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