Reflection: High Expectations Who is to blame? - Section 2: Writing Assessment: The Argument Essay

 

My teacher-neighbor (my friend who works directly across the hall from me) and I were talking about our lessons and (what else?) alignment with the Common Core. While we were chatting about how we are going to do things SO much better next year (the mantra of every teacher I know), I just threw it out there...I really believe that I could really bust a move on the Common Core if I used Shakespeare exclusively as my central teaching texts.  This is not to say that my students wouldn't be allowed to read other things; I would push independent reading, just as I always have.  But, in this Shakespeare-focused world, we would be talking language, language, language, all the time.  We could do research and read informational texts to help us flesh out the history.  And there are tons of cross curricular connections (though, admittedly, the history really clashes with our 8th grade American history focus.)

What I love about teaching Shakespeare is that it takes a dedication that most of our middle school texts just don't demand.  Every year, I see kids rise to the occasion and really take on the challenge of Romeo and Juliet or Twelfth Night.  It makes us feel smart.  It makes us feel purposeful. It's interesting.

Yes, maybe I have the privilege this year of being in an all-Honors bubble.  And you can't study Shakespeare if you can't read well.  And maybe some of my kids have really loathed the past few weeks of reading/watching/deconstructing, but they just don't want to bring me down.

But, right now, it seems like a great idea.  All Shakespeare, all the time.

Anyone with me?

  All Shakespeare, All the Time
  High Expectations: All Shakespeare, All the Time
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Who is to blame?

Unit 2: Romeo and Juliet
Lesson 11 of 12

Objective: SWBAT craft an argumentative essay that establishes and proves who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

Big Idea: Shakespeare + Argumentative Writing = A Power Couple

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