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Decisions in Hamlet

Last Updated: Oct-09-2009

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Developed By

  Aric Foster
 

Lesson Title

  Decisions in Hamlet
 

Length of Lesson

  Three Weeks
 

Lesson Unit

  Decision vs. Indecision
 

Grade

  9-12
 

Subject

  ELA
 

Strand

  Literature and Culture
 

Michigan Content Expectations

  L.1, L.2, L.3, L.4, L.6, S.1, S.3, S.7, R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.5, R.6, R.8, R.9, R.10, W.3, W.6, W.7
 

Keywords

  Shakespeare, Hamlet, Decisions
 

Materials

 

1) Computer access to blog (on blackboard)

2) Blank Venn Diagram copies

3) Copies of Hamlet

4) Youtube videos:

    1. Full House decision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxRpGMeJPs8
    2. Woman’s cat’s death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8oUx_FT1gU
    3. Voting for Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_T0vz6B1A8

 

 

Abstract

 

Through multi-media and Hamlet, students explore different ways that decisions are made. Through this process, they will gather a sense of the decision making process, connect it to literature and apply to their own lives.

 

Big Idea(s)

 

The decision making process, inaction vs. action, influences of others vs. personal research/experience in decision making, consequences of decisions

 

Essential Questions

 
  1. How do you know if a decision you have already made was the right one?
  2. What steps should one take when making an important decision?
  3. Is “not deciding” a decision? How?             
  4. Which factor in the decision making process is more valuable: one’s own research and experience or the influence of others? Why?
  5. How should consequences factor into the decision-making process?             
 

Learning Objectives

 

Students will…

  1. Reevaluate decisions that they have made in their own lives
  2. Make connections to Hamlet’s decision making processes
  3. Reconsider how they make decisions in the future.
 

Summative Assessment

 

 

1)      Students will keep track of how Hamlet answers the essential questions of the lesson throughout the reading and acting of the text. At the end of the play, students will turn in specific textual examples, with accompanying act and scene notations, of how Hamlet did or did not answer the following essential questions. Students will then write a written explanation, with MLA documentation, about their findings of one of the questions; honors classes will write an explanation of all five.

a.       How do you know if a decision you have already made was the right one?

b.      What steps should one take when making an important decision?

c.       Is “not deciding” a decision? How? 

d.      Which factor in the decision making process is more valuable: one’s own research and experience or the influence of others? Why?

e.       How should consequences factor into the decision-making process?             

 

 

 

Lesson Opening

 
  1. Students begin by blogging (on a Blackboard discussion board) responses to the following two questions:
    1. How do you know if a decision you made was the right one?
    2. What steps should one take in making an important decision?
  2. Students will print a Venn diagram from Blackboard to take back to the classroom to highlight similarities and differences between three short videos that deal with decision making.
  3. Students watch the three videos and complete the Venn diagram with the blog question focus in mind.
    1. Full House decision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxRpGMeJPs8
    2. Woman’s cat’s death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8oUx_FT1gU
    3. Voting for Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_T0vz6B1A8

 

As a side note, I found these videos on YouTube, and used zamzar.com to convert them to .wmv files, then saved them at home, then used a flash drive or googledocs to watch at school.

  1. As a class, we will discuss the students-drawn conclusions from the videos addressing the two “Essential Questions” formally discussed in the blog. It is my hope that the conversation will illicit the remaining essential questions; if not, I will steer the discussion in that vein Then, I will ask them, “What characters in literature have made tough decisions and how would they answer these questions? “ Fruitful discussion will ensue. J
 

Exploration

 

 

Kids go to http://www.teachersfirst.com/getsource.cfm?id=4857 and students go to “Real Choices” the web drama. As they follow directions and see how choices lead to consequences, students blog (on Blackboard) about what choices they made according to each character. They are required to not only post about how they handled each scenario, but to reply to at least three other students’ postings and to ASK QUESTIONS about the choices their peers made.

 

Check for Understanding

 

Then, throughout reading/acting Hamlet, students will complete a chart that analyzes Hamlet’s decision making process, addresses how Hamlet would answer the lesson’s essential questions and connect the drama to their own lives. I will periodically review student's charts, they will display their answers to the class on the class white board and students will share their chart answers on individual white boards as well.

 

Explanation

 

While reading and acting the play aloud in class, the students and I will highlight the way that Hamlet makes decisions. They will have guide questions that they answer in chronological order as we progress through the text. I will scaffold the amount of help I give students as the play progresses. In addition, reading quizzes after every act will contain question(s) that address Hamlet's decision making process. While this is more formative assessemnt than explanation, we review the right answers in class in order "explain" the text's approach to the "Essential Questions."

 

Check for Understanding (2)

 

Reading quizzes after every act will contain question(s) that address Hamlet's decision making process.

 

Extended Practice

 

In groups, students will be given a scenario to act out where one student plays Hamlet (in 2009 America) and other students will play the roles of themselves. In each scenario, Hamlet will be given a tough decision to resolve. After each skit, the rest of the class will have to evaluate if the choices that Hamlet made in the skit were analogous to the decision-making skills that Hamlet displayed in the play. This will be done using clickers. After each skit, students will answer the poll question, “Was the Hamlet in the skit an accurate depiction of the Hamlet in the actual play?” After viewing the results, I will use CPS to select a random student and they will explain their answer. 

 

Closing

 

As a wrap-up, students will participate in a fish-bowl debate over the most important of the five essential questions. Throughout the discussion, students will provide examples from the lesson/unit that give creedance to the question they think is most meaningful to their own lives.