Meeting The Cast of Characters: Othello Act I (Day 1 of 2)

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT demonstrate their ability to analyze complex characters and language by reading and discussing Act I of Shakespeare's Othello.

Big Idea

Diving head first into Shakespeare by reading the text together. Let's go!


10 minutes

We'll start class with our typical 10 minutes of reading time. I will read with my students today.

Whole Class Reading: Othello Act 1

35 minutes

I think it is very important to start our reading of Shakespeare out loud. For later acts of the play, they will read in small group that I create. But for the first act, I like to read it with them. I will ask for student volunteers to read the main speaking parts. I will instruct the rest of the class to read along and to take notes about character development and language/structure.

Act 1 of Othello is a pretty easy sell to teenagers who are freaked out about reading Shakespeare. It is filled with innuendo and sketchy behaviors. I am excited to see if the additional prep work I did over the previous three lessons around understanding Shakespearian language will help my students better interpret what they are reading. I am especially hoping that they will pick up on the complexity of Iago's character as he presents one face to Roderigo and another to Othello. Analyzing the complexity of his character will be an ongoing task throughout our reading and interpretation (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3).

On a side note, we use the Folger edition of the play. Shameless plug time, I think this is a great text to use with students because it provides some side notes/summaries of each scene, but still allows the students to interpret things independently. I have two students in my class who are on individual education plans. I will provide them with copies of No Fear Shakespeare to use at home in addition to a Folger edition to use in class. This will give them a little extra support without having to be embarrassed or made to feel different. .

Wrap up and Next Steps

10 minutes

I will spend the last 10 minutes of class reviewing what we've read and asking the students to provide predictions about what will happen next. I am hoping that we will get through at least the first two scenes of the play today, so that will provide a nice context for predicting what will happen in the final scene of Act 1.