Characters’ Decisions: The Flow of Consequences in Midsummer | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M2B:U1:L17

Characters’ Decisions: The Flow of Consequences in Midsummer

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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)
  • I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone (analogies or allusions). (RL.8.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze the themes of control in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • I can analyze the poetic language or verse in 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, 3.1.76-208 (from homework)
  • Evidence of Control note-catcher


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Engaging the Reader: Focus Question from Homework and Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Drama Circle (10 minutes)

     B.  Completing a Consequences Flow Chart (25 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Adding to the Evidence of Control Note-catcher (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Reread 3.2.90-123 and complete the structured notes.

  • As students reach the end of the first unit of this module, they will need to review the most important events in the story. After learning about Shakespeare's craft and structure, participating in the Drama Circle, and engaging in various discussions, students will have a general understanding of the arc of the first three acts of the play. This lesson is designed to provide cohesion to the important decisions and actions performed by the characters and reveal the consequences of these decisions and actions. Students learn how the plot is propelled by these important decisions and actions, and how characters are connected across groups.
  • After reading the scene aloud twice (first as a pure read-aloud without interruptions and the second with guided teacher questions) in the Drama Circle, students begin to consider how some key characters made decisions in the beginning of the play that led to their predicament in Act 3. Students are prompted to think about Egeus, Peter Quince, and Oberon as key components in setting up the flow of consequences in the play.
  • The Teacher's Guide reappears in this lesson, since additional guidance is needed to be sure that students achieve a high level of understanding in order to complete the Consequences flow chart. Students need to not only reflect on the scene read in class, but past scenes as well. The Teacher's Guide will help you ensure students have a firm understanding of what is read in class.
  • Post: Learning targets.


consequences, ensue (3.2.92), swifter (3.2.96), remedy (3.2.111), mortals (3.2.117), preposterously (3.2.123), dramatic irony


  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (book; one per student)
  • Shakespeare's Craft anchor chart (begun in Lesson 11)
  • Act 3, Scene 2 Teacher's Guide (for teacher reference)
  • Consequences flow chart (model, for teacher reference)
  • Consequences flow chart (one per student)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream structured notes, 3.2.90-123 (one per student)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream supported structured notes, 3.2.90-123 (optional; for students who need additional support)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream Structured Notes Teacher's Guide, 3.2.90-123 (for teacher reference)



A. Engaging the Reader: Focus Question from Homework and Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Ask students to take out their structured notes from homework. Invite students to join their Rochester discussion partner to share their responses to the focus question.
  • After students have discussed their responses, cold call on one or two students to share what they discussed with their partners. Listen for them to discuss the ways in which Shakespeare's repetition of the word "ass" creates comedy in the scene while Bottom wears the head of an ass. Tell students you will discuss another way Shakespeare advances the comedy in the play before reading the next section aloud in the Drama Circle.
  • Read the learning targets aloud:

*   "I can analyze the themes of control in A Midsummer Night's Dream."

*   "I can analyze the poetic language or verse in A Midsummer Night's Dream."

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

  • Share with students that these should be familiar to them since they have been working with these targets for several lessons. 

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Drama Circle (10 minutes)

  • Invite students to gather in the Drama Circle. Be sure students have their text,A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ask them to turn to Act 3, Scene 2 (lines 90-123).
  • Remind students that they skipped the section that preceded the one they are about to read. Tell them that in the skipped section, Robin meets with Oberon, and Hermia asks Demetrius where Lysander is. Demetrius becomes depressed because Hermia still seeks Lysander and does not want anything to do with him, so he goes to sleep.
  • Invite students to turn and talk to refresh their memories:

*   "Why did Lysander not return to Hermia after he woke up in the forest?"

  • Listen for students to describe how Puck mistakenly placed the flower nectar on Lysander's eyes instead of Demetrius'. Then Helena woke him up and he immediately fell in love with her, forgetting about his love for Hermia. Clarify as necessary, since students will not have read about Lysander and Hermia since Lesson 13.
  • Remind students that they have known about Puck's mistake since Act 2, Scene 2, but Oberon, Puck, Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius have no idea about it. Ask students to turn and talk:

*   "Why do you think Shakespeare would allow the audience to know something the characters do not know?"

  • Cold call on a few students to share what they discussed with their partners. Listen for them to discuss how Shakespeare may use this method to create comedy, allowing the audience or reader to laugh at the expense of the characters, who do not know what is going on. The characters think things will turn out one way, but the audience knows it will turn out differently.
  • Tell students this method is called dramatic irony. Add dramatic irony and its definition to the Shakespeare's Craft anchor chart.
  • Launch the scene by prompting students to make predictions. Say:

*   "Turn and talk about your predictions of what will happen next in this scene."

  • Invite students to volunteer for roles. Choose roles (Robin, Oberon) and remind students to read loudly and clearly, with appropriate expression. Begin the read-aloud of 3.2.90-123.
  • After this first read, have students read the scene again. Consider switching roles for this second read. Explain that this time you will have them pause to answer questions about what they read. (Refer to the Act 3, Scene 2 Teacher's Guide for detailed notes on guiding students through this scene.)
  • This read-aloud builds comprehension of this scene. Consider having stronger readers complete the read-aloud while others listen and follow along.

