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    • 8th Grade: The Metamorphosis
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English 9 – Macbeth

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This quarter, the 9th graders studied and interpreted William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students were introduced to William Shakespeare and viewed two short biographies.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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