Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sticky notes can be a great tool for checking for understanding. In this particular activity, my 11th Grade Humane Letters students were using the progymnasmata exercise of comparison to evaluate the main characters in the Shakespeare plays, Pericles and Antony and Cleopatra, which we had just seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. 

For this particular activity, I did the following:
  • I had students individually consider the characters of Perices and Antony, given a worksheet with the comparison headings of birth, education, and achievements. 
  • After ten minutes, students then broke into small groups to compare notes. 
  • On blue and orange sticky notes I asked them to write one or two-word characteristics or traits for both figures, for each area (birth, education, achievements). If the trait was praise-worthy, they put it on an orange sticky. If not praise-worthy, then they put it on a blue sticky. After 10 or 15 minutes they had a collection of notes for each character. 
  • I put a grid on the board with the three areas horizontal and Pericles and Antony vertically. 
  • They then put the stickies in the appropriate boxes on the board.
  • We then discussed what they thought about each character, considering the areas of comparison and the virtues or vices they had identified. The color-coding made it easy to see at a glance that the students considered that the two characters had similar traits of birth and education, but in achievements Pericles was nearly all orange (virtue) and Antony very blue (vice). 
  • After further discussion, their exit pass was to write a paragraph comparing the two figures, assessing which was worthy of emulation or a figure to not emulate. 

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