About Me

After 23 years as a high school social studies teacher, I have taken a leap into library media.
This blog chronicles my experiences making this transition and my learning in that process.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Shakespeare in the Garage

Students enrolled in the English department elective, Shakespeare, will be the first class to work in The Garage (our re-branded makerspace). Before the winter break the class visited for an orientation to the space and their project. Next week they will begin creation now that they have had time for project ideas to gestate and to collect materials they may want to use or contribute to their classmates.

I consulted with the classroom teacher to understand his learning objectives, assessment needs, and concerns about embarking on this type of project before designing options for the students. Primarily the teacher was concerned that the level of rigor to which he was accustomed when he assigned papers to students be maintained in this approach. In addition, if there was to be a collaborative component to the project, he wanted to be sure that each student contributed fairly and purposefully to the group product.

In the past, the teacher had consulted the resources and suggestions from the Folger Library when planning for this Shakespeare class so when I developed three options for the students, I began by adapting an idea he had seen there knowing that he recognizes their resource credibility. Here are the ideas I proposed:

Idea 1: Character in a Box (individual project)

What kind of box or container best fits this character? (could be a steamer trunk, magical cabinet, barrel, burlap sack, coffin, etc.) Why? And how will you show this?

Does this box ground this character to a place or allow (force?) this character to move? Why? And how will you show this?
What does this character:
  • Hope?
  • Fear?
  • Believe?
  • Desire?
  • Wonder?
  • Deny?
  • Aspire?
  • Want?
  • Plan?
As a result of the attributes above, what would s/he put in the box? Find or make those things to add to your box, at least one item per attribute. Justify each selection with an excerpt from the play.

As a result of the attributes above, what else would be in the box whether or not s/he wants it there? Add it to the box and justify it with an excerpt from the play.

Design the outside of the box to resemble how the world sees the character; design the inside of the box to represent how the character understands him/herself.

Idea 2: Wandering Journal (group project with individual components)

You will work in a group of four; each student assumes the role of one of the main characters in the play: Prospero, Caliban, Ariel, or Antonio.

Create an entry in your journal, in character, in response to the following words by Miranda:

“Oh wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!  O, brave, new world
That has such people in ‘t! (5.1.215-218)

Then, trade journals with another group member, and, still in character, create a journal entry in response to the original one.

You will continue to trade journals until your original journal is returned to you.

Identify journaling techniques that will work for each play element to be explored; each group member must use at least the techniques in bold and at least two additional techniques:
  • Using the actual text page(s) as canvas
  • Using the same passage (Act V, Scene 1) from the text for a found poem
  • Image creation and annotation with lines from the play
  • Found image collage and annotation with lines from the play
  • Color vs. monochromatic - purposefully use color as a symbol or motif
  • Storyboard: segments vs. whole page
  • Multiple drawings of same concept or object (POV) incorporating color and media as it pertains to each POV
  • Media/material variation
This cycle will be repeated with a new prompt of the group’s choice or a new set of characters.  Your complete journal will have a total of eight character entries (two from each student in the group), artwork, and additional creative writing elements.

After you review the different entries, you will then make an entry in your own voice (not in character) in which you respond to and comment on what you learned from the collection of entries. 

You might consider:
  • Origins of conflict and obstacles to resolution
  • Gaps in understanding rooted in differing cultures
  • What it means to be, or to consider someone else to be, the “other”
  • At least one way in which these themes of the play resonate in contemporary society
Also, you will design an appropriate cover for your journal. 

Students must write a Shakespearean sonnet as a closing exercise and document the sonnet in their journal.  Use this checklist. (provided by the classroom teacher)

Idea 3: Personal Journal (individual project)

Students work independently to create a journal that explores all of these elements of the play:
  • Setting
  • Characterization
  • Culture and conflict
  • Family
  • Intersection of tragedy and comedy
As well as these themes:
  • Origins of conflict and obstacles to resolution
  • Gaps in understanding rooted in differing cultures
  • What it means to be, or to consider someone else to be, the “other”
  • At least one way in which these themes of the play resonate in contemporary society
Identify journaling techniques that will work for each play element to be explored; you must use the techniques indicated in bold and at least two additional techniques:
  • Using the actual text page(s) as canvas
  • Using a text passage for a found poem
  • Image creation and annotation with lines from the play
  • Found image collage and annotation with lines from the play
  • Color vs. monochromatic - purposefully use color as a symbol or motif
  • Storyboard: segments vs. whole page
  • Multiple drawings of same concept or object (POV) incorporating color and media as it pertains to each POV
  • Media/material variation
Design a cover for your journal and create at least eight, full-page entries in your journal, at least one entry for each element of the play and at least one for each theme. Each page should incorporate relevant lines from the play.

