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Shakespeare's themes of gender roles, cross dressing, bullying, messages, love, class, and drunkenness make Twelfth Night a play that is especially timely today. Students will quickly realize how much this play speaks to questions and ideas that are central to their lives.
These lessons also make great choices for online remote teaching because the clear instructions and structured questions are written for students to tackle independently. Additionally, the concrete text-based questions discourage cheating and encourage students to answer for themselves.
The real-life connections and innovative approach to the text will keep students engaged and excited about learning.
This seventy-eight page guide to Twelfth Night has been honed over many years of teaching. It includes twelve classes' worth of no-prep questions for every scene. It also includes instructions for using this guide with interactive notebooks, a quiz on acts I and II, a test on the whole play, and a final collaborative creative writing assignment with instructions and a rubric for grading presentations.
Every day’s lesson teaches a manageable portion of the play and includes prompts for writing that will engage students and get them thinking about the deeper questions of the play. The questions on the play encourage close reading and attention to details of the text.
The questions and assessment were created for a standard college prep level class—not an honors or AP level. No special knowledge is assumed at any point, and all of the reading is done in class. Because the themes of the play are somewhat mature, though, I would recommend teaching this to a junior or senior level class.
All of the answer keys quote the important passages, so there is no guessing on your part as to which parts of the text are most important. When you discuss the questions with your classes, you can point them to the sections to make sure that they are engaging with the text and working to interpret the sometimes challenging language.
There are no lectures or power points here—students will do the work themselves, with guidance from their teacher. Rather than telling them what the play means, you will be empowering them with the confidence and skills to tackle a Shakespeare play on their own.