If you're looking for new ways to introduce your 8th/9th grade students to iambic pentameter, this post is for you!
First, I highly recommend students use the book as the script. That means buying class copies, which I know is pricey, but they're available used now, so you can find some real bargains and you can teach previous or subsequent books in the Star Wars series year after year.
I also recommend you have a version of the corresponding movie ready for students to watch (iTunes, DVD, Disney +, whatever works for you and your classroom). You'll want to mark timecodes on the Reading Roles Sheets as well, and use a sticky note to mark where each class stops after each reading / viewing session.
Unlike other titles in this series, Doescher and the publisher, Quirk, do not offer an Educator's Guide, so if you, as an educator, know and can catch the many references to different Shakespeare plays which Doescher builds upon -- fantastic. I treated this as a fun introduction to the poetic form and play format, instead, but if you're teaching 9th grade, your students may be ready to make more connections to Shakespeare's plays.
If you haven't taught this unit with one of Doescher's books before, you should introduce iambic pentameter first. Use the supporting lesson materials, including the Two-Line Start Cards, Sonnet 18 and Akala's lyrics from his TedX talk (which is totally appropriate for your students, never fear).
Introducing Iambic Pentameter with Jedi the Last
In-Class Lesson Procedures:
* Buy class copies of the book, Jedi the Last. This sounds like a no-brainer, but each student needs to have a book in their hands to follow along. You also need to have the movie to watch, either through iTunes or however you buy movies for your classroom.
* Start by printing the Two Line Start Cards (provided below) and laminating them, one set for each pair of students.
* Cut them up and put them in baskets on pairs of desks.
* Allow students to pair up or assign partners.
* If your class has already done the Two Line Start Cards with my lesson using Ian Doescher's Verily a New Hope, they'll know what to do. If your class is digital, aka online via video, this is perfect for having students read outloud.
* Students watch Akala's TedX talk about the links between HipHop and the Bard. Have a copy of the Sonnet #18 ready for them to read and follow, as well as the lyrics to Akala's two songs at the end. Then crank up the volume! The kids love them.
* Then students practice reading the Two Line Start Cards to each other.
* Students use a dry erase marker (or on screen pen) to write in the breaks between syllables and show the accent in the pairs.
* TW circulate in the room (check student responses), checking to make sure students are placing the syllable breaks and accents in the correct places and that students "get" the iambic pentameter poetry form.
* When they're familiar with the form, students begin reading the book and watching the movie.
* Keep track of which students read which parts using my Reading Role Sheets.
You're ready to have some serious literary fun.
If you're interested in using any of Ian Doescher's other books in iambic pentameter as Readers Theater in your classroom, visit my Back-to-School Planning 4: Fun with Star Wars! post, which has links to most (not all -- I'm still working on Frankenstein and Avengers!) of his books and offers Reading Roles Sheets for each book, free.
Hands down, it's the most fun I had in the classroom with my students!