On With the Show
Carol Lang began this unit in her classroom by reading aloud Stories From Shakespeare by Leon Garfield and by showing two films, "Twelfth Night" (a comedy) and "Romeo and Juliet" (a tragedy). The students became very motivated to learn much more about Shakespeare, especially since the movies, "Elizabeth I" and "Shakespeare In Love" were receiving a great deal of media attention. They created a chart for characters (in the plays they shared) and really enjoyed the various plots and the humour in "Twelfth Night."
Different teachers at this school grouped their students: by preferences/interests (individually or in pairs/groups); by learning strengths and needs (in pairs/groups).
The teacher-librarian reviewed the stages in the Information Process with the grade five students and linked these with their quest, to learn more about "the other Stratford" and its famous playwright, William Shakespeare, and the performing arts in general. Then the students focused on gathering/accessing information which had already been pre-selected for them in a series of learning centre activities. When the students interacted with each learning resource the teacher-librarian facilitated the process through review, "mini-lessons" and discussion (with the small groups of students) as required, about the particular content, skills and strategies required. Emphasis was also placed on how the students would then proceed to the next stages in processing information (organizing information and creating their products). Although the products were actually shared in the classrooms rather than the school library, the teacher-librarian was involved in assessing students' achievement throughout the Information Process.
Schedule for Activities and Time Frame - Two weeks
The full thematic unit lasted about six weeks. The Information Process component, integrated with the school library program, lasted for about two weeks. Students spent time (each day) in the school library, working with both their teacher and teacher-librarian.Step 2
Although the students eventually worked through all the various stages in The Information Process, they began this unit with a set of ten learning centre activities where a number of information skills were emphasized along with the gathering of pertinent content. This information was then used to create a product. This ensured that the students were actually activating all phases/stages in the Information Process (not just those required in the second and third stages...for gathering and interacting with information). Having to organize their information and create a product with it enabled the students to achieve important information literacy outcomes associated with the organizing, creating, sharing and evaluation stages of the Information Process.Step 3
Products (or representations of students' knowledge) included much more than written reports! Each of the following representations were required to complete the various activities and students were expected to list the sources of information that they consulted and used: Making a chart (for comparing the two Stratfords); writing a sonnet or a rap verse; writing a short article about fairies; writing a short biography about a performer (actor, singer, painter, musician etc.) or about William Shakespeare; making a model or drawing of the Globe Theatre; making a poster comparing styles of clothing (Elizabethan and contemporary); drawing musical instruments; drawing housing styles in the age of Shakespeare (e.g.Tudor style); locating Stratfords around the world through using an atlas and noting their locations on a map; keeping a collection of notes while planning for the final presentations.
Note: A mural was constructed by the students with each class assuming responsibility for the various parts (e.g. Globe Theatre, countryside, thatched cottages etc.). This was a culminating activity where students contributed Elizabethan style buildings or figures dressed in appropriate costumes to create an authentic scene.
Evaluation: Assessment of Students, Evaluation of Activity and Author Study
The teacher-librarian assessed the students' answers (process and products) according to accuracy and completeness as a careful reading of the material usually provided the necessary information. More "open" questions such as the poetry, biography and costume activities, were assessed (by the classroom teacher as well) for effort and creativity.