Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reactions to the Henry IV unit

  1. What person in the play do you know best?
  2. With whom do you identify?
  3. What did you learn about yourself in doing Henry IV, Part 1?
  4. What do you think of this play in comparison with other Shakespeare plays you have read?
  5. What did you think of the way we studied this play?
  6. What did you think of doing the reading journal on the blog? (Keep in mind that you still would have done a reading journal if we hadn’t used the blog – you just would have done it on paper.)
  7. What suggestions would you make for this unit?


Blogger MeganF said...

I feel like I know Hal the best out of all the characters in Henry IV, Part One. I understand his motives and his personality, that he is trying to live out his childhood but eventually come to terms with his royal family and the crown after his father passes away. I identify most with Hotspur because I am an overly-competitive person who sometimes bases honor off of personal battles won. I tend to jump to conclusions and always strive to win. This novel helped outline both my faults and weaknesses by relating to Hotspur. I actually enjoyed this play more than previous Shakespeare plays because I found it interesting that everything was historical; however, I never really got too into Shakespeare’s previous plays. The way we performed every scene was difficult for me because I do not enjoy acting and thought it was hard for me to excel. I would suggest using different methods of learning for each act. For example, maybe act for Act 1, and use small group discussion for Act 2. I enjoyed the blogging because I think using the computer is much easier than hand-writing logs.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Nathan H said...

In Henry IV, I feel like I know Falstaff the best because of his predictably dishonest behavior. However, I identified most with Hal because of his well-defined sense of honor at the end of the play. I've never thought of myself as a real rebel, but I admired Hal's selflessness in war. I learned that I am prone to accepting actions of they're done for honor's sake. Hotspur did everything for the sake of honor, but in the end Hal came out on top so I think it's good to keep in mind that there's always a bigger picture. I enjoyed this play more than I have most other Shakespeare plays. This one wasn't depressing and the main characters actually survived the ending. The way we studied Henry IV was really good; I liked how we read it so slowly and divided it up into parts which helped me focus on individual scenes more. The reading journal on the blog was a good idea, especially because it substituted a paper journal. Because I knew other people would read my ideas, it forced me to put more time and thought into it. For this unit, although I enjoyed the acting, I don't think it provided additional insight into the play. It seemed to just be a time filler. I would have liked an alternative to the acting part of the unit.

4:11 PM  
Blogger The Katie S. said...

Of the characters in the play, I would say most including myself would know Falstaff or Hal best. In my case, when choosing, I understand Hal better with his sensibility which Shakespeare conveys in every soliloquy, monologue, or action he plays in Henry IV, Part 1. He truly is understandable. Speaking of understandable though, I would have to say that I identify most with Hotspur. Despite everyone's constant criticism of his person with his impulsiveness and fierce recklessness, I really think he is an embodiment of passion a lot of teenagers and people feel. He has ambition and wants to do so much but just doesn't see the clear path to reaching his goal nor sees what he has right in front of him. I struggle with issues like that. Hopefully, I don't die from blindness though even if my vision is bad.
I am not really sure what exactly I learned from Henry the IV. In the play many archetypes/stereotypes were involved to have a point come across that might have actually existed in the persons which Shakespeare researched in order to create this play. I think I learned most that rebellion is a great conflict on a scale from one's mind to a full-scale battle and everywhere in-between. It's tough, ruthless, dirty, confusing and causes you to think outside the box or perish as a result.
This was a very interesting play to me. Not as beautiful in verse as some of the others, but funny and brilliantly scripted. I really want to read Part 2.
How we studied the play was okay. I really liked dividing into groups and becoming accustomed to working with the same people but in various ways as we exchanged rolls. However, I always found the discussion after the end of a scene to be rather choppy and distracting as I moved from the idea of watching a performance to think back on analysis. I wish we had kept that more divided even if the actual performance was fresh in my mind.
Blogs were really convenient and easy. I like paper, but sometimes typing makes it easier to express myself quickly. On the other hand, it's frustrating when people don't post when I have time and I have to wait for that obscure moment to react and actually have some quasi-intelligent thing to say.
A suggestion? Do it again and encourage people to have fun and go crazy. The more creative people were whether they were brilliant actors made things awesome. I loved when people used props and just tried to really be involved. I'm not sure how to encourage people exactly to do that, but that'd be sweet.
P.S. Sorry I took up so much space.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Kell-EH said...

