Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hard or not Hard?

From New Movies Gossip
A few semesters ago, I submitted the following reader-response/critical thinking activity for critique in Designed for Learning 2.0. Not knowing it was mine (and not knowing the exercise had been a hit in class), the group that critiqued it lambasted the exercise because it had "very complicated instructions." I tried to explain that the students really have little trouble following assignments such as this one, but I could tell I was not believed.
Experience it for yourself and let me know what you think.

[Some background: in Shakespeare, most online assignments are done as homework; students sometimes have a week to respond, sometimes two days; the assignments are not not supposed to be hard, but rather,they are meant to get students thinking about the text (sort of like pre-writing); the motivation to complete the assignments comes from somewhere else than the grade, as each assignment is only 10 miserable points out of 1,000 (!)]


A. Watch the five versions of Hamlet's first soliloquy (“O that this too too solid flesh”) I have posted below. The clips are

1. from Tony Richardson's Hamlet (Nicol Williams as Hamlet) (advance the movie to minute 6: 30 if you don't want to watch the whole first part of the play)
2. from Franco Zefirelli's Hamlet (Mel Gibson as Hamlet)
3. from Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (Branagh as Hamlet)
4. from Kevin Kline's Hamlet (Kline as Hamlet)
5. from Yukio Ninagawa's Hamlet (Fujiwara Tatsuya as Hamlet)

As you watch, write down what adjectives best convey the mood(s) each actor is trying to show:
-Other moods that you see that I haven't thought of

B. Now Reply to this prompt by writing a multi-paragraph response that

1. briefly describes each performance using the adjectives above. (Bloom: Knowledge Level; Analysis Level)

2. ranks the five versions of the soliloquy, explaining which version works for you best overall and why. Support your choice using specific examples of how the actor conveys the meaning of the speech by stressing words, changing the feeling in his voice, moving around the set, using face or hand expressions, etc. (Bloom: Evaluation Level)

C. Later in the week, respond to two of your classmates by noting differences or similarities in your reactions to the performances, and by letting them know whether their explanations changed your view of a particular  performance. (Bloom: Analysis Level; Evaluation Level)

1 comment:

  1. Lambasted? hmmm, never, maybe students follow complex instructions more easily than expected. Or that you explain your activities very clearly and effectively in class?