Christina Porter teachers English and is a Literacy Coach at Revere High School, Revere, MA
What's On for Today and Why
Assigning a final project that asks students to demonstrate their understanding of character using both print and non-print medium is an informative way to assess their comprehension.For this project, students choose two characters from Hamlet and assign each character an object that either symbolizes the character or that the character might carry around with him/her. Students will include a short analysis of the object and provide textual evidence that connects the character to the object. Students will present their objects to the whole class or in small groups.
This lesson can be assigned in one class period. Students may need several days to collect their objects and prepare accompanying index cards.
What You Need
Shoe boxes (8-10)
Folger edition of Hamlet
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
What To Do
1. After finishing reading the play, explain to students that they will be doing a character analysis project using objects that they choose and assign to specific characters.
2. Place several shoe boxes round the classroom, labeled with the names of major characters in the play.
3. Give students Handout #1 that explains project details.
4. Have students select two characters from the play that interest them.
5. Have students select an object for each character that either symbolizes the character or that the character may carry around with him/her. The objects should fit inside the shoe boxes provided.
NOTE: Because Hamlet does include weapons, remind students that they may not bring sharp objects, such as knives, into school, even for a project.
6. Each object should be accompanied by a index card that contains the following information:
- student's name
- a detailed description of the object
- an explanation of what the object has to do with the character
- a quotation from the text that somehow connects that object to the character
(You may want to suggest that the students consult an online concordance, such as www.opensourceshakespeare.com to search for specific words within the play)
7. Have students complete Handout #2 which is a grading rubric for the project.
8. Have students present their objects to the whole class or in small groups.
How Did It Go?
Were the students able to choose objects that accurately symbolized a character OR that the character may carry around with him/her? Did the students describe their objects with appropriate detail? Were students able to locate textual evidence that connects their character to the object? When presenting, did students clearly desrcibe their object and verbally articulate the connection to a specific character?
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.