1. What person in the play do you know best? I know Falstaff best, mainly because I was a pubcrawler and played him a lot.
2. With whom do you identify?
I identify with Hal. He is a teen figure struggling to find a ballance between his rebellious nature and his personal responsibilites and future. Though I am obviously not royalty, I am fighting similar urges between senioritis and trying to get into college. I know what I should be doing, but I have a hard time convincing myself to stop hanging out and be efficient.
3. What did you learn about yourself in doing Henry IV, Part 1? To be honest, I didn’t learn an increadible amount. If by this point, I had not learned as much as one play can teach me about myself, I wouldn’t be very observant. I learned more about my procrastination issues because I always left everything to the last minute.
4. What do you think of this play in comparison with other Shakespeare plays you have read? I liked this play a lot, but it was not as moving as Hamlet. I cannot pinpoint it, but this play didn’t seem as beautiful as some of his other works. However, I deffinately prefer the ending of this History as opposed to tradgedies. It’s nice to not be thown into a state of depression throughout act five.
5. What did you think of the way we studied this play? I love the way we did this unit. It was very exciting to act out the plays and I was happy to come to class. Each of the groups did a great job presenting, but it did make it easier to follow the presentations because we read the acts prior to the preformance. By the time we acted everything out, we had an idea of what was happening, so the preformances really clarified the scenes. It was phenomenal.
6. What did you think of doing the reading journal on the blog? (Keep in mind that you still would have done a reading journal if we hadn’t used the blog – you just would have done it on paper.) I like the blog because we can see what other people write and we can interact with eachother.
7. What suggestions would you make for this unit? I wouldn’t really change anything.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Emma V said...

1. I think that that I know best in the play is Prince Hal. I feel like I understand what his mind-set and motives throughout the entre play. For instance, I feel like I understand the resentment he felt for his father because of the way his father treated him as well as the embarrassment he felt because of his fathers reputation and the desire to move beyond it.
2. I also identify best with Hal because of the relationship he has with his parents and his attempts at self-discovery. As a teenager I can understand how Hal is pushing away from his parent and experimenting to figure out what his values are. I also understand the loyatly that he exhibits when his father needs his help. Even though he does not agree with everything about his father, he is still his son and respects the relationship between them as family as well as respecting his responsibilities.
3. From Henry IV part one, I learned that I enjoy reading out loud (and that im not very good at acting)
4. Henry IV, seemed a lot different than other Shakespear plays that I have read. The tone in this play was a lot lighter and there was more light hearted humor. In other plays like Hamlet and Macbeth, there always seemed to be a dark cloud hanging over the entire play because it is a tragedy. It was refreshing to have an ending where the “villains” were killed rather than the hero.
5. I thought that the way that we studied this play was very effective. Acting out our specific scenes gave me a lot better insight to exactly what was going on and how the characters were acting in the opinion of the people in my group.
6. This was my first class that I have ever blogged for and I enjoyed it very much. Being able to type instead of write is a lot easier in terms of time and letting ideas flow easier. Being able to read other students ideas one the story also gave me a lot of insight into different ideas of the play and inspired my own ideas as well.
7. One suggestion that I have for teaching this unit is allowing more time for discussion of scenes. I really enjoy discussing things in class because I love when ideas feed of each other immediately and when people have to argue their ideas and back up their answers.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Jimmy N. said...

