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Sonnets, Hamlet, and Critical Theory

Grade Levels
11th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
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  1. Whether you are just getting started with AP Literature or are looking to refresh your units, this bundle includes the traditional like Hamlet (see preview) to the contemporary like The Handmaid's Tale all while providing students with choice in both a Book Club and Poetry and Song Comparison unit a
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Have you tried Hamlet or Shakespeare before but not felt successful with the Bard?  Not only will this 21-day unit get your students into one of the most frequently appearing texts on the AP Literature test, it will also teach them how to read through a lens (otherwise known as Critical Theory).  This skill allows them to dive more deeply into the text and make more meaning than they would on their own. If you have tried Shakespeare before, but haven’t found success, this may be the step you have been missing.  At the beginning of the unit, students rate their enjoyment of Shakespeare and every year I have done this when they do the same at the end of the unit, the number of stars they give him improves for the vast majority of students.  Meanwhile, you are completing the required standard of analyzing multiple interpretations of a drama (RL11-12.7) with a Shakespeare play all while incorporating art, poetry, Metallica, and Louis Armstrong! Students also spend time with sonnets, contemporary poetry and a work of art to make deeper connections with their reading.  Plus, believe it or not, they will also write on two former AP Prompts, one poetry, and one free-response as well as participate in two Socratic Seminars. Intrigued? Then this is the unit that you need to not only entertain but also enthrall your students with the antics of William Shakespeare and his lively cast of Hamlet.

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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.


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