Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Shakespeare in Primary Classrooms

We received this Tweet:
We're often asked for resources for certain Shakespeare plays. Between us, we've studied Shakespeare with Year Five pupils for over ten years. We've frequently changed plays, but covered them in a very similar way...

To start, watch the Animated Tales version of the play being studied and then, as a teacher, read the Matthews and Ross version of the play. In addition to these, watch and read Animated Tales and Matthews and Ross versions of other plays to generate a general interest in Shakespeare. We have some comprehension questions to accompany those books (will post link here soon). Also, share all or part of the original script. It's important to see that too.

Scene setting. Describe the place where the play is mostly set. The island in The Tempest, Illyria, Verona, the Forest in Midsummer Night's Dream and so on. Work on adjectives, similes etc.

Mind map the characters and their relationships. Shakespeare often wove a tangled web with his characters. Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet can all be a little easier to understand once the characters and their relationships are plotted.

Character study. Pick a particular character and write an in-depth character study of their personality, the way the are portrayed, the choices they make and more.

Explain the plot using a story staircase. How do the rises and falls, twists and turns make the play so enjoyable to perform, watch and study?

Over the past three years, our outcome of the Shakespeare study has been writing a newspaper article about a part of the play. 

This idea came via Matthew and has worked very well. 
Image credit: Matthw Sullivan

Getting companies to come into school to support the understanding of the play and act parts of it add to the children's enjoyment and ability to engage with it in a deeper way. We have positive experiences of working with both Shakespeare 4 Kids and West End in Schools.

Finally, if time allows, get off site and do some filming...

So, no we don't really have anything specific to a particular play. From our experience, viewing them as a story and studying all that a story has to offer (while praising Shakespeare's excellent work) provides an excellent way to study these plays. 

Recently, this was delivered to all Primary schools in the UK.

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