A week or so ago, I read an article about how making predictions leads to a deeper understanding. I decided to take advantage of this idea and my love of Leap Day (must do something epic) to create a Macbeth Dinner Party Murder Mystery with my students! The goal of the lesson was to introduce Macbeth, create a shared experience, and to allow the students to make predictions about the plot of Macbeth. The activity itself was inspired by my enjoyment of the Final Fantasy series and if I had the talent, I would love to make this a mini-internet game.
Prior to the day, some students were assigned to be characters from Macbeth. While they were allowed to use their scripts (below), the goal was they they were familiar with their part. I should say that my students this class are College Prep Level 2 students, meaning that there is a range of English Language Learners and students who need extra time processing information.
When students came into the classroom that day, they were told to mingle with the characters and take notes on what they have to say (as well as eat the snacks that my cooperating teacher and I provided). I should, actually, have created a graphic organizer to keep track of all of the information that students were receiving.
Overall, students seemed to enjoy learning about the different characters and enjoyed the death scene that Duncan put on. When all was done, we discussed what the students had learned from their discussions.
Now, here is where I link back to the article mentioned up top! After debriefing, students made predictions as to what was going to happen in Macbeth. Their predictions were pretty interesting and since they are displayed prominently in my classroom, we will revisit them often.
A few of the predictions:
Related Post ~ Macbeth and Agency: Rethinking the Blame Game
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Loving this. Is there any order to events/conversations? Do students just mingle randomly?
Students did mingle randomly in the beginning and carried notebooks to take down what people said. The only thing that happens on a schedule is the death scene!!
We are under way. I can’ t wait it see if anyone goes beyond the script to really “become one with the character”. There Is so much they can with the characters (I added a few so each of my kids would play a role. Personally, I am looking forward to the interpretation of the Porter’s involvement. We actually have an all girls 12th grade class, so we are approaching the casting similarly from the way that I dream Mr. Shakespeare must, all those hundreds have done years agoi
I used the basic scripts as a spring board. This is the most excited I’ve been all year, and it showed in the classroom. Thank for being so willing to share. Our murder mystery I’d Tuesday, so say a little prayer for us. :). Again, I just can’t thank you enough for this wonderful inspiration I’ll keep you psted on our progress. I
Wow! I am thrilled that this is getting use! I don’t teach English anymore and really miss this activity. Please let me know how it goes.
I may have gone a bit overboard–costume and all, but I wanted my kids to get a sense of the Shakespearean era history as well. I have been doing stage makeup for over 30 years, so I had a little fun with that, too, including the pale face and oh-so-lovely yellow and blackened teeth (quite the fashion statement of the day). The whole school was abuzz over Mrs. Branson’s attire today!
I also went for period food morsels. Everything on our “menu” was served in Shakespeare’s time: cheese; bread (the lighter the color, the higher class of folks able to afford it); wine, non-alcoholic, of course (since the water was absolutely filthy in those days, everyone drank ale or wine), and naturally, the sweets–little cakes and sugary delights that were the demise of the Queen’s pearly whites.
From the food we went to the fun. I had specific questions (no idea how to attach them here) planned out as sort of a scavenger hunt for each student to ask each character and answer. Some of the questions were short-answers; others were essay-style. At the end, we came together as a group and discussed, and the conversation was lively–especially when it came to Lady Macbeth’s involvement. One of the questions I posed was that if the events of Macbeth had taken place today, how many “guilty” (until proven innocent) parties would have been brought to Justice? Most said two, but a few left Macbeth on his own. The arguments for both were impressive.
Now I absolutely MUST try your version of the Macbeth Blame Game tomorrow! This will pave the way for a compare/contrast essay on Thursday.
(I am looking forward to sharing tales of my third apparition of the witches spectacle. If they thought my queen was creepy today…! I’m not going to give too much info away before the big event, but Tuesday, Oct., 29th in South FL is going to be a wildly fun learning experience!)
I’m so happy to be a teacher! Thank you for helping me get back into that comfy mode again! 😀
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