Polonius Advice To Laertes Essay Format

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/analyzing-advice-introduction-shakespeare-372.html

Print This Page

Lesson Plan

Analyzing Advice as an Introduction to Shakespeare

 

Grades6 – 8
Lesson Plan TypeStandard Lesson
Estimated TimeFour 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author
Publisher

 

Preview

OVERVIEW

Students read and analyze the advice given in Mary Schmich's 1997 Chicago Tribune column "Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young," which inspired the popular recording "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann. Exploring the column and its recording, students focus on both content and style through the following central questions: What advice is being given? To whom is it given? How good is this advice? Using similar analytical techniques, students then explore the advice that Polonius gives to Laertes in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Based on this exploration, students write their own advice poems as a final activity.

back to top

 

FEATURED RESOURCES

Advice Text Rubric: Use this rubric to assess students' advice poems.

back to top

 

FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

In their article "Shakespeare through the Lens of a New Age," Linda Tabers-Kwak and Timothy U. Kaufman explain, "English teachers constantly seek to bring relevance to Shakespeare's works, and if we agree with Rosenblatt that our role is to help students ‘gain a broader and deeper insight through literature itself' (107), then we must utilize ways to take the best that literature can offer-Shakespeare, for instance-and help students truly embrace the text in a way that they deem relevant and worthwhile to the age in which they live" (73). Music and advice columns provide, according to Tabers-Kwak and Kaufman, a gateway to Shakespeare that allows students to focus "a perspective about Elizabethan drama through a twenty-first century lens" (71). This popular-culture lens ultimately "remov[es] Shakespeare's ‘unapproachable' stigma . . . and promises to open more investigative doors for student exploration among all levels" (73).

This lesson plan focuses on connecting popular culture (music and advice columns) to a short passage from Hamlet, giving students the opportunity to investigate Shakespeare's language and ideas in a concentrated and specific situation. As Michael Milburn explains, "tackling an entire play, trying to elucidate language, plot, and historical context all at once" can be overwhelming to students (76). Middle school students, he suggests, can have a more positive experience with Shakespeare's language by studying a specific Shakespearean speech, removed from plot and historical context. Students can then focus on interpreting the structure and language of Shakespeare in a concentrated exploration.

Further Reading

Milburn, Michael. "Selling Shakespeare." English Journal 92.1 (September 2002): 274-79.

 

Tabers-Kwak, Linda, and Timothy U. Kaufman. "Shakespeare through the Lens of a New Age." English Journal 92.1 (September 2002): 69-73.

back to top

Standards

NCTE/IRA NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

3.

Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

 

6.

Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

 

back to top

Resources & Preparation

MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY

  • "The 'Sunscreen' Column," requires a free online subscription to the Chicago Tribune

  • Audio version of the song "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" (optional)

  • Additional examples of the advice genre, if desired

back to top

 

PRINTOUTS

back to top

 

WEBSITES

back to top

 

PREPARATION

  • Gather additional examples of the advice genre, such as newspaper advice columns. You can choose "newspaper" examples from Dear Abby and Hints from Heloise. You'll also find advice online at sites that are companions to do-it-yourself and self-help television shows such as What Not to Wear or Gardening Advice from the BBC Website. There are also sites that speak specifically to advice for teens such as TeensHealth and PBS's It's My Life. Because some material may be inappropriate for your students, be sure to check the sites ahead of time. It may be best to print appropriate examples out, rather than asking students to visit these sites themselves.

  • So that students do not need to create a login on the Chicago Tribune site, access the ‘Sunscreen' Column ahead of the class session, and print a copy to share with students. Make copies of the column for students to use as they write their own advice columns for homework.

  • Decide whether to have students to work with the excerpt from Hamlet as it is normally published or divided into the separate pieces of advice. The divided version may be easier for students to work with as the text is a bit less imposing and is already broken into sections, based on the meaning. Make copies of the version that you choose for your students. If you do choose the divided copy, however, also prepare an overhead of the original version so that students can see the text as it appears in the play.

  • (optional) Write a sample advice poem as a model to share with students, similar to the Model Advice Column (Advice to a New Teacher).

