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Hamlet: Understanding Polonius (Act 1) PARENT's letter vs. Polonius' advice

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Travis Tips
SUPER ACTIVITY. It requires about three days lead time to the introduction of Polonius. That's because students' parents are asked to write advice to their son or daughter who is going to be going to college. Students bring home this homework assignment for parents (letter included) and bring back the letters three days later. I keep them until we get to the scene in Act 1 where Polonius "interacts" with Laertes and Ophelia --- "To thine own self be true speech".... The classroom part has students working in small groups, sharing their parents' letters and then making correlations between what their parents say vs. Polonius' advice. Most students conclude that Polonius speaks in contradictions because he is a politician!!!! and that their parents show love for them. Over the years I have found that more than 90 percent of the parents complete the homework letter --- and most are thrilled to do so. THIS IS A HUGE HIT --- and kids understand how Polonius' language obfuscates understanding --- isn't that a politician?:!!
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Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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