Reading Shakespeare: Analyzing a Theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M2B:U1:L10

Reading Shakespeare: Analyzing a Theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas of a literary text. (RL.8.2)
  • I can analyze how specific dialogue or incidents in a plot propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. (RL.8.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can determine a theme of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • I can analyze how characters' words and actions reveal aspects of their character.

Ongoing Assessment

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream structured notes, 1.1.21-129 (from homework)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Engaging the Reader: Reviewing Gist (8 minutes)

     B.  Reviewing Learning Targets (1 minute)

2.  Work Time

     A. Drama Circle: Act 1, Scene 1, Part 2 (18 minutes)

     B.  Analyzing Theme: Evidence of Control Note-catcher (17 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Previewing Homework (1 minute)

4.  Homework

     A.  Reread 1.1.130-257 and complete the structured notes.

  • In this lesson, students finish reading Act 1, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream using the Drama Circle routine. As in Lessons 8 and 9, students' primary focus is on developing confidence and fluency in reading Shakespeare's language and comprehending the plot of the play. However, they also begin to study the theme of control as it relates to the play. This thematic study will continue throughout Units 1 and 2; do not worry if students are still mostly focused on basic comprehension at this point.
  • Students are introduced to the Evidence of Control note-catcher, which they will complete throughout the study of the play in preparation for their argument essay at the end of Unit 2. Be sure they keep this note-catcher in a safe, accessible place, since they will be referring to it and completing it often and will need it to gather evidence for the essay.
  • A sample Evidence of Control note-catcher for Teacher References is provided in the Supporting Materials of this lesson.  This sample note-catcher is meant to serve as a reference for the teacher as the types of evidence students will be collecting.  It is not an answer key, and should not be used as such.
  • On the note-catcher, A Midsummer Night's Dream is abbreviated to AMND. Clarify this for students.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

theme, character; devour (1.1.150), sway (1.1.197), visage (1.1.215), dote (1.1.231), oaths (1.1.249)

Materials

  • Document camera
  • Evidence of Control note-catcher (one per student and one to display)
  • Sample Evidence of Control note-catcher, For Teacher Reference (one, for teacher reference)
  • Play Map (from Lesson 8; one per student)
  • Tips for Reading Shakespeare handout (from Lesson 9; one per student)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (book; one per student)
  • Act 1, Scene 1 Teacher's Guide, Part 2 (for teacher reference)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream structured notes, 1.1.130-257 (one per student)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream supported structured notes, 1.1.130-257 (optional; for students who need extra reading support)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream Structured Notes Teacher's Guide, 1.1.130-257 (for teacher reference)

Opening

Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Reviewing Gist (8 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit with their Rochester discussion partners to discuss the gist of yesterday's reading (1.1.21-129) using their structured notes from last night's homework.
  • After a minute, cold call several pairs to share out. Listen for them to say that the gist of the reading was that Egeus wants his daughter, Hermia, to marry Demetrius, but she wants to marry Lysander instead. Egeus threatens to kill Hermia or make her become a nun if she disobeys him, and the duke, Theseus, agrees.
  • Continue to clarify as needed; this is a good opportunity to address any basic confusion about the characters and their basic relationships to one another. 

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (1 minute)

  • Read the learning targets aloud as students follow along silently:

*   "I can determine a theme of A Midsummer Night's Dream."

*   "I can analyze how characters' words and actions reveal aspects of their character."

  •  Remind students that a theme is a concept or idea that they can trace as they read the play.
  • Share that sometimes, as in the case of this play, characters' behavior shows their true personality or character.
  • Have students take out their Play Maps from Lesson 8 and Tips for Reading Shakespeare handout from Lesson 9 to use as references.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Drama Circle: Act 1, Scene 1, Part 2 (18 minutes)

  • Invite students to set their chairs up for today's Drama Circle. Be sure they have their text, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Assign parts for this scene: Lysander, Hermia, and Helena.
  • Have students read this scene aloud, starting on page 15 (1.1.130) and ending on page 23 (1.1.257).
  • After this first read, have students read the scene again. Consider switching roles for this second read. Explain that this time the class will pause to answer questions about what they read. (Refer to the Act 1, Scene 1 Teacher's Guide, Part 2 for detailed notes on guiding students through this scene.)
  • Consider splitting up the roles by page (Hermia 1, Hermia 2, etc.) so more students can participate in the Drama Circle. This also allows you to differentiate, as some pages have fewer lines than others.
  • Consider creating a nametag for each character to wear during the Drama Circle to help students keep them clear.
  • Because students are just beginning to build confidence reading Shakespeare aloud, consider playing one of the main roles yourself. This will allow students to hear longer chunks of the text read aloud fluently.
  • Consider appointing several students to act as "interpreters." When the Drama Circle read-aloud hits a particularly challenging bit of language, the interpreters are charged with referring to the left-hand page for explanatory notes, then reading or paraphrasing those notes for the class.

