Tag Archives: Pedegogy

RQ: Tempest Act 3 & 4

after Unknown artist,print,circa 1649


Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Tempest, Act 3 & 4. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

The Tempest, Act 3

What does Ferdinand mean when he says, “The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead” (3.1.6)?

How’s Ferdinand’s history with women?

Ferdinand refers to himself as a “patient log man” (3.1.68) conscripted to “wooden slavery” (3.1.62). How do his descriptions of himself and his service compare to the epithet Stephano gives Caliban, “servant monster” (3.2.3)?

Has Miranda ever seen any other women?

Are Ferdinand and Miranda married by the end of 3.1?

Why does Caliban kneel before Trinculo & Stephano in 3.2? Why does Ariel contradict the story Caliban tells the other men?

There are a lot of vows taken in Act 3. Compare the vows Miranda and Ferdinand make to one another to the vows Caliban and Stephano exchange.

How do the conspirators plan to Kill Prospero? Compare the rebellion against Prospero to the plot to kill Alonso. Might also compare the two attempted murders to the attempted rape mentioned in 1.2.?

Why does Caliban instruct Stephano to “Burn but his books” (3.2.90) before he kills Prospero?

Why do you think that Caliban pledges his service to Stephano instead of leading the insurgency?

Is Caliban’s description of the isle based on experience or desire? Compare his description to Gonzalo & Trinculo’s.

What’s a “Living Drollery!” (3.3.21)? What does sight of it confirm for the nobles?

What’s a “quaint device” (SD 3.3.52)?

How does the sea function like a character in 3.3?

The Tempest, Act 4

What’s the relationship between the disappearing banquet in 3.3 and the nuptial masque in 4.1?

Banqueting House, Whitehall

In his aside at the end of act 3, Prospero says, “My high charms work” (3.3.88). What does he mean? Should we credit Prospero with saving Alonso or stirring up trouble between Trinculo and Stephano? Then compare Prospero’s previous claims to “art” with the play-in-the-play that he calls, “Some vanity of mine art” (4.1.41) he puts on for Miranda and Ferdinand.

What sorts of stipulations does Prospero attach to the the “gift” he gives to Ferdinand? What sorts of things will befall the couple if they do not follow Prospero’s instructions?

Compare Iris’ opening intonation to Ceres in the masque to Gonzalo’s utopian vision of the island? What rhetorical features do they share?

Does the weird pagan celebration at the heart of this play seem pagan and/or potentially sacrilegious? Is this the blessing that Prospero warned the couple to wait for?

Why can’t Venus come to the wedding celebration?

What sorts of blessings do the goddesses wish on the couple?

What does Ferdinand mean when he says: “Let me live here ever;/So rare a wondered father and a wise/Makes this place a paradise” (4.1.123-5)?


How & why does the masque end?

How does Prospero comfort Miranda and Ferdinand? Is he successful?

How does Prospero snare the conspirators?





Banqueting House, Inigo Jones, 1619


Envisioning the Pechkucha

2 September 2015 ATL Digital Pedagogy Meetup Envisioning the Pechakucha: Strategies for Invention and Revision in the Literature Classroom In my presentation I will discuss the way I use pechakucha presentations—20×20, minimal copy, automatic scroll, slide shows—in my course on Shakespeare and the environment. For their final project, students in my class produce a scholarly webtext, which they develop independently [...]

Discussion. 1 Sept.



Before we move begin class discussion of The Tempest, act 1 and the first half of Ingo Berensmeyer’s “Shakespeare and Media Ecology” (515-523), I want to review some basics of literary analysis and the rhetorical gestures required for successful discussion.

Why Discuss?

Discussion in the literature classroom is an oral and collaborative form of close reading. Close reading, a skill that makes possible all of literally study, is a sort-of tacking back and forth between global, general claims about a text and local, linguistic features. Discoveries made at the local level–revelations about meter, repetition, metaphor, synonym, vehicle, tenor, tone, or unusual features.–shape the claims you make at the global level. The claims at the global level eventually attract key textual patterns that you then shape into a reading. So in discussion we perform the skills required for successful close reading and argument, driven analysis. Discussion also helps us make connections between textual elements and commit new information to memory. For these reasons class discussion is the most widely used pedagogical tool.


Good discussions requires participants to engage one another’s ideas. Sustained, collaborative engagement requires the following skills: listening, paraphrase, synthesis, and creativity, i.e. saying again or revoicing. As we discuss the question that follows, I’ll ask you to speak to one another’s ideas about The Tempest.

Take 5-8 minutes to respond and be prepared to cite specific evidence in the text to support your answer.
Does Prospero cause the storm?

Discussion Templates (For more discussion templates seeGerald Graff and Kathy Berkenstein’s They Say; I Say)

Try using some of the templates listed below to engage one another’s ideas:

Paraphrase: “I hear Jimmy saying______ about topic_________”

Synthesize: “Kelly has supported her point, which is_________, with_________ example from the text.”

Contribute: “To build on what Charlie just said, I think_________”

Apply: “The conclusions that Ted draws can also be applied __________”



Getting to Know You



To give your colleagues and I a sense of your interests, please freewrite a response to the following prompt. Once you respond to the prompt, we will discuss the responses–first in pairs, then in groups of four, and then as a class. Make sure you introduce yourself to your colleagues before discussing your responses in pairs and groups.


What is your favorite Shakespeare play or poem? (Or, if you don’t have a favorite Shakespeare work, name your favorite poem, novel, movie, or TV show). Next, in 5-10 sentences, briefly describe how your favorite Shakespeare text helps you to think about contemporary events and/or engages your individual interests.


Reading Across Platforms

Reading Across Platforms is an outline of an assignment sequence designed for students in courses that require multimodal writing and reading. Since rhetorical situation determines the skills required for effective reading and writing, I contend students need to be taught how to read across platforms. Thorough knowledge of platform features enables responsive reading/writing. Along with teaching tool features, the activity [...]

The Weather on FaceBook

Draft of sustainable assignment for Piedmont Project Outcome Goals: Frame research questions and circumvent a digital data set Develop best practices for comparative analysis of visual and verbal digital texts Represent findings in multiple modes: argument driven analysis essay & visually as maps or infografics Purpose Work as citizen scientists assess warming or environmental change and its effects over time [...]