Compare & Contrast Poetry, Hamlet & Rudyard Kipling’s “If” – PDF & Google Drive, CCSS

Help students analyze how a similar theme is developed in three different mediums by using Rudyard Kipling’s timeless poem “If,” Polonius’ advice to his son in a brief monologue from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and a newspaper columnist’s Guide to Life that went viral in the late 1990s. (Remember that whole “Wear Sunscreen” thing?)

This fun, attention-grabbing lesson was built to entertain and challenge high school students in grades 9 through 12, though advanced middle school students will also enjoy the materials.

The 6-page download includes:

• Detailed, step-by-step lesson procedure suggestions

• One-page attractively designed presentation of Rudyard Kipling’s “If” poem and Polonius’ “To thine own self be true” monologue to his son Laertes from Act 1, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (includes wide margins to make annotation easier)

• Critical-thinking question handout that requires students to dig back into both texts and their own minds to find the answers

• Detailed answer key, designed to make grading easy and help you guide class discussion

• Optional creative writing activity where students flip the script and build their own Guide to Life, giving advice to middle-aged adults about how to live a full and satisfying life

• Links to modern text and video content

Due to the reflective nature of these pieces, this lesson works especially well as an end-of-term activity.

Download includes: 6-page PDF + Google Drive version of handouts (uneditable)

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