Students must write a Shakespearean sonnet as a closing exercise and document the sonnet in their journal. Use this checklist. (provided by the classroom teacher)

These materials are available in the Garage for students to use:

3D printer
Basic circuitry, LED lights, sound cards
Markers
Colored pencils
Chalk pastel
Oil pastel
Poster & watercolor paints
Duct tape, various patterns & colors
Glue: sticks, hot, tacky
Felt
Foil
Embroidery floss
Ribbon, Fabric & Yarn: various widths, lengths, patterns & colors
Buttons
Sewing supplies
Construction paper
Wrapping paper
Cardboard tubes, varying sizes
Recycled: plastic containers, magazines, plastic netting, 3D printer shapes
LED finger lights
Mason and other shaped jars
Sequins
Pom Poms
Feathers
Popsicle sticks
Pipe cleaners
Bottle caps
Beads
Clothes Pins

I developed this rubric for the students to use in planning their projects and for assessing their final products. To learn how the rubric works, students practiced by applying the rubric to the work of Lynda Barry which is available to them in print form in the Library Learning Commons collection as well as personal copies I let them borrow.

MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATION RUBRIC

The Way You Do the Things You Do *
The Temptations
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Take your Pick
Unchained Melody
The Righteous Brothers
What's Goin On?
Marvin Gaye
General
Appearance
&
Aesthetics
Strong aesthetic appeal, not cluttered, graphics enhance content;

image selection is appropriate; makes you want to continue interacting;

enhancements enrich the viewing and learning experience and significantly contribute to conveying the content and meaning, content-relevant visuals establish a clear visual pattern that aids audience understanding
Multimedia elements adequately contribute to conveying the content and meaning;

most graphics used appropriately to enrich the experience; although purpose may not be readily evident;

main points are evident and expanded through presentation; good, relevant visuals
Lacking attention to aesthetic design.

Graphics are random or insufficient and do not enhance content;

too much text, needs to be condensed
Graphics interfere with or distract from content and communication of ideas;

inappropriate or no use images; an essay on a poster
Critical
Thinking
&
Content
Mastery
The presentation of ideas is thoughtful, insightful, clear and focused. You approach the topic from an unusual perspective, use your unique experiences or view of the world as a basis for communicating; you make interesting connections between ideas. It is implicit that this exploration matters.

Explores the complexity of the issues; in-depth analysis; confrontation and discussion of conflicting information, motivations and ideas; critical thought & research evident; interprets principles in accurate and insightful ways.

Thoroughly researched; all points substantiated by evidence; no assumptions; sophisticated understanding of details, nuances and subtleties of the content; sufficient information to make the presentation worth reading or viewing; information is conveyed; content effectively achieves its intended purpose; historical information is accurate and relevant.

Makes frequent, meaningful and rich cross-discipline and/or real-life connections
You attempt to develop all ideas; although some ideas may be developed more thoroughly and specifically than others; the overall development reflects some depth of thought, enabling the viewer to generally understand and appreciate your ideas.

Analysis accurate but lacking depth of understanding; may not demonstrate clear understanding of audience motivation; may lack thoroughness in addressing purpose.

Considerable evidence contributes to message development but lacks depth; assumptions cloud facts, some ideas are ambiguous.

Makes relevant cross-discipline and real-life connections
Limited by superficial generalizations; unclear or simplistic; may be simply an account of a single incident instead of articulating a purpose; therefore the viewer cannot sustain interest in the ideas

More descriptive than analytic; relies on summary of information and events rather than application of information to audience opinion; makes errors in interpreting research; ineffectively synthesizes the information.

Exhibits only sketchy or insufficient evidence; may have errors; some understanding of details, nuances and subtleties of the content; most subject knowledge is literal and does not enhance message development.

Attempts some cross-discipline and real-life connections that demonstrate partial understanding
Confusing and hard to follow; disorganized; develops no connections among ideas; statements are convoluted and viewer is left questioning the work itself and not the ideas presented in the work

Inadequate or inaccurate understanding of the information, events or audience; attempts at analysis or insight are confused or inappropriate; major errors in understanding.

Almost no use of evidence; attempts are confused or inappropriate; major errors; complete misunderstanding or no effort to understand the details, nuances and subtleties of the content.

Learns primarily without cross-discipline or real-life connections
Presentation

Shows sophisticated sense of audience; uses language artfully and articulately; meaningfully organizes; uses media/materials effectively
Shows clear sense of audience; uses language effectively; clearly organizes; uses media/materials appropriately
Shows some sense of audience; uses language somewhat effectively; somewhat organized; somewhat appropriate use of media/ materials
Shows little sense of audience; uses language ineffectively; weak organization interferes with meaning; ineffective use of media/materials
* a note on the use of song titles in rubrics
It has long been my practice not to designate point values in rubrics. I use song titles, movie titles or other pop culture references as category headings. I want students to focus on the descriptions of their process, habits of mind, and choices rather than point values. Students frequently debate whether certain category headings are appropriately assigned which is an indicator that they are considering the characteristics and qualities of each section of the rubric.

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