By Deborah Gascon
It’s September and the weather is cooling down, but your students’ love for Shakespeare is warming up, right? Okay, maybe not love like, “will you go to the homecoming dance with me?” love, but maybe a lukewarm shyness sort of love? Your students aren’t ready to dance with Shakespeare, but definitely have been making eye contact and passing notes in class (or sending iMessages for you techie-teachers?).
My new batch of students haven’t experienced too much Shakespeare yet, but I have been dotting my daily lessons with a little bit of Shakespeare and performance-based instruction. By prom, they’ll all be asking their new love Super-Shakes to be their date.
Let me tell you about a quick and easy way to include the Folger’s approach to performance-based learning in our daily classroom lives. (more…)
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Guest post by Deborah Gascon
Eighteen years ago, days before my first year teaching began, my principal gave me the best advice I’ve ever heard about the first day of school. She simply said, “Make the students want to come back.” She told me to forget the syllabus and classroom procedures—the students won’t retain those rules and did I really want my first impression to be about how to ask for the bathroom pass?
As suggested, I followed through with my hopefully-memorable plans on that first day. When I ate dinner that night (in my pjs because I was so exhausted!) I had visions of my eighth graders at their dinner tables telling their families about their invigorating English class. I’m still not sure if that happened, but they all came back the next day with smiles on their faces and eager to learn. They were optimistic. And so was I.
With that advice in mind, on the first day of school for the past two years I’ve incorporated Folger performance methods in my lesson plans. What a difference this has made. No longer were my sleepy seniors glaring at me (and the clock) and no longer were my freshmen struggling to sit still in a desk after a summer of hyperactivity. Instead, students were on their feet, participating and laughing (and learning!).
Here are some quick methods to get the students up on their feet and loving the first day (and every day after!) in your classroom:
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Guest post by Deborah Gascon – Dutch Fork High School, Irmo, SC
Performance in AP? Didn’t think you had time with all the other pressures? Make time. Using Folger strategies in my AP classes has transformed student comprehension of difficult texts and improved their abilities to read closely–and has actually SAVED me time.
This week my AP Lit and Comp students completed poetry presentations. There were several requirements but one of them was to make the presentation engaging–there is nothing worse than sitting through 57 poetry presentations, is there?
I was impressed and amazed at how many of my students incorporated some sort of performance in their presentations. Josh taught Frost’s poem “Home Burial” and had 3 volunteers perform the different parts to show the contrast in mood. Tyler assigned each of his classmates a line of a Plath poem and asked them to create a physical movement to express the tone in the line.
My students quickly realized that performance is key to understanding and chose to incorporate in all facets of our classroom. I know that with performance my students are engaged, class is interactive, students aren’t insecure about delivering presentations and the senior slump hasn’t happened.
Here are the top 5 things I did (and suggest!) to incorporate Folger strategies in the AP classroom: (more…)
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