MACBETH Day 11

Poem A Day:

This is a really awesome song that a student of mine shared with me this year- and used as background music for a wonderful video blog he made this year.
The lyrics really capture the vibe I want the students to have today: Today they have final drafts of their Macbeth Essays due. Instead of collecting them, I decided to do a whole day of one-on-one conferencing with the students first. I told them to share their drafts with each other in small groups while I was conferencing. Today is all about finding your voice and saying what you want to say, powerfully. 
Here are the lyrics from the first verse of this song:
First things first
I’ma say all the words inside my head
I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been, oh ooh
The way that things have been, oh ooh
Second thing
Second, don’t you tell me what you think that I can be
I’m the one at the sail, I’m the master of my sea, oh ooh
The master of my sea, oh ooh
I was broken from a young age
Taking my soul into the masses
Write down my poems for the few
That looked at me took to me, shook to me, feeling me
Singing from heart ache from the pain
Take up my message from the veins
Speaking my lesson from the brain
Seeing the beauty through the pain

Mini-lesson:

I told them that the goal in sharing their essays today was not to give feedback to their peers, but instead to read what their peers had to say and see how they said it- the objective was to get exposure to more ideas and ways of organizing and expressing those ideas.
Students also engaged in a voluntary dialogue on the seminar notes from last class to continue some of the lines of thought that we didn’t have time for during the seminar. Mind-blowing.

Active Engagement:

In conferencing with students, I was so excited to see how their work has grown this year. Much of this day was a celebration. Very exciting and this will lead well into my next unit: Finding your True Self.

 

Closure:

Students were reminded to submit final essays (for real this time) by next class and I answered any questions.

MACBETH Day 10

Poem A Day:

This song was chosen by a student for the way it captures a lot of moments in the Tragedy Macbeth.

Mini-lesson:

Today was the Socratic Seminar. I am COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY BY THE THOUGHTS AND IDEAS TO EMERGE FROM THIS DAY. I am posting the notes that I typed as students were talking. I did not engage- I asked two questions based on things students were saying, but 98% of what is typed was spoken by students. Please read through these amazing insights from freshmen students about this great play. Each class had such different seminars. They had different ideas, and different comfort levels. It was a truly rewarding experience for me to see them think, grapple, and show how far their ideas have evolved over the course of the year.

Active Engagement:

Here is one sample of the questions students came prepared with today:

Notes from class one- B2

Notes from class two- B3

Notes from class three- B4

Closure:

Students filled out this reflection. Here are some samples of their responses:

Additionally, I made a copy of the seminar notes, and posted it on Google Classroom giving each student in the class permission to edit the one doc. Then, I gave students the opportunity to add their thoughts or ideas to the sheet- as many of them did not get to speak, or have time to speak. Each seminar lasted an hour, but we still had so much to add afterward. I will post those in about a week after students have had time to contribute. (some already are contributing even though this isn’t due until next week!) One student said today, “Ms. Minto, you got us to talk for an entire hour about a book! and we enjoyed it!” heh, heh, heh. Mission accomplished.

 

MACBETH Day 9

Poem A Day:

Today, I had students take out their copy of Death Cab for Cutie’s “Marching Bands of Manhattan.” If students did not have a copy, I had one for them with (no e.c.) at the top. Students had a quiz today, wherein they had to respond to this prompt:

How can you connect this song to Macbeth? What similar themes do they share? Use specific details from the play and lines from the song in your response. If they had their original copy of the lyrics, I gave them 1 extra credit point for the quiz.

Mini-lesson:

Today we read the essay “Macbeth: A Modern Perspective” by Susan Snyder. We discussed some of her ideas and also her way of expressing those ideas. This was to get students prepared to write their essays.

 

Active Engagement:

Students got onto chromebooks and began working on their theme essays. I conferenced one-on-one with each student to see what their topic was about. This was the first time ever that every single student had ideas and knew what to write about.

Closure:

I reviewed my expectations and reminded students to prepare for the next class’s test.

MACBETH Day 8

Poem A Day:

No PAD today- too much work to get through as the end of the year nears…

 

Mini-lesson:

Today I started class by letting students know what to expect in the next two weeks. Here is the 5 class-day plan I unveiled to them:

  • Today: Finish Macbeth
  • Day 2 Work on New Essay Assignment
  • Day 3 Test/formulate seminar questions
  • Day 4 Socratic Seminar
  • Day 5 Work on Essays
  • Day 6 Essays due

I handed out instructions for the New Essay Assignment and much to my surprise, the students ALL felt confident tackling the prompt. This is something that we have done on various levels throughout the year- so I was so pleased that the paper took very little instruction. Students were excited to share their insights into Macbeth.

