Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reading Word(s) of the Week: Iambic Pentameter

I have decided to come up with two words per week to go over with my blog readers: one for my reading classes and one for my theatre classes. This week's reading word(s) are iambic pentameter.

As we begin our Shakespeare unit, I thought it would be best to start from the very beginning with "iambic pentameter." As the students walked into the classroom, I had the words written on the overhead. I asked them to break the word "pentameter" down. They knew that "penta" meant five and that "meter" was a unit of measurement. I asked them what would a "meter" be in a poem, and they told me a line or stanza. We therefore automatically knew that iambic pentameter had something to do with the number five and a line. Broken down, this is what they came up with:

After we mapped out the meaning, we looked at the definition of the word on wikipedia.
"Iambic pentameter (from Greek: ἰαμβικός πεντάμετρος meaning to have five iambs) is a commonly used metrical line in traditional verse and verse drama. The term describes the particular rhythm that the words establish in that line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called "feet". The word "iambic" describes the type of foot that is used (in English, an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable). The word "pentameter" indicates that a line has five of these "feet.""

To practice finding iambic pentameter in play format, we looked at the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet and mapped out the "heartbeat" on the paper like this:
I am so proud of my 6th and 7th grade Reading students for doing so well on this assignment! Here they are hard at work:

Next up....SONNETS!

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