Content Area: Language Arts Literacy
Unit Title: Teaching Story Elements with William Shakespeare
Target Course/Grade Level: Students ages 9-12; Self-Contained Classroom (Out-of District Placement)
Name: Pam Reilly
School: Durand Academy
Date: May 15, 2011
The goal of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to study the works of William Shakespeare through modifications, accommodations, and differentiated instruction. The unit will be introduced and reinforced through several different content areas including art, math, history, and reading comprehension. Topics covered will include the life of William Shakespeare, story elements of a play or story (emphasis on character analysis), creating items used during the Elizabethan period, conducting a survey of parents and school staff and their opinions on Shakespeare, and an opportunity for students to act as a character in “Romeo and Juliet” at different levels of involvement.
Primary Interdisciplinary Connections: Social Studies, Math, Art
21st Century Themes: Global Awareness
Many students with learning or behavioral disabilities work in reading programs that emphasize phonics, controlled vocabulary and syntax, or short selections from a given novel or article. While word recognition skills are emphasized and students become better readers, little attention is given to developing their comprehension skills, due to the nature of the instruction. Shakespeare’s works are complex and difficult for many students, but his plays are timeless, and deal with basic themes that are still written about and explored in modern day works. With the right amount of time, planning, and differentiation, I believe students can develop their comprehension skills at many levels. Some students will be more interested than others, of course, but “Romeo and Juliet” has something for everyone, whether it is romance, fighting, anger, or “bad luck.” As they feel success as they work through the unit, hopefully they will develop an appreciation for classic literature, and want to continue reading and studying the works of famous playwrights and authors.
*Please note that standards are addressed at multiple grade levels due to the varied abilities in this self-contained classroom.
RL3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g. their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their
actions contribute to the sequence of events.
RL5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text. (e.g., how characters interact)
RL3.5 Refer to parts of stories, drama, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
RL5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
RL5.4c Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension; use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
RW4.3d Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences; use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
RW4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
RW4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
RS4.1b Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly; follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
RS4.2 Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, qualitatively, and orally.
L4.2ab Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing; use correct capitalization, use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from text.
RL6.7 Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
ELA11-12.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem. (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.
Unit Essential Questions:
What are the elements of a story or play?
Who is William Shakespeare?
What is the difference between drama and a story?
What are some causes of conflict?
What is the difference between a tragedy and a comedy?
What types of plays did William Shakespeare write?
How do current forms of media reference Shakespeare?
Why do people still read Shakespeare and go to his plays?
Unit Enduring Understandings
William Shakespeare was a famous playwright.
Many media forms still reference Shakespeare in their works.
Drama is a form of literature.
Complex information can be taught to everyone, as long as
it is presented at the students’ reading and interest level.
William Shakespeare works include comedy and tragedy.
Unit Learning Targets
The student will . . .
Evidence of Learning
Students have a choice of 4 final projects:
Writing a letter/poster to a character (see Sample #1)
Recite a short quote from one of the characters (see Sample #2)
Stage a sword fight (See Sample #3)
Make a Voki character based on a character from the play.
SMARTBoard, Document Camera, Computers with Internet Access, Art Supplies, Flip Camera, Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Romeo and Juliet; Romeo and Juliet (Edcon Publishing)
Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times (Aagesen and Blumberg)
Shakespeare with Children: Six Scripts for Young Players (Weinstein)
Shakespeare: To Teach or Not to Teach (Foster & Johnson)
Teacher Guide: Romeo and Juliet (Novel Units)
Starting with Shakespeare: Successfully Introducing Shakespeare to Children (Nelseon & Daubert)
Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Romeo and Juliet for Kids (Burdett)
William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet Level 2 (Edcon Publishing)
Mailbox Yearbook: In the Spotlight with Character Analysis (Mailbox 2007-2008 Yearbook)
Product assigned at end of lesson:
Lesson Plans/Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies
(See attached from Oncourse Systems Lesson Plans)
Obj: The student will preview a movie they will watch on Wednesday, make predictions about a given story or movie; identify characters in the movie "Gnomeo & Juliet."
Mat: SMARTBoard Lesson "Romeo & Juliet"; worksheet for field trip
Proc: Have students watch and interact in SMARTBoard listed above. Discuss what they think the movie will be about, and who some of the characters they will meet while watching the movie. Hand out worksheet and tell students they will complete when we come back from movie.
Eval (Formative Assessment): Responses during discussion; completed worksheet after field trip
Obj: The student will discuss characters from the movie "Gnomeo & Juliet", answer questions about the life & writings of William Shakespeare after instruction.
