Othello Performance-based Assessment: The Storyboard

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SWBAT interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text by finding examples and documenting them on a storyboard.

Big Idea

Putting it all together: Finding key elements in Othello


This lesson encompasses the summative assessment for Othello.  I assess students a little differently with this unit because, to be honest, I am usually bogged down with correcting their research papers.  This assessment allows them to search independently for literary techniques and Shakespearean elements during the course of the block.  My experience is students like the creative aspect of the assignment and the break from a traditional pen and paper test.

The distinct categories that I chose require students to negotiate the language and decode what they read in order to arrive at the correct selection.  These categories also mesh well the Common Core.  Students first look for examples of deceptions, lies, and deceits because these concepts are related to themes and central ideas.  The interaction of these terms is the seed for themes such as loss of reputation and jealousy.  Locating imagery requires students to decode the language which is a skill that we have been working on all along.  The use of imagery allows students an opportunity to analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. Identifying figurative language requires students to determine multiple meanings of words and phrases.  Lastly, I require students to paraphrase because it requires a close reading of text and an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Othello Storyboard Project

70 minutes

I decided to mix it up a bit for this summative assessment for Othello.  Usually, I teach it following the research project, which means I have tons of correcting.  This storyboard project makes it easy for me to assess whether students are able to negotiate the language and find the elements that make up a Shakespearean play.  It definitely is performanced-based as opposed to a traditional pen and paper test.  Students will simply comb the text to find examples of the items listed in the attached outline.  These elements include imagery, allusion, symbolism, theme, slang, etc.  I instruct students to skillfully lay out the information on a storyboard.  If there is time, I will have a few students come to the head of the class and present their findings.  My experience is that this is a great assignment for the creative, kinethetic student who might not excel on tests.

This performance-based assessment is Common Core aligned as it incorporates analysis of figurative language, it is text dependent, and it analyzes the impact of the Shakespeare's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a drama.  The liteary techniques incorporated in Othello are much more than an aesthetic effect.  They relate important ideas and themes in the play.

If students complete the assignment ahead of the allotted time, I will play the Laurence Fishburne version of Othello.  Usually, more focused students will spend the entire block working on the project; more reluctant students will plow through it quickly.  Thus, I need a safety net in case students finish early.  This safety net is the Othello movie.

I have attached a video which demonstrates what the final product looks like.