Additionally, they were really excited about the seminar- no questions there either. They didn’t need any clarification, and there were no looks of confused despair.

Finally, the test. It is two parts. Part one is quote identification, wherein I supply a quote, and they tell me who said it. Part two gives them five chunks of text to decode/translate.

The response I got from the students during this chat was unlike any before. No anger. No misery. No confusion. This just goes to show that my routines are finally paying off. They know what my expectations are, because I have been consistent all year. I LOVE this time of year-

 

Active Engagement:

Students read Act V scene 1 out loud and acted it out. This is the famous scene where Lady Macbeth sleepwalks. We also watched two interpretations of this scene from our two film versions we have been watching. We discussed Lady Macbeth’s moan which is written as “O, o o.” and the following line is “what a sigh is this. The heart is sorely charged.” We discussed the various ways actresses have interpreted this sigh over the years.

This one is their favorite:

For the remaining scenes of the play, I performed a one-man play. I acted out all of the parts, and got the most important information across to them. They thought it was hilarious and fun. I of course, stopped and slowed down to read some of the more famous scenes like Macbeth’s “out brief candle” speech.

They were so surprised to find out that Macbeth dies in the end, and that Lady Macbeth had changed so dramatically. They loved the play!

Closure:

Students started brainstorming for their essays and asked any questions they had about the play.

MACBETH Day 7

Poem A Day:

 

Today I had two poems- they are two songs that play one right after the other on the new Gorillaz album. The lyrics for both songs are perfect for the scene we read today, and also, the tone of the songs (particularly “Charger”) sets the mood for the scene reading.

Mini-lesson:

Students walked in to a transformed room today. I moved all of their desks, so as to make something akin to a banquet table. I covered the desks with a tablecloth (or several) and put a chair at each head of the giant, long table. It looked something like this:

(I took these pictures four years ago, the last time I taught this lesson at Newtown High School 2013).

It was rad and the students loved it- it really helps to visualize the scene as it can be very confusing to read Act III sc. 4 of the play.

We started today with a banquet and read through Act III scene 4 when Banquo’s ghost came to haunt Macbeth.

Active Engagement:

Students acted the play out and engaged in discussions as we went along.

We read through all of Act IV today- we acted it out, and I summarized sections of lesser importance.

Closure:

Students asked clarifying questions, and we recapped how the major characters have developed so far.

MACBETH Day 6

Poem A Day:

Lyrics for this song are here. 

It captures well Macbeth’s thoughts and feelings just after Duncan’s murder in Act III.

Mini-lesson:

Students reviewed the action of the play up until this point, and I asked them to identify changes in each character. We also discussed Shakespeare’s use of motifs- there are several that are woven through each act of the play:

  • Calling upon darkness to cover up light (or night to swallow the day, etc).
  • Referring to faces as masks that cover men’s true thoughts or desires
  • References to the stars

 

Active Engagement:

Students acted out Act III scenes 1-3

Then we watched this film portion of the play.

Closure:

Students took notes on the development of their chosen theme thus far. I reminded students who had signed up for the extra-credit poem a day activity to send me their poems before our next class.

 

MACBETH Day 5

MACBETH Day 5

Poem A Day:

Mini-lesson:

I teach in Connecticut. And, although this winter was not as brutal as ones I have experienced here in the past, it is still a big deal that today it is 79 degrees outside! It has been a cold, rainy April and Spring has kept its distance, only dragging out our longing for summer’s warmth.

Today is also 4/28. For a plethora of reasons, four hundred and twenty eight has always been my favorite number. Since I was a kid.

To top it all off, it is the culmination of our poetry week- so at the end of the day, I am taking my class to see a school-wide poetry slam of original, student poetry! How exciting!

So, today we are going to have fun!

Active Engagement:

I am taking the kids outside, to enjoy the glory of the day. We will begin Act II and the kids can run around and act things out. We finished Act II this way.

It is nice to be a mom of three boys, because I have endless toy swords at my disposal. I brought one in today to act as the dagger Macbeth sees at the end of Act II scene i.

Closure:

Students will be bringing their books (the play) their notebooks and a pen outside. Toward the end of class, students will reflect in their notebooks.

Why does Shakespeare write Duncan’s murder off stage?

Who is more practical after the killing, Macbeth or his wife? Can you think of reasons for this?