Timeline of Othello Unit
Associated Video

Day 1

Getting a feel for Shakespeare

Got students up and walking around. Exercised their imaginations by having them visualize their response to certain situations. Had them recite famour lines from Shakespeare. Split class into groups and had some students perform while the rest of the group directed the action (to help students visualize the text as a scene).

Homework: read Act 1, Scene 1 and articles, write a reflection in journal

Travis Notes and Quotes (pdf)

Handout - Who Wrote Shakespeare

Handout - Much Ado Article (pdf)

Handout - Keeping a Log


Day 2

Who is Shakespeare? and Act 1, Scene 1

Discussed 'Who is Shakespeare?' Read article about debate over who really wrote the Shakespeare plays. Students performed Act 1, Scene 1. In groups, students rewrote lines 44-70 from Iago in a vernacular familiar to them. Shared their rewrites with the class. Talked about the biblical allusion in line "I am not what I am," which reveals that Iago cannot be trusted.

Homework: read Act 1, Scene 2, write a reflection in journal

Handout - Who Wrote Shakespeare

Handout - Much Ado Article (pdf)

Day 3
Homework: read Act 1, Scene 3, write a reflection in journal    
Day 4
Literature Circles: Act 1, Scene 3

Grammar lesson on commas. Handed out culminating assessment assignment. Introduced students to small group literature circles. Worked on Act 1, Scene 3 in literature circles.

Homework: complete Questions for Close Reading

Handout - The Comma

Handout - Culminating Assessment (pdf)

Handout - Literature Circle Packet

Handout - Questions for Close Reading

Class - 12.5.05
(also on DVD)

Travis Interview - 12.5.05
(also on DVD)

Day 5

Journal Writing leads to Group Discussion

Wrote in journals about interracial dating. Set up a whole-class discussion format through which they shared their journal responses with the group, discussed interracial dating, then connected the issue to themes in Othello.

Homework: read Act 2, Scene 1, write a reflection in journal


Travis Interview - 12.7.05
(also on DVD)

Day 6

Soliloquies: Act 1, Scene 3

Talked about soliloquies. Looked at Iago's soliloquy. Went into literature circles to discuss Iago's soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 3.

Homework: read Act 2, Scene 2, write a reflection in journal and write about something that you find interesting from Act 2, Scene 1, lines 130-180

Day 7
Biblical Allusion: Act 2, Scene 1

Talked about why Iago hates the moor, yet still goes back there. Talked about Act 2, Scene 1. Discussed the biblical allusion to Noah's flood. Students performed Act 2, Scene 1. Went into literature circles to discuss Act 2, Scene 1.

Homework: read Act 2, Scene 3, write a reflection in journal

Handout - Genesis  

Day 8

Iago's Bestial Language and Shakespeare as a Political Writer

Journals - free write on upcoming vacation and impending transit strike. Looked at soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 1. Talked about Iago's bestial language throughout Acts 1 and 2. Reviewed for Friday exam. Showed South African performance group doing Othello during apartheid. Discussed Shakespeare as a political writer, addressing racial issues.

Homework: read Act 3, Scene 1, write a reflection in journal answering the question "What is the role of the clown in Act 3, Scene 1?"

Handout - Iago Bestiary Language

Handout - Othello Exam Study Sheet (pdf)


Day 9

Open Book Exam

Open book exam on Othello. Students:

  • wrote the Act, Scene and Line where the answers to the questions could be found
  • were given 5 lines and had to identify what literary device was being used and write a 3 sentence justification for why that device was used for that line
  • used commas effectively
  • were asked to reflect on what they did and did not understand in Othello

Homework: read Act 3, Scene 3, write a reflection in journal

Handout - Othello Exam (pdf)  
Day 10
Iambic Pentameter: The Significance of Meter

Discussed iambic pentameter in Shakespeare. Looked at placed where he moves from iam- to troache- and spondee-. Asked students to consider what Shakespeare is trying to communicate to us by shifting away from the natural way of speaking. Worked in partners to figure out if a line is writtin in iam, troache, or spondee; shared the answers with the class and discussed the significance.

Homework: determine metrical scheme of lines from Act 3, Scene 2

Vacation Homework: rewrite Act 3 in a vernacular familiar to them

Travis Student Work - Vacation Paper  

Day 11

Review of Iambic, and Students Translate and Perform the Temptation Scene from Act 3

Reviewed iambic pentameter. In partners, students were asked to determine the meter of a line; shared the answers with the class and discussed significance. Worked in partners to translate a given portion of a scene into their own vernacular. Each pair of students got up in front of the class to perform their translation.

Homework: read Act 4, Scenes 1-3, write a reflection in journal

Handout - The Temptation Scene in Relay


Day 12
Students shared their holiday assignments with a partner. Students were given the opportunity to share an excerpt of their skit with the class.    
Day 13
Discussed Act 4. Students began to make predictions as to what would happen in the next act. Asked students to keep a list of events that they believed would take place and, as they read, to check the accuracy of their predictions.    
Day 14
Deaths of Othello and Desdemona

Students watched Act 5, Scene 2 on video (Othello starring Laurence Fishborne). Groups discussed the ending of the play; why did Othello and Desdemona have to die?

Homework: begin working on essay

Handout - Essay Prompt (pdf)  
Day 15
Preparation for Culminating Assessment
Groups practiced their performances.    

Day 16

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
School Closed    
Day 17
Culminating Assessment: Group Performances
Groups prepared for their performances. Groups performed their culminating assignment; reading the line they were given, presenting their skit, then explaining the connection between their performance and the line. Travis asks the students to reflect on the purpose and value of their culminating activity. Travis reviews for the final test and essay.

Handout - Final Essay Assignment (pdf)

Handout - Culminating Assessment (pdf)

Handout - Culminating Assessment Rubric (pdf)

Travis Student Work - Final Paper

Travis Student Work - Homework Log

Class - 1.18.06 (also on DVD)