ALEX Lesson Plan


Trying to Make a $1 out of 15 Cents: "A Pair of Silk Stockings" 

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Sonja N. Hill
System: Birmingham City
School: Ramsay High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33227


Trying to Make a $1 out of 15 Cents: "A Pair of Silk Stockings" 


Students will analyze historical contexts, especially political and social influences of a woman in the 1890s and make real world connections to today.  

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
25. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. [W.11-12.7]
ELA2015 (11)
27. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.11-12.9]
a. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Demonstrate knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics"). [W.11-12.9a] (Alabama)
b. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., Analyze seminal United States documents of historical and literary significance [e.g., Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"]), including how they address related themes and concepts. [W.11-12.9b] (Alabama)

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to:

  • identify a character's motivation
  • make a real world connection to a text based on the value of the dollar

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

"A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin, play money or index cards with a money value written on it, historical investigation handout

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access or web enabled devices such as a smart phone


This lesson should follow students reading "A Pair of Silk Stockings."

  1. (Before Lesson)- To build background knowledge, as students enter the classroom, give them $15 in play money (or an index card with $15 written on it).  Students must write down how to best use the money; save it, buy something they need, or buy something they want.
  2. Facilitate a discussion on what they decided to do with their money and the rationale for their choices.  
  3. (During Lesson)- Students will make a prediction on how much money they would need today to purchase the same items Mrs. Sommers purchases in the story (silk stockings, shoes, gloves, magazine, expensive lunch, and a theater ticket).
  4. Place students in small groups (3-4 students) to investigate the value of those same items today. Give each group one or two items to research, depending on the number of groups in the class. (about 15 minutes)
  5. Groups may use any device which has internet access (smartphone, iPad, laptop, or desktop computer) in order to do the investigation.
  6. Students will complete the graphic organizer handout connecting the historical context to evidence from the text. (about 15 minutes)
  7. (After the lesson)- Students will evaluate their predictions they made about the value of the dollar and compare their choices with Mrs. Sommers' choices.  Facilitate a debate on the choices Mrs. Sommers makes; was she selfish or was she expressing her independence?

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Assessment Strategies

Formative assessments of the graphic organizer connecting the historical context with the evidence from the text.  Students should include specific references to text with a direct quote for each statement.


To extend the lesson, students may write a dialectical journal entry discussing how the quote reflects Mrs. Sommers' motivation for her choices.


For students who may need extra assistance, complete the first two items on the graphic organizer as a whole group discussion to model how to locate evidence from the text.  

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.