First period is now done — done — with Much Ado About Nothing. Well, we’re done watching it. We’ll be writing reviews of the Kenneth Branagh adaptation, which we viewed concurrently with reading it in class.

Fourth and sixth periods have probably two more days.

  • First period: first draft of review.
  • Second period (reminder):
    • chapters 53-55;
    • sentence type review (2 pages).
  • Fourth and sixth periods: complete all materials for the fourth act.


We continued with Much Ado. First period finished watching the video and will complete their classroom version of the play tomorrow. Fourth and sixth periods finished up the first scene of act four.

  • First and second periods: none.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: complete the first two selections from “The Play in Our Own Words”
Much Ado, All Around


Because much of second period has left on the Beta Club trip and we’re nearing the conclusion of Great Expectations, I decided to take a break with the nine remaining students and not finish the book with less than half the class present. Instead, we’re joining all other periods to watch Much Ado About Nothing. As students have experience with Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet earlier in the year, they should be able to sit back and enjoy one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.

Much Ado About Nothing quarto
Much Ado About Nothing quarto

First period completed the fourth act today.

Fourth and sixth finished and reviewed the third act before watching the first half of the first scene of act five. We discussed the violent reaction Leonato has and the view of yesteryear that a daughter “belonged” to the father

  • First period: complete act four “Putting the Play in Our Own Words.”
  • Second period: none.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: complete act three “Putting the Play in Our Own Words.”
Act III and Social Class


Second period worked on comparing a few characters who are in different social classes but have similar temperaments and personalities.

First period completed act three and began act four. The deceived Claudio has made his intentions regarding Hero clear.

Dogberry and Verges by Robert Meadows
Dogberry and Verges by Robert Meadows

Fourth and sixth periods completed act 3. Dogberry made his grand entrance.

  • First and fourth periods: none.
  • Second period:
    • read chapters 53-55;
    • complete grammar exercises.
  • Sixth period: complete the first “Shakespeare in Modern English” passage for act three.


First, fourth, and sixth periods all worked on Act III of Much Ado About Nothing. We’re learning about the function of the third act in almost all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Warning! There are Great Expectations spoilers in this post.

Second period was cut short due to a math competition, so we were unable to complete the planned material.

There are a number of coincidences in any Dickens novel. We took the short amount of time we had and made a class list.

  1. Pip’s benefactor is Estella’s father.
  2. Havisham chose Pip; Havisham had adopted the daughter of the convict Pip had just met in the marshes.
  3. Jaggers is Magwich’s lawyer and has Molly as housekeeper.
  4. Jaggers is Havisham’s and Magwich’s lawyer.
  5. Magwich was involved with the two men who swindled Havisham, who would later adopt Estella, Magwiche’s daughter.
  6. Orlick, who hates Pip more than he hates just about anyone, works for Havisham.


Today, all classes watched curriculum-related films. Second period, as there were many students absent for the fifth-graders’ visit, watched student-selected scenes from Great Expectations. First, fourth, and sixth periods watched the first two acts of Branaugh’s production of Much Ado About Nothing.


Second period: read through chapter 52.

Second period now knows who jilted Miss Havisham and the “gentleman’s” connection to Pip’s benefactor. We worked on seeing the story from different characters’ points of view.

First, fourth, and sixth periods finished act 2 of Much Ado About Nothing.

  • Second period: read chapters 44-47.
  • Sixth period: complete the third and fourth entires in “Shakespeare in Modern English”
Act II and Magwich

Second period learned who Pip’s benefactor is. We began transitioning to the question of point of view.

First period went through most of act II of Much Ado. Fourth and sixth also worked on act II, but began the day with a little arts and crafts session, spending fifteen minutes working on masks for the masquerade scene.

  • First period:
    • complete act II “In Your Words” work;
    • answer questions for act II in the study guide.
  • Second period: read chapters 40-43 (inclusive).
Masks and Posters

First, fourth, and sixth periods are still working on Much Ado About Nothing. First period took some time today to create masks for the second act’s masquerade ball.

Fourth and sixth periods will spend a bit of class time Wednesday and Thursday to create the masks.

Second period completed the characterization posters. We’ll be putting them up tomorrow.

