Children's Shakespeare Festival
Holly Rodgers is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at White Oaks Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
What's On for Today and Why
In today's lesson, students will be immersed in the language and imagery of the fairy world explored in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Students will tackle the unfamiliar language of the central fairy characters (Puck, Oberon, and Titania) using the familiar childhood game of Truth or Dare. In small groups, students will have the opportunity to question Puck, Oberon, and Titania, using the Tell the Truth attachment. All questions simply require a yes or no response, which reduces the linguistic demand upon students and makes this a suitable activity for English Language Learners (ELLs) of any proficiency level or age group. If Puck, Oberon, or Titania, respond incorrectly to a question or choose not to respond at all, they must select a dare from the Dare to be a Fairy attachment. All questions and dares contain selected lines of text from each central fairy character in the play, enabling students to explore the figurative language in a performance-based game. Students may use props to complete the dares or may pantomime action to simulate each task.
This lesson may be used as a pre-reading activity to familiarize students with the text and/or nature of the central fairy characters. Teachers may also wish to use this lesson to reinforce comprehension as a post-reading activity or to further explore the enchanting imagery of Shakespeare's fairy kingdom.
This lesson can be completed in one-45 minute class period.
What You Need
Folger edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
A small empty container
A prop box for each group (optional)
Dare to be a Fairy
Tell the Truth
What To Do
- Divide students into small groups, with a minimum of four students per group. Teachers may also choose to use this lesson as a whole-class activity, if his/her class size allows. Each group must select three group members to role-play as Puck, Oberon, and Titania. Other group members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the three fairies.
- Once each group has assigned roles, distribute the Tell the Truth attachment to each group. Puck, Oberon, and Titania, should NOT see the attachment. Only students who will be asking the questions should view the questions ahead of time.
- Distribute a Dare to be a Fairy attachment to each group with a small container such as an empty box, cup, hat, etc. Again, Puck, Oberon and Titania, should NOT view the dare tasks ahead of time. Students, who will ask the questions, should cut the dares into strips, fold them up, and place them in the empty container.
- Once all groups are ready, the questioning may begin. Students may take turns alternately questioning Puck, Oberon, and Titania. The correct responses to each question are listed on the attachment. If Puck, Oberon, or Titania, respond incorrectly or prefer not to respond at all, they will be forced to choose a dare from their group’s container. Whatever task is written on the strip of paper, they are obligated to perform. Teachers may give the students props to enhance the creative possibilities for each dare or students may pantomime the action for each task. Each group should be given enough time to go through each question and/or select all dares from the container.
How Did It Go?
Were students able to creatively explore the language of the fairy world?
Were students able to visualize the imagery embedded in the fairy text?
Do students have a more in-depth understanding of the characters of Puck, Oberon, Titania, and their central roles in the play?
If used as a pre-reading activity, is the text more accessible to your students after completing this activity? If used as a post-reading activity, were your students able to correctly respond to each character’s questions, further enhancing their understanding of the play?
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.
Common Core State Standards
There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
Elementary Shakespeare Teaching Modules and Techniques for Younger Students
Shakespeare for ELL and ESL Students