MACBETH: Unpacking Characters & Central Ideas - Day Two

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SWBAT demonstrate understanding of characterization and central ideas in MACBETH through project-based learning and collaborative discussion.

Big Idea

"Character develops itself in the stream of life." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Lesson Overview and Note to Teachers

My classes are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day. Please view the video in this section, which outlines activities from the previous lesson and provides context for this lesson. 

In the lesson below, students continue to unpack crucial characters in Macbeth by engaging in a performance task (Assignment: Unpacking Characters) to show how Shakespeare uses language to develop characters and how they interpret characters as readers.  

This lesson outlines Day Two of activities in preparation for our Cornerstone lesson on Day Three.



Unpacking Characters

80 minutes

Today students finish their presentations on their assigned characters/the Macbeth Marriage:

Group 1: Macbeth

Group 2: Banquo

Group 3: Lady Macbeth

Group 4: the Witches

Group 5: The Macbeth Marriage.

Students also create their 30-second Animoto or five Vines, videos of six seconds each, to portray their assigned character or Macbeth marriage. Students will present their slideshows and videos next class.


Unpacking Central Ideas

20 minutes

Once done with their presentations, groups review the discussion questions they wrote on central ideas in Macbeth last class. I allow students from all of my honors classes to review student-created questions and highlight questions (Student Work: Central Ideas Warm-Up) they think are most valuable for discussion.

Unpacking characters goes hand-in-hand with exploring central ideas from the play.  Shakespeare's design of individual characters and their interactions function to drive the plot, and to convey mood and meaning to the reader.  While completing the unpacking characters performance task, students engage in analyzing, interpreting, and articulating how Shakespeare uses language to develop character. Students can use their acquired knowledge of characters to evaluate which questions on central ideas will be the most meaningful for collaborative discussion.  They use their interpretations and evaluations of characters to create meaning from the text, which may provide them with unique insight to explore central ideas that Shakespeare employs to develop theme.

I will review students' highlighted questions, selecting 10 for discussion after conferring with another colleague from my grade-level team.  Students will engage in collaborative discussion on central ideas next class.