I feel out of all the character's in Henry IV, I know Hal the best. I completely understand his motives for wanting to lower other's expectations of himself, so that he may shock them with outstanding behavior later on. I became very empathetic with his situation with his father. I really enjoyed reading about his troubles with his family, how he had fully taken on the role of the so called, "black sheep," of the family. I think I identify most of all with Falstaff. His carefree lifestyle, filled with rambunctious happenings is as of now the way I have modeled my life. I think I am very much in the same category of slacker as he, and am just as much irresponsible as Falstaff. I constantly shrug off duty, and am most always looking for the easy way out. Aside from being drunk all day everyday, I see myself most like Falstaff. Reading this play really made me realize that as difficult as Shakespeare is to read, I really enjoy it. The rich, textured language is really engaging. I found that as I read, I became more intune with the surroundings of the play. Because of reading Henry IV, I fing now that as I watch movies or TV, I am able to distinguish the clever language from the dull. I can now wholly appreciate it when a character uses a pun, or a clever comparison. Because of the fact that I have only read tradgedies, which are filled with death and destruction, I found that I really didnt enjoy this play as much as Hamlet, or for that matter, Macbeth. Though I still enjoyed the history aspect of the play, I really didnt enjoy it quite as much as the blood and gore from Macbeth. I enjoyed all the freedom we recieved in reading this play. I liked being able to read as we went along, acting every scene, being able to figure out things as we went. I really liked the journal on the blog, simply because it made for fierce competition between our class. I found that I would write my blog, and before I would publish it, read some one else's blong and realize I had to step it up. It really puched me in my writing and interpretation. I would allow for more discussion time, and a little less prep time for acting. I found that with less discussion time, I wasnt able to grasp every single theme, and motif, as I was when we discussed the Odyssey. Aside from that, I loved the unit, as well as the blogging.

8:14 PM  
Blogger haley said...

I think I know Hal the best. I think we talked about him more than anyone else in the play, which really helped me understand his entire personality and motives. I think I am a mix of Hotspur and Hal. I'm similar to Hotspur because I am very ambitious and I am competitive, but I'm definitely not as "loud" about it as he is. I'm like Hal because I really honor my friendships and my family, and I am a very committed person (like Hal is at the end). Studying this play helped me realize the faults and strengths I see in myself that I also saw in the characters. I really liked this play. I normally hate Shakespeare, but I actually understood this play. I also really like history, so that might have also been why I was really interested in it. The characters also seemed more relateable and similar to us than Shakespeare's other characters, like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. I wasn't crazy about the acting, but I liked the discussions we had in class. I also really liked blogging. It was nice to be able to read other people's comments and ideas about what was happening, and it really made me understand the play a lot better.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Jesse! said...

I completely understand the hedonistic lifestyle of Falstaff but Hal is the character that I identify with the best. I understand the common teenage rebellion and the need to live freely before taking on the harsh responsibilites that all parents place upon their child. He is neither too hot headed like Hotspur or simple minded like Falstaff.
Reading Henry IV was a completely new aspect to Shakespeare. Like many others, i have only read tragedies and this was a refreshing plotline. I found it extremely funny and the ending provided hope and a cliffhanger to Part II. The writing did not "break the frozen sea inside of me" but it had relatable characters and humor. Acting every scene was enjoyable for me although I lack in acting talent. I felt that there was a lot more interaction with each other and with the play. Blogging helped me a lot because it made me write more thoroughly while considering other perspectives from fellow classmates

2:09 PM  
Blogger  said...

Of all the characters in Henry IV I think I know Hal the best just because he was the major character in the play and Shakespeare focused on him mostly and his progress through the play. I identify with Hal the best because he was a teenager rebelling agaisnt the wishes of his father and trying to find himself in the world.
I didn't really learn anything directly about myself except that I'm not a very good Shakespearean actor..
I liked other Shakespeares I have read more than this play. I just like the drama and action Shakespeare includes in the tragedies, especially Hamlet, and this one just wasn't like them.
I think the way we studied this play is probably as effective as it could have been; having us act them out makes us be creative and understand it better. It would have been nice if we could have seen parts of it on a movie but I guess there isn't one.
I liked the blogging because it's a tecnological, new way to share ideas and is more organized than paper responses. And you can see other people's ideas, not only in our class.
The only suggestion I have is the movie idea, just because I've seen Shakespeare movies before and the actors put a lot of emotion into the acting so it puts a new light on Shakespearen language, which can look so overwelming when you're staring into a book.
Or maybe we could see it live? Field trip!

2:57 PM  
Blogger Sarah E. said...

