Poem A Day:

“I Wonder” by Kanye West- I used edited lyrics and a radio-edit for this one. We listened to it at the beginning of class, while students were walking in, and then I told them we would flip the scrip today and listen to it at the end of class in order to analyze its connection to Macbeth.


We reviewed a few key terms and characters and history behind the play, briefly. The students were assigned reading roles (my kiddos are pretty into acting things out, so they all volunteered enthusiastically).

Active Engagement:

Students acted out Act I scenes 2-4. I am using Folger’s Macbeth- only the Shakespeare text. I act as the translator- so I do not like to use any translations of the text.

What is the point of reading Shakespeare, if you aren’t going to read Shakespeare?

This means that I stop students frequently, and have them try to guess what certain lines mean, or phrases, and then I also interpret for them. This is my fourth time teaching the text, so it gets easier and easier.

Today I assigned one student (a volunteer) to track all of the references to “stars” and “darkness and light”.

After reading/acting/talking, and CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING (I like to have kids put their heads down and raise their hands and show me on their fingers their level of understanding on a scale of 1 to 5- this is a routine we have used all year so they know how) we watched the first 18 minutes of Great Performance’s 2010 rendition of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart. It is super creepy, and weird, and the kids really enjoy it. We watch through Act I scene 4, so students can see what they just read, performed and produced by professionals, uninterrupted.



I checked for understanding again, and after watching, they are all on board.

Then we listened to “I Wonder” and students pointed out the similarities between Kanye and Macbeth- classic.

Let the drama begin!

I am very excited to teach Shakespeare’s Macbeth this quarter!

Image result for macbeth

This unit is designed to be

  • engaging
  • entertaining
  • meaningful

Students will hopefully learn/understand/explore

  • how Shakespeare’s stories have influenced our culture
  • how Shakespeare developed themes of ambition, fate vs free will, and cruelty’s relationship to masculinity
  • the diversity of the various film and stage representations of Macbeth

I taught this play once, several years ago (2012 in Newtown, CT). The students I taught back then still keep in touch with me, and still have fond memories of experiencing this play.

This content for this unit is primarily centered around the play. Still, many of the lessons can be used with lots of Shakespeare plays, or any type of drama. Certainly, the unit will involve close reading strategies that are engaging and can be used when reading any type of media.

As always, feel free to use whatever you want, however you want, and share it with whoever you want.
Happy Learning!


NF UNIT P2 Day 7

Day 7

Poem A Day:

For this unit, I am trying to find poetry and music that celebrates the individual’s mind, critical thought, and questioning “official truths”.  It gets the kids in the right zone to learn more about a topic of their choice and decide how to report their findings, in their own voice.


Today’s objective is: Students will identify successful components of nonfiction in various films in order to decide which components they may want to incorporate into their products. (wordy- I will work on that).

Today, students are going to watch a series of short nonfiction films and think about the decisions made by the producers of the videos. They will consider how they can use these moves in order to create a final product that will be informational, credible, and engaging.

I started the day by asking students to list types of nonfiction films. This is the list they came up with:




-Ted Talks


-Video blogs

I gave students this handout and described the activity we would be doing today (all of which is in the directions of the handout).



Active Engagement

I showed the following examples of nonfiction in film, and students recorded notes on their handouts for each video. I gave them a few minutes in between videos to jot their ideas, discuss with a partner, and share with the class. I also pointed out the great things I noticed, or criticisms I had.

Video 1

Things we liked about this video:

  • transitions
  • music
  • editing
  • writing

Video 2

Things we liked about this video:

  • appropriate music
  • Pathos- appeals to emotion

Kids were quick to catch spelling errors and editorial mistakes in this video- I reminded them that viewers of their products would also notice those things… EDIT EDIT EDIT.

Video 3

For this video, we discussed multiple perspectives being recognized, even though the pov of the creator was clear.Students also appreciated some of the more “artsy” shots and how the interviews were presented.

Video 4

Students learned from this video not to film scenes in places with a lot of background info- the video suffered as students could not understand the interviews.

Video 5

Students enjoyed this video the most so far. We talked about how there is a fine line between standing alone in a room and with your iphone and just talking endlessly into the camera. This is so engaging because of the cuts, the humor in the writing, the props, the rating criteria, etc.

Last, but not least, one of the most popular vloggers on the interwebs:

Video 6

Students filled out the handouts.


I had students get out their project handouts from the beginning of the unit. We reviewed the types of projects they could create. Then, I gave students a post-it. On it the wrote,

their name

their research topic

the type of project they want to make

For example,

Ms. Minto

Research topic: The creation of Camp Greyhound in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Project: Ted Talk