Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Teaching Twelfth Night with Technology: Part Three

By Rachel Jean-Marie

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

 

In this video, you will see a demonstration that provides ideas on how to engage students in a close reading of the text by exploring Shakespeare’s use of language in a specific scene in Twelfth Night using hypertext annotations.  Obviously, it’s good if students have had lessons/practice with figurative language (similes, metaphors, personification, puns, allusions, etc.)  After the video, feel free to check out ways to take this video to the next level by leading students through a process that encourages them to use a variety of tools to research the language, use hyperlinks, physicalize the text, and engage in a reflective debrief.

To take this lesson to the next level:

  1. Have students work together in small groups using a variety of resources to research the text as they read, annotate, and discuss the scene using useful tools such as dictionaries, their cell phones, the online lexicon, each other, and so on.
    (Tip: Keep the scene short by providing half a scene if necessary for longer scenes.)
  2.  Have students use the strategies shared in this video to “annotate” the text using hyperlinks, and provide students with some time to bring the scene alive through a physical interpretation of this scene.  By this point, the students should be pretty familiar with this scene.
  3. Finally, allow students to debrief the process.  After the video, check out some of my sample questions below.

 

THE VIDEO:

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

 

This video does not demonstrate how to actually use Tagxedo.  If you can’t figure it out yourself, it’s okay!  Just ask a colleague or engage one of your shy tech savvy students to “tutor” you on it.  Nevertheless, if you have each group add their words to the Tagxedo Creator, they could create a visual representation of the terms that they chose to focus on during their “research” of the text.  If printed out, this image could be used on screen or on an overhead projector as the introductory image to their scene.
Sample Debrief Questions:

  1. What is the difference between active and passive reading? Benefits?
  2. What are your thoughts about exploring the text together?
  3. What are you thoughts about using resources like cell phones, lexicons (book & online versions), dictionaries, and laptops to explore the text?
  4. How do all of this (annotating, working with others, using resources, physicalizing the text, etc.) help with comprehension?

 

  • The students came up with wonderful responses.  Here are some of their thoughts:
  • Working together enabled us to explore different interpretations.
  • We got a chance to develop different skills by collaborating at some points and working independently at other points.
  • Needed it to understand the words
  • Makes piece stronger
  • Can’t act something you don’t know
  • Helps with interpretation and comprehension
  • Shakespeare uses everyday language differently and we are always changing as well as our understanding of words
  • Understanding Shakespeare’s context/meaning and our own interpretation/meaning

 

Students had a lot of fun with this activity.

Read Part One and Part Two of our Teaching Twelfth Night with Technology series.

 

Rachel Jean-Marie has been working at Boston Day & Evening Academy for the past 11 years as a Humanities teacher. BDEA is a competency-based alternative high school in the Roxbury area of Boston, MA that serves 16 to 22 year olds who haven’t been successful in a traditional school setting and were at risk of dropping out.

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