  • First period: first three selections from “Shakespeare in Modern English.”
  • Second period: read chapters 38 and 39 (and finally find out who Pip’s benefactor is).
  • Fourth period: selections two and three from “Shakespeare in Modern English.”
  • Sixth period: selection two from “Shakespeare in Modern English.”
Characterization and Acting

First, fourth, and sixth periods continued with Much Ado About Nothing.

Leonato, Hero, Beatrice, and the Messenger
Leonato, Hero, Beatrice, and the Messenger

First period is now finished with the first act.

Benedick Ponders the Situation
Benedick Ponders the Situation
Over the Benedick's Shoulder
Over the Benedick's Shoulder

Fourth and sixth periods will complete the first act on Monday or Tuesday.

Fourth Period
Fourth Period

Second period, its numbers decreased due to the Model UN trip, worked on characterization.

Creating Miss Havisham's Poster
Creating Miss Havisham's Poster

Students began creating posters for the five characters they feel are most important thus far in the book.

Working on Estella's Poster
Working on Estella's Poster

The class chose the following characters:

  • Pip
  • Miss Havisham
  • Estella
  • Joe
  • Herbert

I didn’t personally agree with the selection of Herbert; I felt Jaggers would be a much better selection.

The first step was to write the character’s name in an artistic manner that reflected the character’s true self.

Miss Havisham's Poster
Miss Havisham's Poster
Pip's Mixed Nature
Pip's Mixed Nature
Estella's Cold Nature
Estella's Cold Nature

None, for anyone. (Second period should now have three database entries per student. I’ll be checking Monday.)

First, fourth, and sixth periods began Much Ado About Nothing. They’re quickly seeing how difficult it can be to act on the fly. We’ll be spending class time — now that I’ve shown then and not simply told them — preparing each day before working as a class to act out the play.

Second period discussed the reading for the evening and Pip’s self-loathing as evidenced by his behavior when Joe comes to London to visit him. We’ll be working with characterization tomorrow.

  • Second period:
    • read chapters 30-33;
    • complete one additional character word-splash;
    • revise three existing multi-word descriptions by finding an appropriate adjective;
    • work on theme database (courses.ourenglishclas.net).
  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: none.

Second period was behind. Indeed, we still are behind. However, we collapsed a lot of things into one lesson today. We’re still very behind with the presentations, but we’ll be starting those tomorrow.

First, fourth, and sixth periods all begain Much Ado About Nothing today. We’ll be deciding parts tomorrow.

  • First, fourth, and sixth periods: none.
  • Second period:
    • read chapters 27-29;
    • three entries per student in the theme database by Monday

First period worked on iambic pentameter to increase their understanding of Shakespeare’s poetic writing.

Second period, quite bluntly, didn’t do the reading for today. This was confirmed, in class, by the quiz results. We did it in class, turning the quiz into study questions for another grade to offset the quiz grades.

Fourth period looked at verb tense consistency. There were lots of issues with verb tense consistency in their Charlie projects, so I decided to add a quick lesson to deal with that teachable moment.

Sixth period began the Shakespeare unit. We’ll likely be doing the verb tense consistency lesson later, for their projects have just been turned in.

  • First period: study questions on iambic pentameter.
  • Second period:
    • For Wednesday (tomorrow): chapters 23-26;
    • For Thursday 4/16: chapters 27-29;
    • For Friday 4/17: chapters 30-33.

    Fourth and sixth: none.

Four classes, four different lessons.

First period began a unit on Shakespeare. We’ll be reading a condensed form of Much Ado About Nothing. We watched a film about Billy’s life and his use of language. Students returned to the topic of poetry briefly in order to learn what specifically blank verse is (unrhymed iambic pentameter).

Second period went over their Lord of the Flies/Antigone projects. We’ll have our first presentation tomorrow. We also looked at Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development during the last ten minutes of class. This will serve as a focal point for analyzing Pip’s actions and decisions.

Fourth period finished the debates. I took on one student in a one-on-one, free-for-all debate. I think he probably won.

Sixth period spent one last day in the library working on their Flowers for Algernon project.

  • First period: look for examples of iambic pentameter in your daily life.
  • Second period: read chapters 21 and 22 of Great Expectations.
  • Fourth and sixth periods: none.