Document Type

Teacher Resource

Publication Date


Unit Name

Rhinocéros Eugène Ionesco


French IV-V students read the Theater of the Absurd play Rhinocéros by Eugène Ionesco. The foci of this unit are more oriented toward history, politics, global awareness, and unexamined assumptions (les idées reçues) than theater as such. Students do, however, present most of the play in the Reader’s Theater style. The pre-reading activity introduces the final evaluation of the unit. Students first associate animals to ideologies and concepts. This first activity also allows the instructor to introduce the ideas fanaticism, totalitarianism, and conformism. The final assessment asks each student to chose one country, not necessarily a French speaking country. For approximately two weeks, they read news articles, and newspaper editorials and blogs, watch video or listen to radio stations with the goal of learning how the chosen country views the United States. Students whose parents are from another county may choose their country of origin, interview family members, and use them as a resource. I tell students to focus primarily on politics, daily life, history, and the economy. After completing the research, the student chooses the animal that the country might chose to best represent the US. Students must justify their choice based on the research, provide quotes, and they must submit a bibliography/sitography. This project-evaluation is less interested in the “right” answer than in how students arrive at their decision, and that it be evidence based. It incorporates ACTFL’S Five Cs and develops 21st Century Skills, Information Literacy, and Initiative and Self-direction, and the Global Awareness theme.

Grade Level

Secondary Education, French IV-V



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