Last year I was inspired to put together a summer literacy packet after reading about a few other blogger/teachers who used them with great success. I had a few students complete the packet last year and I awarded them 7th grade survival packs when they mailed the completed packets back to me. Because my students move on to a new school after spending the year with me, I don’t expect to receive many completed packets. However, I do like to give my students the option.
This year I updated the packet a little. I added a new week of activities that focuses on Shakespeare, because my students will be expected to read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 7th grade and I decided to give them an opportunity to become familiar with some of his work.
Week Seven: Shakespeare
In 7th grade, you will be reading some of Shakespeare’s magnificent work. William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. His surviving pieces include approximately 154 poems and 38 plays. He wrote three types of plays- tragedies, comedies, and romances (also called tragicomedies).
Writer’s Activity Choices Week Seven (pick one & put your initials):
- Read the following short bit of poetry from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” 2.1. 249-256:
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamelled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
Imagine the scene as you read the piece. What do you see? You may need to look up some brief definitions of unfamiliar words – for instance, “woodbine” (honeysuckle) or “eglantine” (sweet- briar). In your writer’s notebook illustrate the scene you imagined, using the text as a reference. Be sure to color it in! (Initial here, _______, if you select this option.)
- Many of Shakepeare’s most famous quotes are still used today. Choose one of the following quotes and in your writer’s notebook, write a paragraph explaining what the quote means. In another paragraph, explain why this quote is still relevant to kids and teenagers today. (Initial here, _______, if you select this option.)
-”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
-All that glitters is not gold.” The Merchant of Venice (II, vii)
-”Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” Twelfth Night (II, v, 156-159)
Reader’s Activity Choices Week Seven: (pick one & initial it):
- Go to the library and check out a book based on one of Shakespeare’s plays. A list of possibilities is below. Shakespeare is tragic, gory, violent, and romantic. It just depends on which story you choose! Write me a letter-essay telling me your thoughts about the book. (Initial here, _______, if you select this option.)
1. Romeo’s Ex: Rosalind’s Story by Lisa Fiedler
2. Dating Hamlet: Ophelia’s Story by Lisa Fiedler
3. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
4. The Wednesday Wars by Gary S. Schmidt
5. King of Shadows by Susan Cooper
6. <The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
7. The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper
You may also read any age-appropriate non-fiction or a middle grade version of one of his plays. Talk to the librarian or bookseller for more ideas.
I really hope that the students who choose to complete the packet do the Shakespeare activities because I think it will open up a whole new world to them. The y seemed excited about the idea of it today, but the summer is long. :)