After You Read the Play


18. Tweet-Length Summaries

[To the teacher: Divide this eighteen-scene play into the number of students in your class, assigning each scene to one or two students.]

As an omniscient observer of the action in King Charles III, you must “tweet” an assigned scene from the play, working to whittle the action of the scene down to its bare essentials.

  • First, review your scene, and write a short summary that includes the main idea, supporting details and two to three significant quotes.
  • Exchange summaries with a classmate. Read his/her summary, and circle the lines/words/phrases that are really getting at the essence of the scene. Cross out the parts that do not seem absolutely essential to the story. Return the summaries to one another.
  • With your own summary back, create a tweet-length summary of140 characters or fewer. In your tweet, you must include one three-or-more consecutive word quote (and yes, quotation marks count as characters!). And, for this assignment, textspeak is completely acceptable!
  • In order of the play, read your tweets aloud with your classmates, hearing a concise summary of the entire play’s events.

Here are a couple of tweeted examples from a few of Shakespeare’s plays:

The Tempest’s opening scene: Sailors during a storm tried to keep it afloat, but passengers in the way, sailor yelled, “You do assist the storm”!

Romeo and Juliet’s Act 3, scene 1: Tybalt has beef w/ Romeo. Mercutio fights Tybalt. Mercutio: “A plague on both your houses”; dies. Romeo kills Tybalt; Prince exiles Romeo.



19. Pearls on a String

[To the teacher: consider playing this exercise with a very well-known story—like The Three Little Pigs—so that the students can get familiar with the structure and then can apply it to King Charles III once they’ve mastered the game. You may also want to watch this video of the exercise on your own or with your students:]

This improvisation exercise offers a dynamic, kinesthetic way to review the events of the play. Eight to twelve students form a line (with space in front to be able to step forward), while the rest of the class observes. One at a time, in no particular order, step forward to share one major event from the play. (The first student who volunteers to step forward must give the first line of the story, and the second student to step forward must give the last line of the story. Everyone else must describe the events in the middle, taking the appropriate place in the line so that the story is told in the correct order. Each time a student takes her place in the line, the story is retold from the very beginning. Once all eight to twelve students have contributed a line, the remaining class gives feedback. Is everything in the right order? Are there any major plot-points missing? If so, additional students can jump in to fill in the missing points.


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