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Lesson Plan

Analyzing Advice as an Introduction to Shakespeare

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Analyzing Advice as an Introduction to Shakespeare

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jacqueline Podolski

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology






  • "The 'Sunscreen' Column," requires a free online subscription to the Chicago Tribune

  • Audio version of the song "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" (optional)

  • Additional examples of the advice genre, if desired

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  • Gather additional examples of the advice genre, such as newspaper advice columns. You can choose "newspaper" examples from Dear Abby and Hints from Heloise. You'll also find advice online at sites that are companions to do-it-yourself and self-help television shows such as What Not to Wear or Gardening Advice from the BBC Website. There are also sites that speak specifically to advice for teens such as TeensHealth and PBS's It's My Life. Because some material may be inappropriate for your students, be sure to check the sites ahead of time. It may be best to print appropriate examples out, rather than asking students to visit these sites themselves.

  • So that students do not need to create a login on the Chicago Tribune site, access the ‘Sunscreen' Column ahead of the class session, and print a copy to share with students. Make copies of the column for students to use as they write their own advice columns for homework.

  • Decide whether to have students to work with the excerpt from Hamlet as it is normally published or divided into the separate pieces of advice. The divided version may be easier for students to work with as the text is a bit less imposing and is already broken into sections, based on the meaning. Make copies of the version that you choose for your students. If you do choose the divided copy, however, also prepare an overhead of the original version so that students can see the text as it appears in the play.

  • (optional) Write a sample advice poem as a model to share with students, similar to the Model Advice Column (Advice to a New Teacher).

  • If you'll use the rubric to assess students' work, make copies of the Advice Text Rubric.

  • If desired, make an overhead of the discussion questions used in the first and third sessions.

  • Test the Advice Text Comparison Chart interactive (and if desired for the extension activity, the Persuasion Map and or the Letter Generator) on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • If you choose not to use the Interactive Chart, make copies of the Advice Text Comparison Chart handout.

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