8th Grade ELA : Unit #8 - Twelfth Night, or What you Will : Lesson #2

Structure and Content: Two Versions of the First Two Scenes

Objective: SWBAT identify specific changes the director made to the play to create the film version...and be able to explain why these changes were necessary.
Standards: RL.8.1 RL.8.3 RL.8.4 RL.8.7 RL.8.10 W.8.1 W.8.2 SL.8.1 SL.8.2
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Viewing Act I, Scenes 1 and 2 - 15 minutes


To kind of flip the typical model of read/watch on its head, I showed the students the first two scenes of Twelfth Night before we read them. (We did, however, do a close reading of Orsino's speech during yesterday's class.)

The goal for this lesson is for students to consider the benefits and limitations of both text and film.

2 Read Aloud: Act I, Scene 2 - 10 minutes

After watching the scenes, we then read them aloud.  I assigned parts to volunteers.  (An unforeseen bonus was that they were able to do a better reading than they would if they hadn't watched the play ahead of time.)

You can find the full text of Twelfth Night here.


3 Discussing the events of the play - 10 minutes

We followed up with a brief discussion of the events of the play.  The students pointed out that the play and the movie are structured differently, and that Viola was present in Orsino's court when he gave his love speech (in the film), and that was definitely not the case in the play.  

We speculated about why the director, Trevor Nunn, would make that decision, and we came to the conclusion that it gave unity to the play.  Also, we talked about Feste, who is portrayed as an all-knowing, kind of god-like character in the movie.  In the play, the text leads you to understand that Feste is certainly no fool, but his revelations and hints come later in the play.  Nunn inserts that earlier.

4 Comparing on the White Board - 10 minutes

Prior to writing their exit ticket about the director's choices, we put together a list of differences-- separating them into two categories, content and structure --  on the whiteboards.

5 Exit Ticket: Why did the director make those changes? - 10 minutes

Before class was over, I asked the students to suggest why the director made those choices and changes for the play.  The purpose for doing so (even though we had listed and discussed them to a certain extent,) was for students to connect them to purpose before moving into the rest of the play.

Third (or fourth) time for this objective
Checks for Understanding

This is AT LEAST the third time that we have circled back to this objective (analyzing a filmed version of the literature and evaluate the director's choices.)  I have seen growth, but I still don't see students making connections or analyzing on their own.  For example, in the movie, there is a stronger military presence (that is absent in the original text,) in the post-shipwreck scene.

To my mind, such an obvious, visual representation that is not followed in the text would inspire some questions or arguments as to the purpose of the military.  But the students didn't really pick up on it.  That is just one example, but I wonder if they need me to be more explicit.  Since I am pretty much anti-worksheet, I don't always think about how providing a table or a grid can guide the students' thinking in a way that a verbal discussion or prompt may not.

I think if I were to do this lesson again (actually, each time I address this standard,) I need to provide more scaffolding.