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Leontes from Head to Toe

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John Byam Lister Shaw. A Winter's Tale: Too Hot. Too Hot. Pen and ink drawing, ca. 1900.

March 2003
Elisa Garcia, Chayenne Traditional School, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Plays/Scenes Covered
The Winter's Tale, Act 1
What's On for Today and Why
So much of the dramatic tension in The Winter's Tale is based on what Leontes sees, hears, does, and thinks. In this lesson, your students will read Act 1 and find specific examples in the text that describe Leontes' behavior and influence.


This lesson will take one to two class periods.

What You Need

New Folger edition of The Winter's Tale


"Leontes from Head to Toe" worksheet

Leontes from Head to Toe
What To Do

1. Begin by giving students a brief synopsis of the play and a more detailed summary of Act 1 which they should then read for themselves focussing on Leontes' behavior in particular. 


2. Divide the class into groups of four.


3. Assign one of the following questions to each person in the group:
What does Leontes see in Act 1?
What does Leontes do in Act 1?
What does Leontes believe in Act 1?
What does Leontes hear or overhear in Act 1?


4. Allow students 15–20 minutes to find at least 4 specific examples in the text that answer their question. Ask them to write their examples on the handout "Leontes from Head to Toe," providing the act, scene, and line numbers they use to answer their question. Each example should be written in complete sentences and, if exact phrases from the play are used, should be marked by quotation marks.


5. After every student has completed the assignment, ask students to share their examples with members of their group.


6. Ask your students to write responses to the following questions:
What will happen to Polixenes and Camillo in Act 2?
What will happen to Hermione in Act 2?
Will Leontes confront Hermione with his suspicions?

How Did It Go?
Could your students find specific examples in the text to answer their question? Do they better understand Leontes' character? Could they make predictions about what will happen in the play based on what they've learned so far? Could they support their predictions by citing the text?

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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1 Comment

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Traci December 17, 2014 7:17 AM
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
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