B. Completing a Consequences Flow Chart (25 minutes)

  • Explain to students that with the end of unit assessment coming up in the next lesson, you would like to take some time to review what has happened so far in the play in order to solidify their understanding of the text. Tell students you would like them to consider how each character's decisions propel the action of the play. Clarify that "propel" means to move forward. In other words, each character's actions create consequences for them and those around them, leading to other actions, and so on.
  • Invite students to turn and talk:

*   "Which character's desire to control another allowed Lysander, Helena, Hermia, and Demetrius to end up in their current mess?"

  • Listen for a student or students to discuss the role of Egeus in the very beginning of the play and his desire to control his daughter, Hermia. Listen for students to say something like: Egeus's conflict with Hermia in the beginning of the play set into motion a chain of events for Lysander, Hermia, Helena, and Demetrius.
  • Clarify that if it weren't for Egeus's desire to control Hermia, they would likely not be in their current predicament in the forest because they would not have run away. Egeus's actions created consequences for those around him. Remind students that consequences are outcomes or the effects of a decision or action.
  • Ask students to turn and talk:

*   "What about Oberon, Titania, and Puck? What are the decisions and actions made by those characters that have created consequences for them and those around them?"

  • Listen for a student to bring up Oberon's desire to control others. Remind students that Oberon's desire to control Titania and Demetrius created consequences. Having just read the scene in which Oberon realizes Puck has made a mistake, probe students to discuss how Oberon's actions affected those around him. Listen for students to mention Titania falling in love with Bottom. Ask:

*   "What about any decisions or actions made by Peter Quince, Bottom, and the tradesmen? What has gotten them into their current situations?"

  • Listen for students to mention Peter Quince and his decision to make the men meet in the woods to rehearse their play. This particular decision may not come to the surface as readily since it seems minor, but it is important to point out. Explain that while it seems that Peter Quince, Bottom, and the rest of the tradesmen were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, Peter Quince made the decision to meet in the woods. Without this important action, Puck never would have stumbled upon them in the woods, turned Bottom's head into a donkey's, etc.
  • Distribute and focus students' attention on the Consequences flow chart. Tell students that they will work in pairs to create a visual representation of important decisions and actions and their consequences in the play. This way, they will capture the movement of the plot and how the characters and events are connected. Point out how the chart is organized into the three rows for the three groups of characters: The Nobles (Egeus, Theseus, Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius), The Tradesmen, and The Forest Beings (Oberon, Titania, Puck, and the fairies). Point out the gray boxes on the left-hand side of the chart. Explain that these boxes represent the beginning of each chain of consequences. These boxes are filled in with the information students have just brought up about each of these groups. Read aloud the text in the gray boxes to students:

*   "Egeus asks Theseus's permission to kill Hermia for her refusal to marry Demetrius."

*   "Peter Quince tells the men to meet in the forest to rehearse Pyramus and Thisbe."

*   "Oberon casts a spell on Titania so he can steal the Indian boy from her to be his servant."

  • Explain that these decisions made by each character create consequences, which create more consequences, and so on. This all propels the action forward. Tell students that their job is to determine these consequences using boxes and arrows to connect characters' decisions and actions.
  • Model a single box for each of the character groups using the Consequences flow chart (model, for teacher reference) as a guide if needed. Instruct students to write the information into the blank boxes on their charts as you model. Think aloud for students as you write to bolster their understanding of the activity.
  • After modeling, tell students it is now up to them to draw additional boxes, write in them, and connect them with arrows. Tell students you have left the space blank to allow them to represent the flow of consequences in a way that makes sense to them.
  • Explain that if decisions or actions within one character group begin to create consequences for another group of characters, students should draw a line that connects the two boxes across groups. Demonstrate this by showing students the connection between the second box in Group 2 and the second box in Group 3 (again, refer to the teacher reference version of the Consequences flow chart). Invite pairs to begin working to create a visual representation of actions and decisions and their consequences in the play.

Explain that you do not necessarily expect students to find exact line numbers for each of the boxes, but that they should list the act and scene where the event takes place. Instruct students to refer to the text frequently as they work with their partner.

  • During this Work Time, you may want to pull a small group of students to support in finding evidence from the play. Some students will need more guided practice before they are ready for independent work.
  • When reviewing the graphic organizers or recording forms, consider using a document camera to display the document for students who struggle with auditory processing.

Closing & Assessments


A. Whole Group Check-in (5 minutes)

  • Refocus students whole group. Tell them you heard some great conversation between partners. Ask:

*   "According to the work you've done with your partner, what are some of the decisions or actions that caused the biggest consequences?"

  • Call on a few students to share what they discussed with their partner and/or wrote down on their charts. Listen for students to discuss the importance of Oberon's decision to use the love-in-waiting flower on Demetrius. This important decision marked a connection between the forest beings and the nobles and propelled the plot.
  • Thank students for their astute observations and unique visual representations of the flow of consequences in the play. Remind students that their work today will serve them well during the next unit, and that they have worked hard to strengthen their understanding of the play.


HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Reread 3.2.90-123 and complete the structured notes.
  • Consider providing the supported version of the structured notes to students who need help summarizing Shakespeare's dense text and defining key vocabulary words.

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