Mat: Questionnaire from field trip; SMARTBoard Lesson "William Shakespeare Lesson"; BrainPop! website for individual research
Proc: Review questionnaire students completed on Wednesday, and ask students to name characters in the movie and discuss why they did/did not like them. Students then participate in a SMARTBoard Lesson about William Shakespeare, the Elizabethan period, and the Globe Theatre. Students then answer T/F questions on SMARTBoard. Direct students to view video on "Brain Pop" following the lesson and then answer questions either independently or with staff support.
Eval (Formative Assessment): Student responses; answers to T/F questions on SMARTBoard, "Brain Pop" worksheet
Obj: The student will identify the main conflict in "Romeo and Juliet"; match characters from Gnomeo & Juliet to characters from Romeo & Juliet, categorize characters as part of Montague or Capulet family.
Mat: SMARTBoard Lesson "The Montagues and the Capulets"; Interview Worksheet (Mailbox Yearbook 2007-2008)
Proc: Have students complete activities on SMARTBoard Lesson,then have students compare and contrast Gnomeo & Juliet with the actual play. Students then categorize characters as part of the Montague (blue) and Capulet (red) family. After completion of activities; hand out worksheet on p. 220, and have students choose one character they would like to interview from "Romeo & Juliet." Students also volunteer (or choose from a hat) a character they would like to represent while being interviewed.
Eval (Formative Assessment): Interview Questions, Successful participation in interview process
Obj: The student will identify basic elements of a story or play including setting, characters, and plot; identify sequence of events in "Romeo and Juliet," identify story elements in various types of text.
Mat: SMARTBoard Lesson"Elements of a Story," Website: Interactives: Story Elements
Proc: Students participate in lesson mentioned above; identifying character traits, elements of plot, and the setting of Romeo and Juliet. When all activities are completed, students participate in Story Elements website as a large group. Students then complete Spotlight on Character Analysis worksheet; students identify what the character says and how he/she reacts to certain events.
Eval (Formative Assessment): Mailbox Yearbook p. 222 (Spotlight on Character Analysis)
Obj: The student will identify the terms and elements of a play/drama.
Mat: T. Guide "Romeo and Juliet," Shakespeare with Children; Romeo and Juliet Level 2; Worksheet of Drama Terms p. 7; Starting with Shakespeare: Successfully Introducing Shakespeare to Children pp. 175-190
Proc: Review differences between Romeo and Juliet by Edcon and play from Shakespeare with Children. Have students identify the differences in text structure between two genres. Review the terms for drama listed on p. 7. Students act out some of the terms, and define others as a group. Students then take turns reading some lines from Shakespeare with Children text (pp.144-168).
Eval (Formative Assessment): Students read small parts from Romeo and Juliet as listed in Starting with Shakespeare (pages noted above). They may choose to make this their final project for the unit if they desire (choosing a costume and memorizing - to the best of their ability - the lines they speak)
Curriculum Development Resources
Curriculum Development Resources (cont.)
Multiple Means of Representation
Lessons are presented to the class through a variety of strategies and media. We are using two books, Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Romeo and Juliet (written as poetry) and Romeo and Juliet by Edcon Publishing. SMARTBoard lessons are used frequently, and students watch an animated version of Romeo and Juliet by BBC on youtube.com. Stories are read by teacher, and students are learning Shakespearean language so they can recite a short monologue.
Multiple Means of Action and Expression
Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate understanding through various modes of learning. SMARTBoard lessons are interactive and many connect to other websites where students may play or browse. Students are given opportunities to demonstrate knowledge by interviewing a character, writing to a character, drawing a picture as an answer to a posed question. Students will also be given the opportunity to make their own “rapier (sword) and will get to stage a sword fight. Other options include making a character from the play on voki.com. Students are given many choices in how they will represent their knowledge.
Multiple Means of Engagement
As an introduction to the unit, the students went to see “Gnomeo and Juliet” and they really enjoyed it. We make connections as we read Romeo and Juliet to the characters from the movie. As noted above, students are provided with many different options in completing assignments. Students will soon be choosing a character to portray, and will also act as an interviewer from a talk show, asking questions that pertain to the character. Since this is a classroom of mainly boys, I am “glossing over” the love scenes, and spending more time on the conflicts in the story. Some students do enjoy the romance aspect of the play, however. I am very flexible in what I am teaching for the unit, and if I see they are losing interest, I switch to another topic. It has been a lot of fun teaching this to them, and I am learning as they learn!