1. I think that I knew Hal the best in the play, I found his character flaws very interesting and complex which made them compelling to examine further.
2. I also identified with Hal the most through out the play, mostly because I think adolescence can be illustrated by Hal’s progression the becoming a noble King. His arguments with his father are very similar to those I experience with my parents, trying to emphasize my abilities to live independently, as well as the influence of peer pressure, like Falstaff.
3. After reading Henry IV, Part 1 I learned that the struggle to prove yourself and obtain responsablity or independence has been evident through out history. Essentially, that battling with yourself and your parents when you are finding out who you are is normal.
4. I did not enjoy this play the same way that I enjoyed Hamlet or Macbeth. I found the story to be interesting but the characters less complex. Although the relationships between characters in Henry IV were thought provoking, their inidiual characteristics were harder to identify with than those in Hamlet or Macbeth.
5. I personally did not enjoy the way we acted out Henry IV because I felt that I was unable to become as familiar with the other scenes that my group did not act out. Although our discussions after each act were helpful, I thought that the ways I have acted out Shakespeare in the past without groups, helped me understand the plot and character analysis better.
6. I really liked having a blog because it is one less step that takes time. It was nice to be able to turn it in at any time of day for the due date because as you know many of us are frantically up all night finishing our work. Also, I liked to skim over my peers thoughts before I would start my blog to make sure I had an original idea that would contribute to the class’s understanding of the play.
7. I felt that at some points this unit was redundant. I think that if we acted the scenes out as an entire class rather than groups and then had one large discussion there would have been more class participation because we would have felt more connected to each piece rather than just commenting on our scenes.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Matt L said...

I know Falstaff best of all the characters because I identify with him the most. I'm not--nor will I ever be-- a prince, king or lord. I can however be the guy that enjoys life. I'm nowhere near perfect, I sin, it is refreshing to see I'm not the only corrupt person.
In comparison to other Shakespeare play's I thought this one was missing something, something like a plot maybe. I know it's incredibly robust (although not original) for a high school student to call Shakespeare boring, but Henry IV part one is by far Shakespeare's most mundane work. Whereas the tragedies have dips and turns for a plot, Henry IV can be described as a three part flat liner. There was a rebellious prince. Rebels wanted to usurp his father. The rebellious prince matures and comes to his father's aid. All Henry IV proves, is that not even Shakespeare can make history masquerade as something interesting. However, Henry IV is not just boring, it is irrelevent compared to his other works. While Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet leave readers to question human nature and absolute truths; One finishes Henry IV only to have a better understanding of English history.
I liked the different approach with which we studied Henry IV. While I was not especially inept at acting, I learned a lot from other's performances. It really helped to see the play rather than just read it. In addition, the blogs made me better understand Henry IV. In order to blog, without sounding ridiculous, I really had to slow down and analyze what I read. That's something I would not have done otherwise.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Megan M said...

In Henry IV, Part 1, I feel like I know Falstaff the best. His direct analysis of his lifestyle (such as his catechisms on honor) combined with his statically hedonistic, selfish behavior make him especially understandable for me. However, I think I can identify most with Hal's desire to outshine himself as well as his regard for "true" honor that is not just for recognition, as in Hotspur's case. In studying this play, I learned that trying to interact with the text and decide how it could be best portrayed to an audience really helps me to understand it better. I'm having trouble trying to compare this play with the other Shakespeare plays I've read, mainly because this was Shakespeare interpreting events into a play instead of writing an entirely new work. I enjoyed Henry IV, Part I very much, but in a different way than Shakespeare's tragedies and A Midsummer Night's Dream. This play was more about the characters for me and less about the plot and how the events would affect the world. I definitely liked the way we studied Henry IV. I learned a lot about the underlying symbolism involved in performance; I've never before put much thought into things like standing on a table to represent arrogance or talking fast to portray lack of comprehension and communication. I think that these sorts of things were the most important part of the acting; just reading the lines does seem like a time waster, as Nathan said, but with the preparation and symbolism I think the acting really added to our understanding. Instead of a guided discussion for each scene, I think what readers need most is to be able to ask questions to avoid over-discussing what we feel that we already understand; the time we spent on that was just about right. The reading journal on the blog is without a doubt a keeper; not only does it allow us to feed off each other's ideas and see what everyone's thinking, but it raises everyone's standards knowing our peers will be reading our responses. Overall, I think this unit went well for us; my only suggestion is that perhaps the discussions for each scene should occur after the groups have received the feedback papers, so that they can address any questions or clarifications during the discussion.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Brett E. said...