B. Analyzing Theme: Evidence of Control Note-Catcher (17 minutes)

  • Using a document camera, display then distribute the Evidence of Control note-catcher.Tell students you will now introduce them to the note-catcher they will use to record information about how characters attempt to control one another in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Be sure students understand that "AMND" is shorthand for the title of the play.
  • Emphasize to students that they will use the note-catcher to prepare for the End of Unit 2 Assessment, in which they will write an essay about the idea of control in the play.
  • Begin orienting students to the note-catcher by calling their attention to the left-hand side of the page. Tell students that each of the main characters' names is included on the note-catcher and they will be expected to record information about all of the characters listed.
  • Refocus students on the top row of the organizer. Ask them to read along the top row, from left to right, silently.
  • Explain that these questions ask students to think about characters' reasons for trying to control others, the methods or ways in which the try to control others, and the effects of their efforts to control others. By studying the idea of control throughout the story and finding the best textual evidence to support their answers, students will be well prepared for the End of Unit 2 Assessment.
  • Tell students you realize the note-catcher has many components, but stress that it flows logically and will become easier with practice. Tell students you will now model how to use the note-catcher using the example of Egeus. Remind students that Egeus was introduced in the very beginning of the play. Ask:

*   "Who did Egeus try to control in Act 1, Scene 1, which we started last lesson and finished today?"

  • Cold call a student to answer and model for the class by writing Hermia in the corresponding box of the note-catcher. As needed, refer to the entry for Egeus on the Sample Evidence of Control note-catcher, For Teacher Reference throughout this modeling process.
  • Tell students you will fill out the next box, "Why did Egeus want to control Hermia?" by looking back into the text to find evidence in Act 1, Scene 1. Read aloud 1.1.23-38 to students. Add to the "Evidence from AMND" and "Explanation" columns. Think aloud as you write to guide students through your thought process. Emphasize that the "why" in this question asks the reader to think about the character's motivation, his or her reason(s) for trying to control others.
  • Ask students to give a thumbs-up if they understand how to answer the question "Why does this character try to control that person?" Ask for a thumbs-down if they do not understand and a thumbs-sideways if they are in the middle. Clarify as needed.
  • Point out the next question, moving one box to the right at the top of the note-catcher. Read the question aloud:

*   "How does this character try to control that person?"

  • Tell students that this question focuses on the methods the character uses to gain control. Remind them that even though they may remember how Egeus attempts to gain control of his daughter, it is important to look back into the text to find the best evidence. Once they find the evidence, students should write down the act, scene, and line numbers they used to formulate their answers. Read 1.1.40-46 aloud to students.
  • Ask:

*   "How can I explain in my own words how Egeus tries to control Hermia in this part of the text?"

  • Call on a volunteer to help you add to the note-catcher. Continue to use the example chart as a guide if needed.
  • Ask students to give a thumbs-up if they understand how to answer the question "How does this character try to control that person?" Ask for a thumbs-down if they do not understand and a thumbs-sideways if they are in the middle. Clarify as needed.
  • Invite students to follow along as you read the next question aloud:
  • *   "What are the results of this character's attempts to control that person?"
  • Explain that this question asks students to consider the outcome or effects of the character's actions. Emphasize that Shakespeare weaves together the actions and reactions of the characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream to create comedy. Each action by one character results in a reaction from another character, and so on. This moves the plot along and forces all of the characters to become entangled with one another.
  • Read 1.1.158-170 aloud. Ask:

*   "Based on the evidence I read, how can I explain in my own words the results of Egeus's attempt to control Hermia?"

  • Call on a volunteer to help you add to the note-catcher, continuing to refer to the sample chart as needed.
  • Once all students have finished adding the information to their note-catchers, tell them you would like them to begin thinking about Hermia. Refocus students on Hermia's name on the left-hand side of the note-catcher.
  • Ask them to turn and talk:

*   "How does Hermia seek control in the beginning of the scene we finished today?"

  • Listen for students to discuss how Hermia wants to control her own life. Some may say she seeks to control Egeus; this is also a valid argument. Encourage students to seek evidence in the text to support their ideas.
  • Tell students you heard some great conversations. For example, some said that Hermia wants to control her own life and future. Invite students to add the information they discussed with their partners to their note-catchers. Then they may begin filling out the rest of the row for Hermia in pairs. Circulate and clarify as needed.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Previewing Homework (1 minute)

  • Distribute the A Midsummer Night's Dream structured notes, 1.1.130-257. Tell students that they will reread the same passage from today's Drama Circle for tonight's homework. Remind them to use the Play Map and Tips for Reading Shakespeare handout to help them.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Reread 1.1.130-257 and complete the structured notes.
  • Provide struggling learners with the supported structured notes for additional scaffolding as they read the play.

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