  • If you'll use the rubric to assess students' work, make copies of the Advice Text Rubric.

  • If desired, make an overhead of the discussion questions used in the first and third sessions.

  • Test the Advice Text Comparison Chart interactive (and if desired for the extension activity, the Persuasion Map and or the Letter Generator) on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • If you choose not to use the Interactive Chart, make copies of the Advice Text Comparison Chart handout.

back to top

Instructional Plan

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • apply a range of strategies to comprehend and interpret two texts.

  • use their knowledge of structure, conventions, and figurative language to create texts, modeled on the texts they have discussed as a class.

  • draw conclusions about the genres explored and the connections among the texts.

back to top

 

Homework Prior to Session One

To prepare for the first session, distribute samples of the advice genre, such as newspaper advice columns. Alternatively, you can point students to online examples. As they read the examples, ask students to pay particular attention to the characteristics of the texts and the ways that the authors give advice and make the advice believable (or not).

back to top

 

Session One

  1. Begin the session with a focused freewriting, asking students to respond to the following questions: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? What is the worst?

  2. After students have finished gathering their ideas about advice, invite them to discuss their answers in either small or large group settings. As students compare their responses, ask them to work towards a definition of "good advice". Ask students to bring in examples and observations from their homework reading.

  3. Discuss students' definitions, asking them to choose two or three that they think are the best. Write these definitions on the board or display them on an overhead transparency.

  4. Share the text of Schmich's "Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young." Pass out copies, display the text on an overhead projector, or ask students to visit the "The ‘Sunscreen' Column" on the Chicago Tribune Website. Note that the Website does require a login, so other options may be more desirable for your situation.

  5. If possible, play the musical version of the "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann.

  6. As students read and/or listen to the words, ask them to pay attention to the advice the speaker is giving.

  7. For students who need a more structured analysis tool, use the Advice Text Comparison Chart interactive or the Advice Text Comparison Chart handout to record information as students to work through the text, identifying the pieces of advice. Students can complete the chart before moving to further discussion and exploration of the ideas.

  8. In small groups or as a whole class, ask students to evaluate the advice given in the text, focusing on the questions below which can be displayed on an overhead or LCD Projector if desired:

    • How did you determine what the individual pieces of advice were?

    • How well does this advice meet the criteria established at the beginning of this lesson?

    • How is this advice similar to advice you've been given?

    • Who has given you this advice?

    • Did you (or would you) follow it?

    • Why might someone give this advice to someone your age?
  9. If students discussed in small groups, gather the group and invite students to discuss their responses.

  10. Once students have identified the features of Schmich's text, ask them to consider how well the advice meets the criteria listed on the board (or overhead), listed in step 2 above.

  11. Make additions or revisions to the class definition as appropriate.

  12. With at least five minutes left in class, ask students to list advice they would give to next year's incoming sixth graders on scrap paper or in their writer's notebooks.

  13. Begin by asking students to brainstorm a list for the class, writing down the suggestions on the board or on chart paper. To ensure participation, go around the room, asking each student for a suggestion.

  14. Once everyone has contributed, read over the list, and add any additional items or revisions to the list.

  15. Ask students to choose the suggestions that they like best, and write these suggestions in their writer's notebooks so they can use the information at home for their poems.

  16. Before students leave, distribute and briefly explain the requirements for the poems they will be writing for homework:

    Use the class definition of "good advice" and the class discussion to create an informal advice column, similar to Schmich's "Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young."

  17. Share the teacher's advice column with your students, or if you'd prefer, you can share a similar text that you have written based on Schmich's model.

  18. Remind students to use the printout of the column for reference at home.

back to top

 

Session Two

  1. Ask students to share the advice columns they composed for homework with the class or in small groups.

  2. If appropriate, make additions or revisions to the class definition of "good advice" based on students' experience with writing and reading their columns.

  3. Connect the discussion of advice to the kinds of advice people give about school, reading, and so forth. If students' advice to incoming sixth graders includes pertinent ideas, connect directly to their texts (e.g., a student's advice text might suggest that you have to read things more than once if the information is not clear).

