How to Read Shakespeare Like A Pro (Day 1 of 3)

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SWBAT demonstrate their understanding of how language works and how to determine meaning when looking at difficult texts by practicing analysis of passages from Shakespeare's Othello.

Big Idea

Shakespeare is difficult reading for the novice and the professional--let's build some skills to tackle the Bard's language with elegance and ease.

SSR and Reflection

15 minutes

We will read for our regular 10 minutes today and then I will have the students fill out their bi-weekly reflection. This week, as the week before the end of the quarter, I want to have the students reflect on the value of this time so I know how to proceed next quarter/semester.

Close reading of Othello, Act 1 scene 1

15 minutes

To begin our study of Othello, I am going to throw the kids right into the text and see what they can do. I will give them one of Iago's first speeches and ask them to do a brief rhetorical analysis of  Iago's purpose and method.

I will read the speech out loud to them, asking them to annotate as I do, then give them 5 minutes to re-read, annotate and discuss the speech with a neighbor. Once they have discussed, I will ask them to share their thoughts with the class.

Though there are questions provided on this speech, I am just going to have them read and annotate for this first activity. I will come back to the questions later in the period or tomorrow depending on how our time goes.

How to Read Shakespeare Notes

20 minutes

For someone who doesn't like to lecture, I feel like I have been doing a lot of it lately. Sigh. Unfortunately, I want to give them some pointers for reading Shakespeare and am not sure if there is a better way to do this, sooooo...

We will use the slides to go through some basic stylistic tools for reading and understanding Shakespeare. This will allow me to scaffold their understanding of specific terms, devices and language issues they may run up against when they are reading the play and how to deal with them. While I won't assess them on this standard (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4) until we have read further in the play, this introduction is meant to give them ways to improve on this skill before I assess them. 

Wrap up and Next Steps

5 minutes

Once we've finished the notes, I will have the students return to the text we started the period with and see if they can apply any of the tools/techniques we reviewed to their reading. I will then assign the questions as homework.