Daina Lieberman, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School
This is a pre-reading activity for The Tempest.
What's On for Today and Why
Students will write descriptive poems of selected images of The Tempest using vocabulary from a word bank (a collection of Shakespearean words and phrases divided into useful descriptive categories.) This activity will help students become more comfortable with the language of the play and enable them to start thinking about what characters in the play might look like.
This lesson will take one class period.
What You Need
Folger edition of The Tempest
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
The Tempest Word Bank 1
The Tempest Word Bank 2
The Tempest Word Bank 3
What To Do
1. Before class, go to Google-/-Images/-Shakespeare's Tempest and print off various images of scenes and characters. (You will need half as many pictures as you have students)
2. Divide students into pairs. Give each pair one picture with the word bank handouts, attached in three pieces below.
3. Have students write a descriptive poem/prose piece about the picture using only words from the word bank, attached in 3 pieces below. Students should not let other students see their picture or poem.
4. Collect in all pictures.
5. Collect in the poems and pass them to different pairs. Have each pair attempt to draw the image described in the poem.
6. Hang up the poems and pictures (original images and student creations) around the room for students to view.
7. Discuss the results of the activity. Were students able to draw from other students' descriptions? Why is imagery important? Tell the students that all the pictures were depictions of Shakespeare's play The Tempest. What do they anticipate the imagery of the play will include?
How Did It Go?
Were students able to write descriptively? Did students begin to grasp how imagery functions in descriptive writing? Were students able to demonstrate an understanding of Shakespeare's language through selective use of the word bank?
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.