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Ethics and satire


A lesson on ethical considerations when writing satire for a student publication


Students will learn about some ethical considerations to make when creating satire, then create their own satire paragraphs


  • Students will learn how satire can have negative consequences and how to be aware of possible challenges.
  • Students will write satire paragraphs of their own.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Ethics and satire

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 15  minutes

Take a moment to remind students of class rules and discuss guidelines for discussing controversial things with the class. Then ask them about things that were supposed to be funny, but they found offensive. There’s a good chance students will have very different ideas, and there will be a good deal of debate. As students answer, ask them where humor crosses the line from being funny to being hurtful. Does being funny mean people can be less careful with how others may take their words?

Use the slideshow presentation to introduce and explain ethical considerations while writing satire.

2. Satire paragraphs — 20 minutes

Have students get out their assignments from the previous class period. Students will review their ideas and select the best ones to write a paragraph from. Provide time to work on their paragraphs, monitoring student progress and offering suggestions as needed.

3. Share in groups — 15 minutes

Divide students into groups of 3-4 to share their paragraphs with each other and suggest revision. Remind them that the satire piece is due at the end of the week.