Chris Adcock
English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Characters
  • Dogberryisms
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Shakespeare
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Directorial Choices Comparison

    Directorial Choices Comparison


    In this lesson, students will continue reading Much Ado About Nothing aloud and then compare and contrast the directorial choices made in two staged versions of act 2, scene 3.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Watch the videos. Choose and prepare the clips that you will use from each version. Decide whether you will pause for note taking, show it twice, or make other modifications.
    • Assign small groups for the reading of act 2, scene 3. There are six parts to read: Benedick, Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio, Balthasar, and Beatrice. Groups can include six students if the numbers allow, or group members can double up on parts.

    The Plot Thickens

    • Establish a time limit for the Quick Write and Partner Share.


    To begin, take a moment to do a Quick Write answering these questions about act 2, scene 2.

    • What plot are Don John and Borachio hatching to break up the impending wedding?
    • Considering what you learned about the characteristics Elizabethans considered most important for women in The Good and the Badde , why would this plot stop the wedding between Hero and Claudio?

    Open Notebook

    When you’re finished, share your responses with a partner.

    Class Check-In

    • This should be a brief sharing just to make sure students understand what happened in act 2, scene 2.
    • Ask students to consider if this plot would work in today’s society. What is changed in our society that might prevent this plot? What is the same in our society so that this plot might still work?
    • Keep in mind that “society” may mean different things to different students, and thus their responses to this Quick Write may vary.
      • ELL: In preparing for this lesson, decide how deeply you want to get into the comparison between Elizabethan England and today’s world regarding women’s rights, particularly unmarried women’s relationships with men. Remember that some cultures find this topic very inflammatory, and some parents may have concerns about it being discussed openly in the classroom. Be prepared for some differences in opinion and remind students to be respectful of everyone’s point of view.

    Work Time

    Before you continue reading, discuss the play so far as a class. Be sure to bring up any questions or points of confusion that you still have and see whether you can help clarify things for your classmates.

    Here are some questions to get you started.

    • Would any part of this plot work in a play set in today’s society?
    • What parts might be successful? Why?
    • Which parts wouldn’t make much sense today? Why not?

    Act 2, Scene 3 Small Group Read

    • Help groups cast the play for today from those students willing to participate.
    • Before you begin the small group reading, review the scene summary for act 2, scene 3.
    • Remind students that their completed Dialectical Journal entry for act 2 will be due during the next lesson.

    Work Time

    Your teacher will arrange the class in small groups. Assign a part to each member, and read act 2, scene 3 aloud.

    • There are six parts in this act. If you have enough members, each person can read one role.
    • You may also choose to take turns, changing readers on each page. Maybe your group has one or two able readers who can read for your group.
    • Pause your reading after each page to discuss what happened and make sure everyone understands.
    • Keep your voices soft so as not to bother the other groups.

    Two Staged Versions of Act 2, Scene 3

    • Facilitate a brief discussion of act 2, scene 3 to check for understanding and answer any questions.
      • SWD: Some students who have auditory processing difficulties can benefit from having the closed caption subtitles turned on. Consider stopping at various points throughout the scene or pausing at the end to allow for both focused viewing and note taking.

    Work Time

    Before you watch the first film version of act 2, scene 3, take a moment to check in with your class. What happened in this scene? Does your group have any unanswered questions?

    Pay close attention to the film clips, and take notes on what you notice.

    • What choices does each director make in directing this scene?
    • Does anything surprise you?

    Open Notebook

    Directorial Choices Comparison

    • Give students time to compare and contrast these two clips; provide prompting as necessary.
    • Have students reflect on their choices. Ask them to consider the various elements of comedy that they discussed earlier in this unit.

    Work Time

    Compare and contrast the ways these two directors presented this scene.

    • Which version do you prefer, and why?
    • Be sure to give reasons for your choice. Think about things such as casting, lighting, and costumes.
    • Why do some choices seem better than others?

    Open Notebook

    Comedy Hunt

    • Project or display the questions for easier viewing.
    • Monitor student discussions to check for understanding.


    When you’re done, share your thoughts with a partner. Make notes on your discussion.

    • Did either of you find that one version is more entertaining than the other? Why do you think that is?
    • Consider what the class discussed in talking about humor at the beginning of this unit. Can you identify some of the required elements of comedy that are present in this play so far?

    Open Notebook

    Act 2, Scene 3 Dialectical Journal

    • Remind students that their next set of Dialectical Journal entries will be due during the next lesson.
      • SWD: You can choose to check in more frequently with students who have difficulties either completing or keeping up with the pace of Dialectical Journal assignments. Be sure students are aware of any alternate deadlines.


    • Complete your Much Ado About Nothing Dialectical Journal entries for act 2, scene 3 for submission during the next lesson. If you’ve fallen behind, be sure to catch up before the next lesson.