Learning About Literature Through Art

My AP class has been busy at work as we begin our unit on Hamlet. They started by engaging in an activity in which they “tweeted” using Padlet, responding to various events that happen to the title character at the beginning of the play. Here is a sample:

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As a reflective piece, students were asked to write a response in which they discussed a time they suffered a loss and how they dealt with their feelings.

The next day, in addition to an improvisational activity, we read Act I, scenes 4-5, where Hamlet first encounters the ghost of his father. After reading the scenes, students were asked to spend time creating a work of art that represented those scenes and to write an artist’s statement that analyzes and explains the artistic decisions they made.

Although this post does not include the Google Presentation promised at the end of the clip below, I did want to share the students at work and samples of the art they created. I am sorry for the students and art not pictured — I am saving some for the presentation for my class! Throughout the creative process, I was impressed by how engaged and focused the students were. Even those who shared misgivings about creating “art” provided insightful artist’s statements that reflected a deep understanding of symbolism and the significance of the scene, using textual evidence to support the creation of their renderings.

After creating their art and statements, students took a gallery walk, analyzing and critiquing each others’ creations. Following some notes about film psychology, we then viewed three interpretations of these two scenes, as directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Gregory Doran. Finally, students composed analyses of the scenes, evaluating which best preserved the integrity of the original text.

As a teacher, I enjoyed watching my students engage with a difficult text, make connections to their own lives, and build a deeper understanding of how various interpretations of a written text are justifiable. Thanks to all of my students who make such wonderful learning opportunities possible — I cannot say how much I enjoy learning with you all!

https://spark.adobe.com/video/vQvz8TBQvJk2s/embed


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