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Double Double, Toil and Trouble:
Engaging Urban High School Students in the Study of Shakespeare

Marsha R. Pincus
J.R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Whose English? Getting Students into the Language of Shakespeare Shakespeare's Blues: Making Personal Connections to Macbeth Interrogating Macbeth: Crafting a Literary Analysis

Where do I teach?

What are my students learning?

Teaching Practice
What's my approach?

Student Work






In my present context, there are no specific content nor textual requirements for English III. There are however skills and genre requirements that are in the PA state standards. There are very specific things that I need to teach my students how to do, including different kinds of writing, understanding different kinds of literature, reading and writing for a variety of purposes and audiences, that sort of thing. For me, the creative and generative part of teaching comes in the ways in which I get to incorporate those skills into a frame. That frame comes from questions that my experience has taught me, will matter to my students and engage them in authentic learning.

One of the assignments during the Macbeth unit is an analytical, literary paper in which they analyze and explicate the meaning of an image that Shakespeare uses throughout Macbeth - e.g. clothing, sleep, weather, blood, babies. I have very explicit things that I have them do in terms of the pre-writing, making a chart, doing a text-search. note-taking, drafting. I also present them with the rubruc for evaluation before they actually write the paper. In addition, I encourage them to rewrite if they are unhappy with their grade or their performance.


Site last updated January 3, 2006