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Lights, Camera, Action

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Twelfth Night

May 2003
Leigh Lemons teaches English at Marblehead High School, Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Twelfth Night, or any of Shakespeare's plays.
What's On for Today and Why

In this lesson students will interpret Twelfth Night or another play by creating a silent movie, requiring them to think creatively and enhance their storytelling skills in verbal, nonverbal and written form.


This lesson will take approximately three class periods.

What You Need

Folger edition of Twelfth Night
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts


Video camera or still camera and scanner


Computer lab access


Technician or support teacher if necessary

What To Do

1. Divide the class into five groups and assign each group one act of the play.


2. Tell students it is their task to create a silent movie of different tableaux to represent the most important developments in their act of the play. The movie must have 5-10 "slides," frozen images that represent individual moments in the text. Each group member must participate.


3. Emphasize the importance of heightened nonverbal communication. Discuss facial expressions, gestures, stance, interaction and pose.


4. Have students begin by brainstorming ideas for the most important moments in the text, then choose a selective group of those moments for their movie.


5. Next, students should explore ways to represent each moment. Encourage them to experiment with different ideas before settling on one.


6. Allow students time to rehearse their tableaux.


7. Showtime: if your school has a video camera, record the performances. If you have access to a scanner, you could photograph the slides and scan them as well.


8. Using PowerPoint or other presentation software, have students add narration to the slides they have created. Finally, have students complete their movies with slides that introduce their work and its cast.


9. Present the completed movie to the class and print a hard copy for public display. Conclude by discussing the differences in the choices made by the different groups, and the lessons students learned in the creation process.

How Did It Go?
Did your students come to understand the most critical components of each act? Did they read the text closely and discuss it thoroughly? Did they learn any new technology? Did they learn kinesthetically? Did they work collaboratively? Did they respond positively?

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
Additional Information

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users: If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix: Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.

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