This is the last of the William Shakespeare's Star Wars books in iambic pentameter that correspond to the movies. Over the years, I've recommended English teachers read these with their classes as readers theater and watch the movies, scene by corresponding scene. To that end, I encourage you to use the free, downloadable Reading Roles Sheets to keep track of student readers day by day.
As far as Doescher's book-length plays go, this has plenty of speaking roles for your classes and is perfect for a class of about 30 or so students in 6-9th grades. You may need to do some background building / reading / watching of the movies to establish the Star Wars plot backstory and trajectory. I was surprised by how many of my students had not watched any of the Star Wars movies.
When done as a readers theater, I suggest starting with one scene per day. Your students may struggle to get through that until they get the hang of reading the work. Depending on how proficient your readers are and how quickly they pick up the iambic pentameter, it may go quickly and you can pick up the pace.
Keep track of who is reading by noting, each day, on the Reading Roles Sheets who has read which character. Try not to allow students to always read the same character. Some characters get a lot of speaking time, such as Rey and Kylo Ren, so spread those roles around. Also, some characters speak in prose, not verse. Or in verse, such as villains in villanelles and Yoda in haiku.
When students switch roles, they learn to identify the different forms of poetry and each speaker's unique traits. Poe Dameron, for example, makes Edgar Allen Poe references, and BB-8 uses skip code. See how many character traits your students can identify from the dialogue. You want everyone reading because they will need practice and you want to keep them engaged.
In addition, Doescher uses a Chorus with this play, although it's very limited. I encourage you to use the Chorus as a full-class choral read. It occurs three times in this play, in the Prologue and Acts 4 and 5.
And despite the sonnet at the very end of the book that encourages you to head over to the publisher, Quirk, for an Educator's Guide, this book doesn't have one. Neither did book 8, Jedi, the Last. Doescher does explain, in an author's note, how he drew inspiration for the ending of the play from Romeo and Juliet. The parallels are many, but there are significant plot differences as well -- Rey lives, most significantly.
Introducing Iambic Pentameter Basic Lesson Plan
1. Buy class copies of the book, Verily, a New Hope, or any of Doescher's William Shakespeare Star Wars books, 1-9. 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 a Disney+ subscription, iTunes or however you buy movies for your classroom.
2. Start by printing the Two Line Start Cards and laminating them, one set for each pair. Cut them up and put them in baskets on pairs of desks.
3. Allow students to pair up or assign partners.
5. 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 other songs at the end. Then crank up the volume! The kids love them.
6. Students will practice reading the Two Line Start Cards to each other.
7. Students use a dry erase marker to write in the breaks between syllables and show the accent in the pairs.
8. 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.
9. 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 the Reading Role Sheets.
You're ready to have some serious literary fun.
I offer Reading Roles Sheets and a brief discussion in a post about each book. Posts for books 1-7 include an Educator's Guide from Quirk Books, the publisher, in case you're inclined to teach the references to the Bard's work in Doescher's amazing plays. But The Merry Rise of Skywalker and Jedi, the Last do not have Educator's Guides accompanying them.
There is, however, an excellent note by Doescher at the end of The Merry Rise of Skywalker, pointing out the parallels to Romeo and Juliet, which you may elect to pass on to your students.
But don't feel like you have to -- you can leave that to their high school teachers. In middle school, it's enough if you introduce the 5-act story structure, the hero's journey and iambic pentameter.