How should ELA teachers approach informational texts?
This question informs the lessons in this unit, which emphasize approaches to teaching informational texts in the context of literature study. Rather than replacing or superceding the study of literature, I see informational texts as ways to amplify literature so that students see it as relevant to their lives.
Thus, rather than a shift away from both the literary canon and contemporary imaginative texts, the CCSS offers teachers a unique opportunity to embrace innovative approaches to teaching both informational texts and the imaginative literature that led us to teach English.
This lesson is part of my unit on Taming of the Shrew and enabled my students to explore gender stereotypes to set the context of Kate's role both in the play and in contemporary society.
Resources Needed and a Note to Teachers.
Students will need either the digital edition of The Taming of the Shrew or the print edition of the play. This lesson uses the Folger Shakespeare Library text.
The lesson works well with students having read through Act 2 of the comedy. However, it is both adaptable and extendable to other parts of the play. Additionally, the lesson can be adapted for students in several ways:
This lesson is based on a lesson available at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Students often think Shakespeare used "Old English." In fact, Shakespeare's language is classified as "Early Modern English." Unlike Middle English which was characterized by many regional dialectic variations, Early Modern English generally used consistent dialects among regions. Except for its archaic pronouns and spellings, Early Modern English is quite similar to Late Modern English, which we now speak. The Oxford English Dictionary offers an excellent historic overview of EME.
Early Modern English, the language Shakespeare uses and which students will see in the primary text used in this lesson, presents some challenges to students. However, with some direction from the teacher, students will quickly get the gist of how to read EME.
Teaching Students to Read Early Modern English
Provide students a key to "symbols" and "letters" used in Early Modern English." Reading Early Modern English.docx Include examples of words in this key. Then review the key and explain the changes.
Distribute the passage from The Good and the Badde, London 1616 to students. This primary text describes five different stereotypes of women: a virgin, a wanton woman, a quiet woman, an unquiet woman, and a good wife.
Teachers will need to decide whether or not to read the document with students or to have them read alone or in pairs or in groups. Determine this based on the class's ability and need for scaffolding. It's advisable, however, to read at least a potion of the passage with students.
Although the graphic organizer only provides room for students to give four examples, it's certainly advisable for students to continue identifying and citing lines and stereotypes beyond the four they are required to give.
Allow students at least 30 minutes to work on the task as the teacher mills around the room offering assistance to those who need it. A Good Wife Stereotype Description Student Annotation
This is a good time to have students put desks in a circle for discussion.
Once students have had the chance to work through the reading, take time to discuss their findings. Since students will likely find different lines, instruct them to take notes during the discussion.
During discussion, be sure to talk about whether or not the stereotypes fit the characters in the play based on textual evidence. The Good and The Badde Meets Shrew Graphic Organizer Student Example
Discuss any stereotypes that don't fit at this juncture in the play.
Additionally, have students share their reactions to the stereotypes.
Ask them whether or not times have changed and how "The Good and the Badde" is relevant now.
Although a teacher may choose to use the lesson as a self-contained lesson, there are options for keeping the discussion and consideration of stereotypes ongoing: