Lesson Plan

Exploring & Rewriting Hamlet

Using a variety of technological tools, students will practice reading, writing, using evidence, and making connections through an exploration of Hamlet.
Deborah J. R.
Media specialist/librarian
Hutchison High School
Fairbanks, AK
Show More
My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • read an interactive story;
  • make comparisons between the interactive and original story;
  • read and comment on an article;
  • create an animated story; and
  • write a short paper.
Subjects
English Language Arts
literature
reading
reading comprehension
using supporting evidence
writing
Grades 10 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Pre-Requisites

Activity: Reading

This lesson plan assumes that students are already familiar with the basic Hamlet story, either by reading the original text, watching the play, or reading a modernized (but still complete) version; and have discussed and analyzed the play.

Before beginning the lesson, be sure to download and register the necessary apps on whatever devices students will be using. 

Ryan North's To Be or Not to Be is available on iOS, Android, and on Mac or PC via Steam.

Newsela is available as a website, on iOS, and on Android. Sign up for a teacher account and establish a class. 

Plotagon is available as a software application for Mac or PC or as an iOS app.

Google Docs is available as a website and app in iOS and Android. Ensure that students know how to login and share work. 

Three Ring is available as a website and iOS app. 

2 Choose Your Own Adventure Hamlet

Individually or in pairs, ask students to read Ryan North's To Be or Not to Be. Students may read the story from three possible viewpoints, Hamlet, King Hamlet's Ghost, or Ophelia. As they progress through the story, they can choose how to proceed. 

After students have finished reading through the story one time, ask them to view the HAML-O-METER to see how well their version matched Shakespeare's. Students can turn in their results in a variety of ways, including taking a screenshot and uploading to a learning management system such as Canvas, uploading to Google Classroom or Google Drive and sharing the file, or printing if Air Print is available.

Student Instructions

Use Ryan North's To Be or Not to Be to read Hamlet from one of three possible viewpoints. Use the choose your own adventure features of the game to progress through the story in your own way. 

After reading the story all the way through one time, use the HAML-O-METER to see how well your version matched Shakespeare's. Compare and contrast the differences. Take a screenshot of the page; turn it in to your teacher if requested. 

3 Shakespeare's Influence

Assign this article about Hamlet (https://newsela.com/articles/global-hamlet/id/4749/) to your class using Newsela. For the write portion, use the following prompt: Hamlet was first published in 1603 and has been performed thousands of times around the world since then. Why do you think the story still appeals to so many people from around the world?

Ask students to complete both the writing prompt and the quiz. View results in the Binder tool in Newsela. 

Student Instructions

Login to Newsela and read the article about Hamlet assigned to your class. As you are reading the article, think about how many cultures are represented in the audiences of the play. After reading the article, complete the "Write" activity and then the "Quiz." 

4 Rewrite Hamlet

Hamlet is a tragedy, and in Shakespeare's world that means that almost everyone dies. In this case, the entire royal family is killed, but Prince Fontibras steps in to take over. Hamlet and his line is gone but Horatio says that he will live on in the story that will be told.

This ending is sometimes unsatisfying. Has justice been served? Did Hamlet deserve to die? Should Queen Gertrude survive?

Ask students individually, or in the same pairs as when reading Ryan North's To Be or Not to Be, to use Plotagon to rewrite the ending of Hamlet. 

Explain that students will be expected to write a short paper explaining their choices and explaining why Shakespeare likely chose his. 

Student Instructions

Hamlet is a tragedy, and in Shakespeare's world that means that almost everyone dies. In this case, the entire royal family is killed, but Prince Fontibras steps in to take over. Hamlet and his line is gone but Horatio says that he will live on in the story that will be told.

This ending is sometimes unsatisfying. Has justice been served? Did Hamlet deserve to die? Should Queen Gertrude survive?

First on paper using a storyboard and then in Plotagon, rewrite the ending of Hamlet. Decide who should die and who should survive and what you wish to change. After drawing your new ending on a storyboard, use Plotagon to animate your new ending. 

5 Explaining your Choices & Defending Hamlet's

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Ask students to write a short essay in Google Docs explaining the choices they made in their ending rewrite. Explain that students should not only explain why they made the choices they did, but why Shakespeare most likely picked his choices. For example, if students save Queen Gertrude, why did Shakespeare most likely have her die? Students should include evidence from the text, and may also use literary criticism if appropriate, to explain their reasoning. All work, including text from the play, should be properly cited. 

Your school librarian can help students to find literary criticism and analysis resources to help them in writing their paper.

Student Instructions

Write a short essay (2-3 pages) in Google Docs explaining the choices you made in your ending rewrite. For each change your made, explain why you made the choices you did, and also why Shakespeare most likely picked his choices. For example, if you save Queen Gertrude, why did Shakespeare most likely have her die?

Include evidence from the text to support your arguments regarding's Shakespeare's reasons. You may also use literary criticism if appropriate (11th and 12th grade students), to explain your reasoning. All work, including text from the play, should be properly cited. 

Your school librarian can you to find literary criticism and analysis resources. He or she can also assist with citation questions. 

6 Sharing & Saving Your Work in Your Digital Portfolio

Ask students to upload their essay and animation to Three Ring as part of their digital portfolio. Other software can be used for this, include Google Drive and learning management systems, such as Canvas.

Be sure to make time for each student or pair of students to share their videos with the class and verbally explain the changes they made and why.