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Performance Task: Character Confessional Narrative

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In this third unit, and after studying the thematic concept of control throughout A Midsummer Night’s Dream, students will write a narrative that will act as a “confessional,” where a character from the play explains his or her attempts to control or manipulate someone else in the play. This writing piece will meet the criteria for an effective narrative, including a logical introduction, event sequence, and reflective conclusion; narrative techniques; transitions; description; and correct grammar. Students’ character confessionals will answer three guiding questions: “Why did you want to control someone else’s actions?”, “How did you try to control someone else’s actions?”, and “What were the results of your trying to control someone else’s actions?”

For the mid-unit assessment, students will write a short justification that explains why they chose the character and scenes from the play that they did, and how the confessional develops the theme of control. For the end of unit assessment, students will write a commentary on how their narrative is a response to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and how it connects to and diverges from the play. Finally, students will share their narratives with a small group of peers. This performance task centers on standards NYSP12 ELA CCLS RL.8.2, RL.8.3, W.8.3, W.8.4, W.8.9a, and W.11b.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What motivates people to try to control one another’s actions?
  • How do people try to control one another’s actions?
  • What happens when people try to control one another’s actions?

Content Connections



Texts to buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please refer to Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth & A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by Peggy O’Brien
ISBN: 978-0-671-76046-5
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
One per student
ISBN: 978-0743482813

Texts included in the unit

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, film
by Michael Hoffman
Shakespeare’s Universal Appeal Examined,” in DNA
by Jonathan Bate
DNA, 2012
The Lure of Shakespeare
by Robert W. Butler
Calliope, 2005
The Shakespeare Shakedown
by Simon Schama
Newsweek, 2011
Top Ten Reasons Shakespeare Did Not Write Shakespeare
by Keir Cutler, Ph.D
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.,
The Harvest That Never Came
by Aaron Shepard
Cricket, 1993
"Pyramus and Thisbe"
by Thomas Bulfinch,


ELA G8:M2B:U3:L1

ELA G8:M2B:U3:L3

End-of-Unit Assessment

Optional Activities

Consider inviting actors from a local theater group to perform some of Shakespeare’s works and/or work with students so that students may perform excerpts of Shakespeare’s works. Local actors and directors might also provide expertise on staging, stage directions, and the choices they make when interpreting a script for a performance.

Consider having students attend a live production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and analyze the choices made by the actor and directors.

Arrange for students to perform excerpts, the entire play, or their confessionals for various audiences, including younger children, nursing homes, shelters, etc.

Teachers might collaborate with the librarian to support students in writing an advanced confessional in which students study the differences in the portrayal of genders in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Have students study how men and women possess different motivations for controlling others and use different methods in doing so. 

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