This quarter, the 9th graders studied and interpreted William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students were introduced to William Shakespeare and viewed two short biographies.
Students then checked out their Macbeth book from the library and read the first two acts for homework. Every week, 1-2 acts were dissected in-depth together as a class. Each week began with a read-aloud where each student is assigned a speaking role from the act. The roles were switched each week, and the students’ speaking parts were distributed equally throughout the unit. Students were marked for participation, but near the end of the unit, students were evaluated on their overall read-aloud performance.
Every read-aloud was followed by a class discussion, summary, and analysis of the major themes of each act. After every 1-2 acts, a timed formative in-class essay took place. Several potential essay questions were provided ahead of time, but the question choices were narrowed down for the test.
Based on these prompts, students prepared for their timed in-class essays by answering and finding evidence and quotes from the text based on the themes discussed in class. Before their last essay, a class mind-map was generated based on the major themes of Macbeth.
Their last in-class essay was a summative and covered Acts 1-5. During one of the weeks, the students were put in pairs and assigned to imagine and to write a short scene of King Duncan’s actual murder. Pairs were tasked to include dialogue and to present their murder scene to the class. Subsequently, students played a series of competitive Kahoot games on Macbeth.
For the last assignment of the semester, students were put in groups of 3-4 and were to put together and rehearse a Macbeth Movie Scene or Live Performance. For inspiration, students viewed the 1971 film of Macbeth, directed by Roman Polanski. While rehearsing, groups also consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback. When students finally presented their Macbeth Movie Scene or Live Performance, students filled out a peer evaluation form for the performance of each group.
To review for final exams, students partook in a competitive matching game on “Characteristics of Epic Heroes” and “Types of Heroes,” topics we learned earlier in the semester. Winning groups received a prize. In the last week, students completed a reflection survey on study habits and set new goals and aspirations for the next semester. After receiving their final exam results, students played a series of competitive fiction games in preparation for the next unit.
This unit began with students choosing one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph. From their chosen speech, they had to watch, analyze, and present it to the rest of the class paying close attention to purpose, audience, rhetorical techniques, and overall effectiveness of the speech. Students consulted with the teacher who provided them with feedback before their presentation. While students presented, the classmates wrote down comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.
The Chosen Inspiring Speech segued into the Global Issue Speech (the final assessment of the semester) in which students had to select a topic from a list of global issues. If students wanted to select an alternative topic for their global issue, it had to be approved by the teacher.
They also had an option of making a presentation through Google Slides, PowerPoint, Prezi, poster, or props, or alternative approved visual for their visual aid to their speech. Once proposals were approved, they began researching their chosen topic. The following week, they were required to submit a reference list of at least four credible sources, with the attached summaries. In their speech, students had to integrate 5-8 rhetorical techniques, the persuasive techniques, and the presentation tips that they’ve learned into their speech. They also had to incorporate evidence from their research into their argument and had to pay close attention to purpose and audience. Furthermore, students were required to cite their speech in APA format.
Throughout the weeks, students consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback on their sources, outlines, and first drafts. They revised their speeches based on feedback and rehearsed their speeches well enough until most of the content was memorized. Students submitted their final paper and delivered their speeches along with their visual presentation. The final paper served as a summative assessment, while the actual speech presentation served as their final exam. While each student presented, the classmates wrote down their comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.
For the last week of the semester, the Global Issue final paper and actual speech presentation marks were returned, and the teacher reviewed the performances with each student one-on-one. The unit ended with a series of documentary films on public speaking.
This 2nd quarter, the 7th graders learned about different types of poetry. The poetry unit began with students responding to the question “What is poetry? What are the different types of poetry?” A Wordle or Word Cloud was created, and the largest to the smallest words were then analyzed together as a class.
Through a matching activity, students matched the types of poetry with their definition, and the winning team received a prize.
Students were introduced to the poetry acronym called F.L.I.R.T (form, language, imagery, rhyme and rhythm, and theme/topic/meaning). Students partook in online Quizlets on metaphors vs. similies and adjectives vs. adverbs and were given a short quiz on the F.L.I.R.T handout. The poetry packet with several poetry genres was distributed to students. They were instructed to read the first three poems, to answer discussion and critical thinking questions that were written on the board, and to Think, Pair, Share their findings. For each round, a different group member spoke. Students took notes based on additional ideas made by their peers. In pairs, students annotated and analyzed the poems using the F.L.I.R.T sheet. Afterward, the teacher discussed the first three poems listed using F.L.I.R.T on the document camera/TV/whiteboard while students listened and added to their annotations.
Students were introduced to Free Verse Poetry. After answering F.L.I.R.T templates for the next three poems on their own, in pairs or groups, students were asked to write a “’The ____ That My ____ Had’ poem.” These were requested by the librarians to be displayed in the library for Book Week.
Some students read their work to the class. The poems were discussed by the teacher through the document camera/TV/whiteboard while students listened and added to their annotations. A similar process was done with the next type of poetry they learned, Lyric Poetry, except that students were randomly selected to read the poems. For Narrative Poetry, the teacher read-aloud two hand-selected narrative poems (one serious and one humorous) while students followed along. Students watched two videos of the narrative poems to give them a visual interpretation and analyzed the two narrative poems from their booklet using the questions on the narrative template. Finally, students wrote a narrative poem on a topic of interest. These were again displayed in the upper school library.
The next three poetry genres students learned about were Haikus, Humorous Poetry, and Limericks. First, they read hand-selected examples of each type of poetry genre. Afterward, they were tasked to read the poems from the booklet, and volunteer students did a rendition of “Fireflies” by Paul Fleischman. Together, the class generated a mind map of their initial thoughts on “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, and listened to an audio of “Sarah Cynthia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out” by Shel Silverstein. Students were then asked to write haikus and limericks, and some volunteered to read their poems to the class.
Lastly, to introduce Slam Poetry, students answered the question “What do you think Slam Poetry is?” on post-it notes placed against a whiteboard. This visible thinking method allowed students to visualize their classmates’ ideas.
Each day of the week, the students viewed a different video of a powerful slam poetry performance from speakers of different ages. Students were given time to prepare and practice for their slam poetry presentations (final oral assessment) and received feedback from the teacher and their peers. Individually, students delivered their poems in class while classmates wrote down comments in a sheet provided by the teacher.
The unit ended with a matching activity and a Quizlet game to review for final exams, as well as a reflection survey on study habits. Students also partook on a mock final exam and graded each other.
After receiving their final exam results, students played a series of competitive fantasy games in preparation for the next unit.