“Hamlet: The Social Network” is an excellent way to bring differentiated instruction to the classroom for a complicated Shakespearean play.
We hear a lot these days about how our students enjoy communicating with one another on sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. This project is essentially a character analysis assignment in the form of a “mock social network.”
Students must imagine that characters from Hamlet have social networking pages where they post their thoughts, concerns, activities, motivations, and more.
There have been many creative ways to teach Hamlet over the years including mock newspapers, mock trials, and the like. This project puts a 21st-century spin on those assignments and allows students to express themselves in a familiar medium.
This packet includes pages for eight characters in Hamlet. Students may role-play as any of them (or all of them) and write “status updates” as if they were the characters. They must write updates in a way that imaginatively demonstrates their knowledge of the character. Ideas for doing so might include interpreting the character’s motivations, justifying his/her actions, inventing private thoughts, and more.
The idea however must apply to all: we must find this character’s social networking profile “believable”; the student must stay within character to prove their knowledge of the play.
For example, a student might role-play as Ophelia and post thoughts that reflect her constantly twisting mindscape, while a student role-playing as Claudius might make comments reflecting his nervous nature after overhearing Hamlet and Ophelia. A student might take artistic liberty to imagine Gertrude’s motivations and feelings, while another student might consider exploring Horatio’s good nature or the Ghost’s intentions "Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / Are burnt and purged away" (1.5.6; 18).
Consider purchasing the assignment today!
Hamlet: The Social Network Project
by Christopher Mitchell
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License