Poem A Day:

I do not think that Ben Gibbard of Death Cab was thinking about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth when he wrote this song. But, when I hear it, I think it captures a lot of the themes, sentiment, and goodness of the play.

Here are the lyrics:

If I could open my arms
And span the length of the isle of Manhattan
I’d bring it to where you are
Making a lake of the East River and Hudson
If I could open my mouth
Wide enough for a marching band to march out
They would make your name sing
And bend through allies and bounce off all the buildings
I wish we could open our eyes
To see in all directions at the same
Oh what a beautiful view
If you were never aware of what was around you
And it is true what you said
That I live like a hermit in my own head
But when the sun shines again
I’ll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in
Sorrow drips into your heart through a pin hole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty and half full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown
The first half of the song explores the ambition of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They wanted to swallow the world whole. The second half of the song, I feel, explores the outcomes of that ambition, particularly the demise of Lady Macbeth, and all of her sorrow.
My plan is to have the students listen to the song, and jot down some thoughts about it- keeping it very open here. These students have never read Macbeth. They will NOT make the connections, obviously. The game plan is to play it again at the END of the unit. Then they can see how their understanding of the play has seasoned their understanding of this song. The goal? For students to make connections and realize just how valuable it is to read classics and to read broadly, as it seasons all of their experiences to come.


I will pass out books to students, and review Shakespeare’s life and times and briefly, his impact on Western literature.

Students can share out their background knowledge about Shakespeare, his writing style, etc. This is a great way to check their prior knowledge.

Active Engagement:


Image result for The red line returns


Today, students are going to do another anticipatory “red line” activity. I will ask the following statements and students will place themselves on the continuum wherein one side represents “agree” and the opposite, “disagree”. They will discuss their ideas and justify their spot on the continuum.

  • There are supernatural forces at work in our world that we cannot see
  • We cannot control our fate
  • It is not fate, but our own human will, that controls us.
  • No matter what people have, they always want even more.
  • There is never a good reason to kill another person.
  • No matter who we are, our conscience will eventually help us decide right from wrong.

I believe the red line activity will take most of the class period today. At this point in the year, students are completely comfortable with each other and the class. They understand my expectations for their thinking, their discussion, and the routines; they know that I am interested in their ideas.

Additionally, these are some charged topics- I mean, the supernatural discussion will last a good while. It always surprises me how many students believe in the supernatural.


I show this trailer to tease them.

Finally, students choose one of the themes we discussed during the “red line” activity that they want to track as we read the play. I put this list for them to choose from on the board:

  • Supernatural forces impact our lives
  • Fate vs. Free Will
  • No matter what people have, they always want even more.
  • There is never a good reason to kill another person.
  • No matter who we are, our conscience will eventually help us decide right from wrong.

I made sure to let them know that I did not want them to take a stance or side yet- but to watch how it is explored by Shakespeare in the play. They can draw conclusions, later.

I also handed out a stack of post-its to students and asked them to mark pages where words or actions are developing their chosen theme.

For example, if students chose “Fate vs. Free Will” they may mark Act I Scene 2 Line 19 “Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valor’s minion, carved out his passage.” Just typing that right now, made me think a lot! I love the quote- so much foreshadowing!!

**** If you have time, start to read. I did Act I Scenes 1 and 2 today in about 15 minutes. Students read parts- the student who played the Captain, was lying on a table for dramatic effect. HAVE FUN WITH READING SHAKESPEARE.

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 love david tennant shakespeare dt william shakespeare GIF.




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!