Friday, September 4, 2009

First Poetry Friday & Talk Show Hamlet


William Blake's "A Poison Tree" is the first in our Poetry Fridays series. I chose this poem because I feel like some of the emotions contained in it relate to the first play we'll read this year, which is William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

You all did a wonderful job of copying down this poem, and we had an awesome discussion about words like "wrath" and "foe" as well as the "apple" as a possible allusion to the Bible. You all noted that there was a rhyme scheme at work in this poem and we talked a bit about the repetition of certain words. Of course, you all mentioned that there was some figurative language with the watering and growth of "wrath". One student accurately predicted the last line (almost verbatim), which was super impressive and demonstrated a connection with the poem. Others of you ventured excellent guesses at the ending of the poem.

After this lengthy dictation and discussion, we moved on to a little exercise I like to call Jerry Shakespeare, where we delve into the crazy issues of Hamlet with a little Jerry Springer twist. For this exercise in parody, you all had a chance to grab a card which had the name and situation/ description of a character from Shakespeare. One student is chosen to become a talk show host for the day and others are called on to stage by the host. Only the characters with the cards know their story; the host and the audience are unaware of how all the characters relate.

Once on the stage, the characters spill their stories. The talk show host needs to ask questions to pull out these stories, and the host decides who to call on next to gather more gossip.

You all did an amazing job! We laughed a ton and I feel like you now understand the complex trashiness that is the base storyline of Hamlet. Good work!

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