read and re-think this theme and present your analysis of its significance within the context of the rest of the novel and the play.  You should locate four key chapters or sections in two texts which you believe are crucial to helping understand this idea.  You can expect to be cross-examined by other delegates.


Your presentation will offer your group’s insights and interpretations of the following in your chapters with reference to their significance in the whole of the text:

  • themes, issues and ideas:
  • characters
  • comparison and contrast



Your group’s presentation will take the following form:

  • be shown via Google slideshare;
  • be 20-25 minutes in length and 15 minutes for class question and answer;

Content will include:

  • quotations from both textswith page numbers for easy reference;
  • an image per theme to act as an aide memoir and to symbolise the chapter’s significance;
  • anaysis of the language choices of Atwood and Miller contribute to their presentation of characters and exploration of themes;
  • offer a theory about what these texts suggest about what it means to be human.


Ongoing: class time and homework:

  • re-read the novel in light of the conference focus;
  • share your insights and interpretations as a group for consensus and quality control;
  • organise your notes, ideas and slides into a coherent presentation;
  • take notes from the presentations of other students
  • truly collaborate.



Group Members Theme




A single lesson will be dedicated to each group presentation.  Delegates in the audience will be expected to keep a set of notes by annotating their texts and using their theme chart sheets to record ideas.  They will also be expected to engage the presenters in a dialogue regarding the nature of their findings in the question and answer section of the class.

These will be delivered in random order beginning of term 3.


  1. Each group will submit their slideshow for teacher and peer review


‘RED OR DEAD’ COMMON ASSESSMENT TASK: to be produce ‘The Ultimate Study Guide’ to The Handmaid’s Tale and The Crucible’.  This task will be broken into several hurdle sections and will be submitted individually:

  1.  Character Map (graphic organiser)   DUE: Fri 28 July (Comparison Guide Character Maps Sample)
  2. Characters and Relationships task (prose/bullet points/graphic organiser) You need to explain in approximately 1500 words and organised under characters’ names.  You need to explain the nature of the relationship (eg. levels of trust; shared or contrasting experiences, views, values, desires; connections and lack of connections and the type of connections these are).   DUE: Friday 4 August
  3. Themes, Issues and Ideas Presentations (presentation)  DUE: 7 August ongoing (random order)
  4. Essay Topics (prose)  DUE:  Friday 1 September