Studying any Shakespeare text is a challenging task. The texts were written 400 years ago in a different time, different culture, with different gender roles and a different context. For us, it isn’t that we try and are able to read the original or modern translation of the text on a first try; for us, it’s more important that we understand the storyline and the different connections we can make between the play and our own world and lives.
For that reason, you’re going to “get to know” Shakespeare and the play of Hamlet before we read it. Understanding the basics of plot and expectations of Shakespeare plays in advance will make reading through the play go much easier and our conversations can be of a deeper topic, like motivations of characters, development of conflicts, and more.
With a partner or on you own, do some online research and learn about each of the following elements of the writing/author listed below. You’re expected to write out by hand what information you find and collect from online, since handwriting leads to longer-lasting memories and understanding.
Why is he still so popular in modern times and today? How is he represented by our mass media?
Why is he still taught in schools, when there are so many other great authors and texts that have been developed in the last 400 years?
Are William’s stories original or copies of other people’s existing stories?
Most significant/unique features of his writing?
What is the format of a Shakespeare drama – a five act play?
Was Shakespeare a single person? What evidence is there that he was multiple people?
Even in the tragedy plays, like Hamlet, there is always a comedy element. What is the purpose for this?
What was believed at the time, 400 years ago, of ghosts and their use in plays? What did they represent?
The play Hamlet
What interesting facts or trivia can you find of this play?
What types of modern retellings of the play are there? For example, are there movies that are based on this plot/story but altered a bit? What are they? Ex: The Lion King
This play is a classic Elizabethan Tragedy Play – what are the characteristics of this?
Characters of the Play – (you can make a concept map or chart for these responses)
What two family groups are there in the play?
What characters are neutral – loyal to both sides of the family feud?
Who are the main characters? Secondary characters?
Are there any archetype or stock characters in this film? Identify a few.
What makes a tragic hero?
How are women typically represented in Shakespeare’s plays? How do they typically die and what does that say of how they were considered at the time?
What was the purpose or role of “madness” used in Shakespeare’s plays?
What themes exist in the play?
What is the plot of the play? How do things develop, become more complicated, and then are resolved? (Note – you might decide to avoid learning the final outcome of the play, to naturally enjoy it as we read/perform it.)
Develop five questions you are left with now that you hope to have answered by the time we’ve performed and read the play.
Your next assignment is to select a poem of appropriate difficulty level and at least 15 lines and to dramatically perform it for the class. To help you get a sense of poems that would be suitable for this assignment, I’m going to give you a few links of ones that would work well for your choice.
This will be our last big project in ELA 9 this year. You have typically been free to select your own novel for independent reading, but this time you’ll select from one of two options:
The Outsiders is a short novel based around two opposing groups of youth from a small community. It’s set in the 1960s and focuses on one young boy’s struggle to figure out who he is as he faces tough peer pressure.
Lord of the Flies is also a short novel based on a group of boys whose plane is shot down during War. With no adults surviving and being stranded on an island in the Pacific, the boys have to establish some method of decision making. There are conflicts over what type of government style they want for their new, temporary society.
I only have a few paper copies of these books, so you may likely read them on your iPads. Here are digital copies of both books. Download them so they stay on your devices. You’ll also be highlighting parts as you read and you’ll need to refer back to those parts for an after-reading project.
We’ve recently finished studying events in history where culture groups were in need of protection from persecution. It’s a pretty heavy, but important, topic!
In our discussions yesterday we made comparisons of more recent world events, after the Travel Ban (#1) was enacted in America. The reactions from people across the USA were amazing to see; the positive reactions were amazing. The negative ones, discouraging.
I said I’d collect some of the examples so you can see what happened.
The Lumineers – the lead singer, Wesley, mentioned his father died ten years ago and he thought he was managing that loss, until one day he needed a pair of black dress socks and went to borrow a pair from his father’s sock drawer. In it, he found a pistol – a pistol he never knew his father owned.
The following song is about that moment and his processing of that new information. He mentioned the struggle, the reality of his father’s loss then, realizing he had questions he knew could never be answered.
A question a young student might ask is “why do people write poetry” and “why do we read poetry”?
People write poetry in moments like Wesley’s, in an effort to process something important in their life.
Others then will read that poetry to help them understand their own experiences, see how others processed those difficult thoughts and emotions, and develop a wider understanding of what it means to be human and interact with others.
We also watched another video, a true exchange between two exes who still held hurt from their relationship. Does this seem like a typical type of exchange between two exes, from your experience of romantic relationships?
Hi there from far away! Below are the Introductions the Canadian students have made to share with our new German friends. We’re really looking forward to whatever we each gain from this exchange of cultures and ideas!
There’s been some amazing work developed by students working through this Visualization project. The options were available to create many types, but most stuck to choosing between creating a new Book Jacket Cover and creating a Novel Periodic Table of Elements, and the end results are so cool!
Now that this project is over, though, it’s time to look back and reflect on decisions made, successes and goals for another time, and overall how pleased you are with yourself for the work you’ve done.
Take some time to develop your personal response to each of the following prompts. When you’ve answered them all:
find a quiet spot and audio record your personal reflections of these questions.
Note: We do speaking activities for different purposes. In this instance, imagine you’re talking to yourself down the road. You’re going to grow in skills and confidence as a student and, a year or two from now in High School, you’ll look back at this activity and listen to yourself recount whether it was a challenge, how you faced that challenge, and what goals you hoped to achieve in this type of activity in the future. Tell yourself what you’re proud of and what you hope to improve in.
take a photo of your visualization project
When done, embed your audio and image into your Blog with an appropriate title. This is an AR Task; you can either post it as a new Post to your blog or add it to your AR Reflections Page.
Identify the novel you chose and review the story line
Whether you would recommend a friend read it as well and why
What you can say of the author’s style of writing and how it’s unique
Choice of Visualizing Project:
Did you do the book jacket, periodic table or other?
Reasoning for your choice – Why did you pick that type of project and not another?
Decisions made along the way of your project:
What type of roadblocks did you encounter that you had to work around/figure out? Describe them and how you solved them.
Challenges: What other challenges existed in the project you developed? Explain/Describe
Your Reaction to your Challenges:
Did you stretch your abilities?
Did you try things that took yourself out of your comfort zone?
What type of risk-taking did you do?
How did you mentally handle the work you were doing?
Did you demonstrate any resiliency, an ability to overcome and work through some stressful times and obstacles?
Did you quit any part of your project or give up on an idea because it was too hard? Explain.
Identify a “yet” target – something you can’t do yet that would have helped you be successful in this project. Explain your choice.
End Result of the Project:
Are you proud of your work or let down? Explain.
Advice to another future student before they start this project – what should they know before beginning?
I give myself ____ out of 5 stars on my end project, because ______________.
I give myself ____ out of 5 stars for my strategies, choices, and problem-solving on this project, because __________________.
I give this Project Activity ___ out of 5 stars, because ________________.