Lesson: Macbeth: Act 1, Scenes 1-3

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Lesson Objective

Students will discuss important themes/ideas relevant to Macbeth and begin reading Act I.

Lesson Plan

Materials Needed:

  • Handout of "Invitation to Read Macbeth"
  • Handout of Crossfire activity
  • Folger Shakespeare Library edition of Macbeth, 1 per student
  • 2 signs on opposite sides of the room: "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree"

1. Do Now: Write about a movie with a great opening scene.  What makes it compelling?

2. Discuss: students share a few of their favorite opening scenes and get to explain that : an opening scene is like a hook, there to grab the viewer's attention.  It can also set the tone.  Today we will be looking at the opening scenes of Macbeth and I want you to keep in mind, what tone is being set.  [10 mins total]

3.  Hand out "Crossfire" (attached) and have a student read the directions.  Allow 10 minutes silent work time. [12]

4. Have students "vote with their feet" by you reading a statement from the handout and allowing students to move along the continuum between the signs "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree".  This is a silent activity and students should be encouraged to go where they truly feel it's right for them, and not be influenced by others.  Once students get to a spot, call on kids to share about why they are standing where they are; what are their thoughts and feelings about this particular topic.  Call on a few kids per question and also allow kids who feel strongly to share as well. [15 minutes]

5. Wrap up activity by explaining that these themes/topics will be in Macbeth and to keep your eyes out for them.

6. Transition to going over the "Invitation to Read Macbeth" (attached)  Read through it together and take questions [8 mins]

7.  Handout books and explain format:  on the left-had side are footnotes of difficult or outdated words; and each scene begins with a summary of what happens in it. [10 mins total]

8.  Assign roles for scenes 1-3 and read play, pausing to check for understanding as needed [about 30 mins]

9.  Summary question: (students write on their "do now" sheet--What tone is set by these first scenes?  What is your evidence?


HW: 2 paragraphs

paragraph 1--what doyou know about the witches?  How would you describe them, what are they like?

Paragraph 2--What do you know so far about Macbeth?  What is his character like so far?



Kids were excited to start reading the play--it was a new challenge for them.  i told them that the trick to reading Shakespeare, is to not get hung up on every word, but to read it through and grasp the meaning of the passage.  We will be looking at certain passages more closely as a class to aid in interpretation and analysis as we go along.

Lesson Resources

MacBethprereadingdiscussion   Activity
Macbeth unit overview 2011   Scope and Sequence


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