I’ve been working on another version of my Macbeth unit that I want to do with my English 11s and Communications 11s students.

Last year, I was inspired by Faye Brownlie’s ideas on reader response, two-column notes, and labelling the types of questions one generates while reading. All of these were to encourage and support metacognition in students. After reading Jeffrey Wilhelm‘s book on engaging readers, I also tried to include some small-group inquiry project topics that I tracked online through social bookmarking. But I may have been too ambitious with the overall assignment-load. (The social bookmarking site was great for seeing how groups worked together and evaluated sources for their presentations.)

So, this time around, I’m going to make some alterations. The plan is to focus on characterization and language, with the occasional reader response (but much more guided than what I tried last year). I’m also a bit low-tech with my approach to Shakespeare in that I like to reserve time in class for students to read aloud, so I’ll probably save the movie for the end of the play.

Activities to try:

-character charts (with specific scenes picked out for students to analyse)

-examples of literary terms (analyses)

-focused reader responses

Old activities I will keep:

-character analysis

-close reading passages

-literary postcard

-talk show


Next on the to-do list: a revamp of my unit on To Kill a Mockingbird.