For my multimedia class, I had to create a video with captions, images, and music, so I set up a tentative project for my students to choose a soliloquy/monologue from Macbeth and do a similar video, probably in Animoto.

But once  I’d made my video on the dagger scene (see above), I realized I suddenly had a quick prop for our final dagger scene wrap up day.

Using the sample video, students wrote down on post it notes the words with strongest connotations.  Here’s a sampling of what they came up with:

murder, fatal, dead, ravishing, dagger, bloody, knell, wicked

We talked about what kind of mood Shakespeare is establishing with those words–and how this can be related to other forms of reading and writing.

When students are asked about mood, whether on a test, in a college lit class, or simply while pleasure reading, one of the greatest hints to mood is the author’s use of word choice.

We also discussed how the same goes with writing.  As writers, we need to choose words with strong connotations to help express our style and tone.

It was a quick 8-10 minute lesson, but an effective one–full engagement from every student on a concept they could see visually both in language and images, hear in the music, see the patterns in our list on the board, and–hopefully–apply in their reading and writing lives.