Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Erik's Mad Lesson plan (draft)

Target Audience
High School student art classes, years Freshman to Senior

Lesson Purpose and Outcomes
Students will engage Shakespeare critically and creatively; by analyzing and interpreting a series of Hamlet's soliloquies they will gain fluency and fluidity with Shakespearian ideas and themes (madness, in particular), after which they will be prepared to express their reactions to the same themes through projects involving mixed media. In particular, they will:
1.      Gain familiarity with 3 soliloquies
2.      Develop team communicative skills as they discuss their ideas
3.      Learn principles of abstract art
4.      Expand their vision of art to the usage of many materials

Teachers will have to ask students to bring in their own materials from home; once the principles of abstract art have been taught, encouragement can be given to think creatively in terms of the types of materials that they bring from home.
a.       Glue
b.      Tape
c.       Paint
d.      Paper
e.       Scrap materials of any kind

Abstract Art

Kenneth Braugh (Hamlet’s Soliloquies cinematic versions)
Theo van Doesburg
Piet Mondrian
Fernand L├ęger

Part 1 (1 to 2 class periods)
1.      Divide the classroom into groups. Tell the students that they will be placed in these groups that they might be able to be free in expressing their creative views in our class discussions.
2.      Give an introduction to the theme of madness we will be following in Shakespeare: Being sensitive to individuals’ opinions and backgrounds, begin the first discussion about what we consider to be sane and what we consider to be irrational or crazy, and why. Using the discussion questions found below, guide the students in continuing their own conversations.

Discussion Questions
“How do people react when they encounter a person that has a physical or mental handicap?”
“Can we as individuals adequately fit into the shoes of others who have some mental       disability?”
“Are the mentally infirm aware of the fact that they are crazy?”
“What might we do to show that we are sensitive to their concerns?

3.      As a means to transition the current conversation over to an application inside a Shakespearian context, engage the following passages of Hamlet, his soliloquies (via text, or via youtube):

 a.  “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!” (Act I, Scene II)
b.   “To be, or not to be, that is the question”  (Act III, scene I)
c.  “Oh what a rogue and a peasant slave am I” (Act II, scene 

 4. Engage in a teacher-led discussion about what contributes to Hamlet’s progressive madness.

         Part II (3-5 class periods)
         1. Organize materials
         2. Give a brief introduction to abstract artists and their styles
         3. Give instruction for abstract art and creating principles-- by personal preference
         4. Allow students to respond to previous class(es) on madness by creating their own interpretations with abstract art, based on their own imagination
         5. Circulate and discuss with each student the feelings they put into their respective works

1.      Allow the class the opportunity to present their respective abstract works with explanations to their classmates

The above lesson could be applied to any theme of Shakespeare or literature

Shakespeare’s Hamlet,


  1. I couldn't figure out how to put it up in the pdf format I made it in... Cassandra, could I ask you how you did that?

  2. I just took screen shots of my lesson plans and then posted them as pictures...but I would love to know if you can put them up as pdfs, because then they would be much better quality!