Roles of Leadership
In this lesson, students will learn more about the characters and the plot of Much Ado About Nothing and consider the role of leadership. They will also analyze what they’ve read so far and make predictions about the fates of the play’s characters.
- Read the lesson and student content.
- Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
Section 1: Act 2, Scene 1 Review
- Have students share their reflections from the previous lesson’s reading. Encourage them to bring these questions up as you read through the scene today in class.
- This should be a brief sharing, just to make sure that students understand the gist of what happens in act 2, scene 1. As you read the scene aloud, be prepared to answer any questions that they present.
Before you continue reading the play aloud as a class, discuss with your partner any problem you had while reading the scene for the previous lesson’s homework.
- Write down any questions or comments you have in your annotations.
Next, share those questions and comments with the whole class. Do you have the same questions as other pairs? Can you help to answer anything for them?
Section 2: Act 2, Scene 1 Read Aloud
- Cast the play for today from those students who are willing to participate. Tell them that you will be recasting often and you hope that everyone will take a turn to read aloud.
- Remind them of their scene memorizations. Perhaps one of the passages from this scene resonates for them. They should keep this in mind throughout the readings.
- SWD: It can be helpful for students who may need more time to prepare their memorized passage if you note passages that would lend themselves to this task and share them with students as soon as possible, even if you haven’t reached them in the class reading. This way, students can have more time to read and memorize.
- This is a difficult scene, as it is mostly character development, and the puns and jokes that the characters make—especially Beatrice—are difficult for students to understand when they read the play and even when it is read aloud. Use the notes embedded in the text for clarification.
- Shakespeare uses many allusions in this scene that will be unfamiliar to students. Rather than explain each one, choose a few to explain in full.
- If you are using annotations yourself or providing them to your students, this scene is a great place to feature them.
Read act 2, scene 1 aloud, stopping along the way for questions and clarifications.
This scene of the play has a lot of wordplay and puns. Beatrice and Benedick, in particular, make jokes and references that you may not understand the first time around. Since you’re reading this play hundreds of years after it was written, you might not get everything the first time through.
Don’t worry if you don’t get everything all at once. The most important thing is that you understand what’s going on with the characters and their relationships.
Section 3: Act 2, Scene 1 Character Chart
- Check with students for understanding as they add to their Character Chart.
- Keep the focus on understanding the major plot points rather than every word.
- ELL: This can be a good opportunity to check for understanding with your ELLs. Remind them that no one in the class has understood every word and allusion; make sure that they are grasping the basic plot structure and character motivations.
Take a few moments to include more information about your characters in your Much Ado About Nothing Character Chart.
- What have you learned about the characters so far in act 2?
- Are they behaving in the way you expected, or are they surprising you?
Section 4: Examination of Leadership
- Monitor students’ discussions of the concept of leadership. Remind them that they should be prepared to explain their answers using lines from the play for support.
- SWD: One method of scaffolding this discussion is to create a two-column chart and post student ideas about what is good leadership versus bad leadership, or create a mind map about the idea of leadership itself. Make sure the chart is available for reference during the class discussion.
- Next, facilitate a class share about leadership.
With a partner, discuss the concept of leadership and how it is seen in the Much Ado About Nothing characters who are supposed to be princes, governors, and lords.
- Are they good leaders? Why or why not?
- Explain your answers, using lines from the play for support.
When you’ve finished, share your opinions, and your evidence from the play, with your class.
Section 5: Personality Predictions
- While some students may have already read ahead, or read a summary, encourage all who can to make predictions based on the evidence at hand.
- Students can make their predictions as annotations within the Much Ado About Nothing text, so that they can access them easily later on. Instruct students in the method you’d like them to use.
- SWD: Identify what you are asking for, in terms of predictions, so that students understand what level of specificity you are looking for. “The play will have a happy ending” is a prediction, but it is very broad. “Benedick will fall in love with someone” is the level of prediction that students should be developing.
- Remind them to cite specific places within the play by act, scene, and line number.
Spend five minutes predicting what will happen with each of the characters, basing your predictions on personality traits you have noted in your Much Ado About Nothing Character Chart.
- Write down your predictions so you can check back later and see if you were right.
- The best predictions, like the best arguments, use strong evidence. What parts of the play so far support your guesses?
- Remember to list act, scene, and line numbers whenever you refer to the text.
Section 6: Act 2, Scene 2
- Tell students to read act 2, scene 2 at home, continuing with their Dialectical Journal entries.
- Go to your chosen source for scene summaries and read aloud the synopsis of what happens in act 2, scene 2.
- Some students may find the subject of premarital sex or the loss of virginity, especially in the context that the villains of this play set out, difficult to discuss in a public forum. You know your students; come up with an acceptable euphemism for the discussion so that all students can be included.
- Be sure that you have reviewed and returned students’ first set of Dialectical Journal entries by now so they can improve subsequent submissions.
- Read act 2, scene 2. Make sure to keep up with your Much Ado About Nothing Dialectical Journal entries as you go.