  4. Ask students what advice they have heard about studying Shakespeare. Encourage students to connect to the general advice they've gathered when possible and appropriate.

  5. In the context of this discussion, ask students to share their feelings about, experience with, and knowledge of Shakespeare's writing.

  6. Pass out copies of Polonius' advice, explaining that the passage is a father's advice to his young son, who is leaving home for France. The version of the passage that has been divided by pieces of the advice may be easier for students to work with. If you choose this version, be sure to show students the text as it is normally published by displaying the speech with an overhead projector.

  7. If desired, play an audio or video version of the passage. Alternately, you can read the passage aloud.

  8. As they listen, ask students to mark words or phrases that they are unsure of.

  9. Play the recording or read the passage a second time, this time asking students to figure out some of the advice Polonius is giving.

  10. Allow students to share some of their comments or questions.

  11. Working as a class or in small groups, students can use the Glossary at the Shakespeare 101 Website to identify the meaning of any terms they've marked on their copy of the text.

  12. Discuss the iambic pentameter form that the passage uses in order to familiarize students with the structure and rhythms that are featured in the text.

  13. Ask students to use the other pages in Shakespeare 101 Website to interpret Polonius' advice. For students who need a more structured analysis tool, use the Advice Text Comparison Chart interactive or the Advice Text Comparison Charthandoutto record information as students work through the text, identifying the pieces of advice. Students can complete the chart before moving to further discussion and exploration of the ideas.

  14. Allow students the remainder of the class to work on their analysis. As students work, circulate among groups, looking at entries in the Advice Chart or notebooks, asking questions about their opinions, or guiding students' interpretation.

back to top

 

Session Three

  1. Allow students additional time at the beginning of this session to finish their research on the passage.

  2. Once research is completed, in small groups, ask students to evaluate the advice offered in the passage, focusing on the questions below, as they did in the first session:

    • How did you determine what the individual pieces of advice were?

    • How well does this advice meet the criteria established at the beginning of this lesson?

    • How is this advice similar to advice you've been given?

    • Who has given you this advice?

    • Did you (or would you) follow it?

    • Why might someone give this advice to someone your age?
  3. Come together as a large group to answer questions and evaluate some of the advice, using the criteria for "good advice" established in the previous sessions. When possible, allow students to answer their peers' questions based on their own discoveries interpreting the passage.

  4. Reserve at least ten to twenty minutes at the end of class to demonstrate how students can turn their informal advice poems into formal poems.

  5. Ask students to volunteer advice from their poems for incoming sixth graders, and write the suggestion on a transparency or the board.

  6. Choose one example, and ask someone to identify and paraphrase the key information: what the advice is in five words or less as well as why the advice should be followed in five words or less.

  7. Write this key information on the transparency or board under the original lines of the volunteer's poem.

  8. Use key information to create two lines of iambic pentameter containing the same advice.

  9. As appropriate, refer to the Shakespeare 101 Website pages for resources to adjust the word order and word choice.

  10. Share the formal advice passage for a new teacher with your students, or if you'd prefer, you can share a similar text that you have written based on Shakespeare's passage.

  11. For homework, ask students to create their own "Shakespearean" advice for incoming sixth-grade students, using their homework from Session One as a starting point. Explain that students will share rough drafts of both poems during the next class session.

  12. If time remains in class, students can begin working on their formal advice poem. Remind students that they can use the Glossary at the Shakespeare 101 Website as they work on their drafts.

back to top

 

Session Four

  1. Ask students to revisit the class definition of "good advice." Based on their work writing their "Shakespearean" advice texts, invite students to add or revise the definition.

  2. Working from the class definition, collaboratively create a class checklist for the features that students' own advice texts should include.

  3. If you plan to also use the Advice Text Rubric, pass out copies of the rubric and align the characteristics that students have identified in their class checklist with the requirements listed on the rubric.

  4. In small groups, ask students to share one another's texts and offer feedback, using the checklist (and if desired, the rubric).