I understand Prince Henry the best, I think. He's kind of like me in that he had a little personal revolution before he figured out exactly who he wanted to be. I don't know exactly what that feels like, but I feel like I have some idea. As for what I learned, I didn't get a lot of it from the text, but more from some of those research projects we did in small groups. It's comforting to know that all teens feel exactly the same way about their own revolutions. Compared to other plays, I very much liked this one, although not as much. It wasn't as dynamic and tour-de-force-y as some of the others. However, I very much liked reading Prince Hal and Hotspur more than any other character from any other play. The open-door way of studying Henry IV was very liberating and I appreciated it because it let me draw my own conclusions. More discussion would have been welcome, but the performances were helpful. As for the blog, I would rather use paper. I think that the internet is full of a lot of red tape and I don't really like the format of this blog; it makes it more difficult to see others' responses. Maybe if the blog was formatted better, I would blog more effectively. Otherwise, the unit went well for me.

8:15 AM  
Blogger JonathanH said...

The person I most identified with in the play was also the same person I feel I know best after reading Henry IV Part 1. Prince Hal is in the prime of his youth and, like most adolescents, is going through a journey of inner growth. Hal yearns to discover more about himself and decide who he is and what his role is in this world. I think every teenager can really relate to a lot that Hal goes through emotionally whether it is parental conflicts, a feeling of unacceptance, or just kicking back and enjoying oneself. Through reading Henry IV I got some perspective on how others (my parents, for example) perceive youth while they are trying to discover themselves. Reading this play ultimately gave me some newfound confidence in myself as a person. The play was powerful in this regard but I honestly enjoyed every other Shakespeare play I have read more than I enjoyed Henry IV Part 1. There are some great things in the play, don’t get me wrong, I just really didn’t enjoy it. However, the approach we took on the play was very rewarding. I extremely enjoyed the blogging aspect to the unit. It was quite remarkable being able to discuss and read the thoughts of my classmates as I was going though the play. The performances in class were also thrilling for me as I am always looking for the excuse to get up and act. The open-minded, collegiate feel to the unit as a whole made it much more educational and I gained far more from it than I would have if the unit was done differently. Really the only thing that could be done differently would be to allow more than just one day in order to prepare for the performances. The scenes often didn’t reach the level they could have due to time constraints. Other than that, the unit went without a hitch and was ultimately extremely valuable.

11:25 AM  
Blogger DanaitA said...

1) I think I knew Hal the best not only because he was the main character but becasuse he was a teenager. It was easy to understand someo f his personality traits because he is like I am a teenager.
2) I think I identify most with Hal because he is a teenager dealing with pressure. And it is easy to understand the frustration and mood swings he goes through due to these pressures. I felt like i understood how he was feeling because pressure is a huge conflict I have with my own parents.
3) I think that I learned that making mistakes wasn't the end of thw world. It's ok to make mistakes because you can always find someone to fix them.
4) This play wasn;t horrible but it was not my favorite. I love the Shakespearen tragedies more than he histories. Tragedies have more twists and turns that keep me interested.
5) I thought the acting groups were a fun way to understand what was going on throughout the play. It made it easy to understand a lot of the plot that was going on especially since in Shakespearen language it is often hard to tell what is happening.
6) I liked blogging more than writing on paper. It was faster and let me read what my peers ideas were before I wrote my own. It is a way that you can read what everyones ideas are that they may have not shared during class.
7) A few suggestions would be to maybe not do the whole play in acting groups. They were fun but after awhile seemed redundant. Adding in something different for the different scenes might help bringo ut some new ideas. Also, I would've liked if we had more time for class discussion.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Betsy H said...

I think I know Hal the best compared to the other characters in the play. His character was relateable to adolescent teens who are also rebelling against their parents. I can definitley relate to Hal's desire to stray from his parents and learn more about himself. I learned that growing up and experiencing life through making mistakes is essential, especially without your parent's guidance. This play was not my favorite Shakespeare, only because it was kind of long and boring, with no real action until the last 2 scenes. I did learn more about the reign of the Henry dynasty, which was very interesting to see it all acted out. I'm a very shy person, and so discussing is very hard for me to, let alone act. I did like the acting however, compared to discussion, because it strayed away from the drone of always discussing, instead of acting out a piece of literature. I preferred blogging about the play, rather than hand writing because not only is it a lot easier, but you can see what your classmates say and how they reacted to your opinions.

4:39 PM  

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