William Shakespeare's


Unit Plan

LLED 420, 411, 480

Spring 1999

The Pennsylvania State University

Amy Helene Johnston and Kevin Center


Disclaimer and apologies

The following web site has been created by two college students at the Pennsylvania State University. We are both Secondary Education majors with English as our area of concentration. We have created this website as part of a required class project. All dates and classroom information is fictional. We have borrowed numerous ideas from other website on the Internet (sited in lessons) and used the following books for activities and other information:

Norie Epstein's book The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Barb. (New York: Penguin Books, 1993).

Peggy O'Brien's book Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. New York: Pocket Books, 1993.

Both books are excellent sources for the Shakespeare Classroom!

We hope you enjoy our site, and maybe even find it useful. We would also like to apologize in advanced for offending anyone



The following unit has been developed for an eleventh grade honors English course in a high school that is a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school serves a community of predominately white middle class students and the classroom encompasses twelve females and ten males. Our unit plan will cover a wide magnitude of discussions, activities, and universal themes to ensure that the plan may be used in more diverse classrooms and school districts.

William Shakespeare's Macbeth is feasibly the most standard play in the secondary education English curriculum. We have refined the typical reading of Macbeth in English classrooms by exploring topics of point-of-view, gender, class, and cultural appeals within the text, as well as uncommon activities that will broaden students interpretation of the play.

Characteristics, Context, and Rationale

The purpose of this unit is for students to critically analyze and gain an understanding of multiple perspectives of gender, class, and cultural aspects of Macbeth. Shakespeare is noted as a popular literary icon and the play Macbeth is part of the traditional classroom canon. Therefore, our aim is to avoid traditional teaching methods buy incorporating multiple media texts, unique activities, performance, and to infiltrate an abundance of interpretations through the Macbeth on-line website.

Our students will actively participate in classroom discussions, group projects, performances, and individual work in order to demonstrate their acquired knowledge of universal themes, as well as allowing them to create an original point-of-view. There will be several renditions of the play presented in the classroom (visual/audio) so the students will be capable of comparing alternative interpretations and cultural adaptations. Rather than just reading Macbeth, this lesson incorporates a variety of films, audio recordings, and performances, in order to fulfill Shakespeare's original intent, which was for his plays to be see rather than just read.



*Participation: 15%

*Word Journals: 20%

*Rewrite Scene in Modern Language: 20%

*Performance: 30%

*Shakespeare Times: 10%

*Discussion Questions: 5%


Here are our lesson plans for our unit on Macbeth

DAY ONE: Introduction to William Shakespeare

DAY TWO: Introduction to Macbeth



DAY FIVE: Act III, Race, class, and gender issues in Macbeth

DAY SIX: Act III, scene iv (The banquet scene)

DAY SEVEN: "Shakespearean Times" research activity

DAY EIGHT: Shakespeare in popular culture

DAY NINE: Student performance

DAY TEN: Macbeth discussion online, unit wrap-up

A list of Macbeth productions on film

Here is another excellant source on William Shakespeare's Macbeth that even includes videos: Macbeth.com