Lesson Plan : To Be or Not to Be

Teacher Name:
 Zaki Habib-Gomez
Grade:
 Grade 11-12
Subject:
 Literature Activities

Topic:
 Shakespeare, Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech
Content:
 International Baccalaureate English Programme calls for: A personal appreciation of the literature, skills in literary criticism, strong written and oral skills, an international perspective
Goals:
 Students should come away from the lesson understanding the meaning of the soliloquy as well as its significance within the play.
Objectives:
 1. Analyze Hamlet's character 2. Understand the significance of the soliloquy within the context of the play 3. Obtain a greater understanding and appreciation of the play. 4. Fortify their literary analysis skills. 5. Fortify oral/argumentative skills.
Materials:
 The entire play (so students can refer to any part of the play), a photocopy of the soliloquy, paper, pens/pencils (so students can write their analysis on the photocopy), and a dictionary (to look up any words in the soliloquy that they do not know)
Introduction:
 The class has read up to this section of the play for homework the night before, so they are already familiar with the play and the speech. At the beginning of class, I will pass out photocopies of the speech so that every student has something to write on and analyze the speech with. To grab the students' attention, I will perform the soliloquy in front of the class while the follow it with the text in front of them. This will allow students to obtain a visual and first-hand reinforcement of the content in the speech.
Development:
 The way this lesson will be structured will be for me to introduce the content to get the students going and then to give them questions to work with on their own in small groups (about 4 but it depends on the class size). After they have done their work, I will bring the class together at the end and go over the questions so that the entire class comes away with a greater understanding of what the speech is about.
Practice:
 A general class discussion on the content of the speech (because it can be so difficult to understand) in which students must participate and take notes. Students are encouraged to write all over the photocopy I have given them so that they can underline words that they don't know, identify symbolism, metaphors, or write any other form of literary analysis on the paper. By the end of the discussion, students should have a great deal written on their paper.
Accommodations:
 The problem with the International Baccalaureate is that in terms of Differentiated Instruction the program is quite elitist. Before even entering the program, one must obtain authorization from one's teachers based on previous academic achievement. For this reason, everyone in the class should be on more or less the same level of skill.
Checking For Understanding:
 After students have had enough time to come up with their arguments (about 10-15 minutes) they will present their argument to the class along with all of their evidence from the text. The students will have the opportunity to refute each other after they have all presented their theories. For example, if one group feels that there is enough evidence in the text to prove another theory wrong, then that group will be allowed to present their case. From this, we will have a class discussion in which we analyze which of the proposed theories is most likely to occur based on what we know from the text.
Closure:
 We will narrow the theories down to the two strongest and then have a class vote on which is the strongest theory proposed. This will serve as a way to wrap up the lesson as well as promote curiosity for the next lesson to see what actually happens in the plot.
Evaluation:
 The assessment will consist of how well the groups presented their arguments to the class. It does not matter if students chose the same hypothetical possibility for outcome, what matters is the ability for students to generate an effective argument using evidence from the text up to that point. How students use the text to their advantage will be the basis for their grade. This will provoke students to thinking deeply with understanding and appreciation for the text and its subtleties about the characters, especially Hamlet. It will also allow students to appeal to Shakespeare for the answer by looking for any foreshadowing there may be during the plot. Thus, allowing for students to appreciate the importance of the speech within the greater context of the play. I will be grading groups specifically on: How logical their outcome is, How much evidence from the text they have compiled, as well as the quality of evidence.

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