  5. Allow students to make changes to their texts before submitting them for grading or additional feedback, if necessary letting students complete their revisions as homework.

back to top

 

EXTENSIONS

  • Use the advice texts as a bridge to persuasive writing. Ask students to choose three pieces of advice that they are offering to incoming sixth-graders in their texts, and use those ideas to structure a persuasive essay. Use the Persuasion Map to identify the main pieces of advice in their texts and the support for those points. See the ReadWriteThink lesson Persuasive Essay: Environmental Issues for additional resources on teaching persuasion.

  • Connect this lesson plan to a reading of Walter Dean Myer's The Beast (Scholastic, 2003) by asking students to consider how the advice that Spoon, the main character, receives is useful and how his perceptions of that advice change when he returns home from prep school for a holiday break.

  • Try this activity inspired by the English Journal article by Tabers-Kwak and Kaufman: Focusing on the advice texts from this lesson, ask students to turn the perspective on its head and write advice from the point of view of a younger person, advising an adult. Students might follow the format of one of the texts that they've examined in this lesson plan, write a persuasive essay using the Persuasion Map, or write letters to an adult in their lives, using the Letter Generator.

  • Have students explore the debate over who really wrote Shakespeare's plays. The PBS Frontline resource The Shakespeare Mystery is a great starting point.

back to top

 

STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

Assessment of students’ work in this lesson plan should be closely tied to the definition of “good advice” generated in class. The list of characteristics that students identify in the checklist that is created in Session Four should provide the criteria used to provide feedback on the poems. If you prefer more structured feedback, the Advice Text Rubric can be used to shape the feedback that you give. Be sure to distribute the rubric to students during the class sessions so that they are aware of the criteria.

In addition to the specific feedback on the advice texts that students write, you can pay attention to the following indications of student involvement in the project:

  • Student participation in all activities and completion of homework assignments

  • Quality of student responses to in-class and homework activities

  • Confidence and ease students demonstrate in future Shakespearean readings, if any occur in your classroom.

back to top

Related Resources

LESSON PLANS

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Becoming History Detectives Using Shakespeare's Secret

Is the case closed on the authorship of Shakespeare's plays? Student history detectives explore the evidence for and against one of the possible alternatives, Edward deVere, using the novel Shakespeare's Secret plus a variety of online sources.

 

back to top

 

CALENDAR ACTIVITIES

Grades   1 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  April 23

In 1564, William Shakespeare was born on this day.

Based on grade level, students learn about rhyming structure, experiment with the Shakespearean Insult Kit, or study scenes from Othello and watch an adaptation of that scene from the movie O.

 

back to top

 

PROFESSIONAL LIBRARY

Grades   9 – 12  |  Professional Library  |  Book

Reading Shakespeare with Young Adults

Dakin explores different methods for getting students engaged--and excited--about Shakespeare's plays as they learn to construct meaning from the texts' sixteenth-century language and connect it to their twenty-first-century lives.

 

back to top

Comments

In this scene from Hamlet, young Laertes has just received permission from King Claudius to return to school in France (in scene 2).  Here his father, Polonius, gives him some fatherly (and quite famous) advice on how he should behave when he is away from home.

Polonius tells his son that his character is very important, and the he should make sure his actions and words mimic a strong character.  He reminds him that...

In this scene from Hamlet, young Laertes has just received permission from King Claudius to return to school in France (in scene 2).  Here his father, Polonius, gives him some fatherly (and quite famous) advice on how he should behave when he is away from home.

Polonius tells his son that his character is very important, and the he should make sure his actions and words mimic a strong character.  He reminds him that it is good and important to have friends, but make sure that these are good friends.  When you meet a new friend, beware that it may end in a fight ("Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel").  However, he warns, if you get in a fight, make sure you're the man people fear to fight.  He tells Laertes, "Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice" which reminds him that it is more important to listen to what people have to say, and take in their opinions, than to be the one talking.  It is important that he dresses well, so he should spend as much money on his clothes as he car- provided that the clothes are not tacky- because people will judge the value of a man based on what he is wearing.  Do not borrow or lend money because it will ruin friendships and make you week.

Polonius concludes with the most famous line of his speech by telling his son above all the rules he has outlined, it is important that Laertes be true to himself.

This above all: to thine own self be true

0 thoughts on “Polonius Advice To Laertes Essay Format

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *