Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare Set Free’

Secondary Festival 2013

Secondary School Shakespeare Festival, 2013. Folger Shakespeare Library.

By Mike Klein

Year after year kids in my classroom have strikingly similar reactions to my announcement, “Tomorrow, we’ll be starting Shakespeare.” That reaction is usually a series of “Ughs,” or “Oh nos!” or “Whys?” The most dreaded by English teachers everywhere is, of course, “I hate Shakespeare!”

Perhaps I am different, perhaps I’m a masochist, but I relish these answers. I see them as my opportunity to do what I set out to do when I decided to become a teacher – change minds.

Teaching Shakespeare in my class begins by starting not with books, but with words. Not just any words, Shakespeare’s words. The most effective method of getting kids of any age (I know because I do these lessons with my middle school drama kids!) comfortable with Shakespeare is by leaving the books on the shelves. Books can be cumbersome and have copious notes and footnotes so I begin by giving them a single page of lines from the play I’m going to start them with.

Almost any play works with an exercise called “Three-Dimensional Shakespeare,” outlined by Michael Tolaydo in Shakespeare Set Free. I use it for Hamlet, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Shakespeare_Set_FreeAs you may have guessed, we never get tired of reading about the creative ways teachers are using performance-based learning techniques to teach Shakespeare.

Sarah Goodis-Orenstein, a middle school language arts teacher and department head in a public charter school in Brooklyn, recently shared in a blog post on Education Week how she’s experimented with the Folger’s Shakespeare Set Free curriculum in her classroom.

Goodis-Orenstein, who assigned her students to reinterpret scenes from Romeo and Juliet and act them out, walks the reader through each step of the assessment process and the rationale behind it.

Her conclusion:

In the end, this prompt-book project was tremendously rewarding for both myself and my students. When embarking upon this project, I had some reservations. I’m not a terribly performative person, myself, and I know I would have resented this assignment as a middle schooler. I also know that performances are often scoffed at as the low man on the totem pole of rigor.

But this project was no fluff. And it was fun.

She finishes the blog post with this gem:

…the best assessments are about creativity and application, not regurgitation or formulaic writing. It also doesn’t hurt to be reminded now and then that getting out of one’s comfort zone can lead to great things—for both students and teachers.

Read more at Education Week.

Read Full Post »

Find this quote in context at folgerdigitaltexts.org

Guest post by Josh Cabat

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

While the average ELA Chair or Director has little to fear in terms of civil unrest in the Northlands, we have all, as did Henry IV, struggled with internal resistance to change.

How often have you found a great idea at a conference or in a journal, and then presented it at a department meeting only to have it greeted with smiles and nods and subsequently ignored? Reflecting on and changing our own process is challenging enough; to get others to do so is often a steep mountain indeed.

This is even more true when it comes to Shakespeare. Resistance to new ideas in teaching Shakespeare usually comes in two flavors. One comes out as “You expect those students to do Shakespeare?” which usually signifies the teacher’s own insecurity with the material. The other is the complete opposite: “You’re telling me how to teach Shakespeare?” Take heart, though; there are many ways over, around, and through these walls. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Guest post by Michael Klein

It didn’t take me long to rethink how to look at Shakespeare texts after listening to Dr. Ann Cook Calhoun compare them to a musical score.

“Reading texts sitting at a desk is like looking at musical notations without hearing the instruments” she said during the English-Speaking Union’s Shakespeare Teacher Intensive two-day, low-cost, non-residential institutes for teachers.

She went on to explain the performative nature of Shakespeare texts, which essentially serve as scripts. The idea behind the intensive institutes is to present a unique teaching methodology designed to help teachers put students “inside the texts, and get the words up on their feet.”  Dr. Calhoun’s message was clear, not only did I need to “play” the “music” in front of me, but also its meanings and beauty would be much louder and clearer with other “musicians” around to discuss the meaning, and then perform the score.

The workshops aren’t just lectures presenting nifty ideas either. The English-Speaking Union has partnered with the Folger Shakespeare Library, which provides a master teacher to present curriculum ideas using a variety of methods, most of which are included in the Shakespeare Set Free Toolkit teachers can take home with them. The Toolkit includes a flash drive with handouts, cut scenes, images from the Folger collection, 10-30 minute performance-ready versions of some of the plays, and a copy of Shakespeare Set Free, Teaching Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Macbeth. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet

Drawing by John Austen for an edition of Hamlet (ART Box A933 no.2), 1890 painting by Ludovic Marchetti of Romeo and Juliet (ART Vol. f220). Folger Shakespeare Library.

Last week, we took a reader poll to ask which Shakespeare plays were being taught this semester. Top of the list (as of this writing): Romeo and Juliet, with more than 25 percent of the vote.

Macbeth took second place with 22 percent, and Hamlet third with 10 percent. Our write-in option was also quite popular, with Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing making multiple appearances.

Good news! We have a wealth of resources for teaching each of these plays. Here are a few highlights:

  • Romeo and Juliet – In December, Folger Education recorded an hour-long master class for teaching Romeo and Juliet. You can watch the archived version online, broken down into video segments on scholarship, performance, and the classroom.
  • Macbeth – Folger educators talk about surefire ways for successfully introducing students to the Scottish play in this podcast, Macbeth: The Teacher’s Edition.
  • Hamlet – Watch the Insider’s Guide to Hamlet. These videos highlight the play’s themes, characters, and plot—perfect for students encountering Hamlet for the first time.

Find more resources by downloading a curriculum guide for each of these popular plays. The guides include a brief synopsis, two lesson plans, famous quotes from the play, prompts for teachers, links to podcasts and videos, and a list of suggested additional resources.

Want even more? Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet are all included in our Shakespeare Set Free books, a series written by Folger Education’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute faculty and participants. (Today’s your last chance to apply for this year’s TSI, by the way!) Each book is packed with practical, specific ideas to use in the classroom.

Read Full Post »

Team Folger will once again have a major presence at next week’s NCTE Conference in Boston. If you’re planning on attending be sure to take part in all of our activities and add a comment below to let us know to look out for you. Here’s what’s on:

The Booth

  1. Stop by to see a demo of the brand new Folger App for Othello
  2. Learn more about the 2014 Teaching Shakespeare Institute
  3. Find out about the Romeo and Juliet Master Class
  4. Record your thoughts on teaching Romeo and Juliet
  5. Meet some of the Folger staff and our team of teachers
  6. Find out about the Folger’s Saturday evening FLASH MOB.

Shakespeare Set Free Sessions On Saturday, beginning at 8:00 am, we will present 5 separate sessions. Here they are:

Act 1: Peggy O’Brien, Mike LoMonico, and Heather Lester  on How Pre-reading Strategies and Activities that Focus on Language Will Ease Your Students into Shakespeare; (Re)Inventing Shakespeare through Performance-based Reading and Writing

Act 2: Holly Rodgers, Kevin Costa, and Julia Perlowski on How Getting Students on Their Feet and Working with Shakespeare’s Language Is Easier than It Sounds

Act 3: Peggy O’Brien, Bill Parsons, and Debbie Gascon on How Tablets, Smartboards, and Web 2.0 Tools Can Get Your Students Closer to Shakespeare’s Texts

Act 4: Rick Vanderwall, Chris Lavold, and Josh Cabat on How to Use Film and Video in an Active Way to Connect Your Students and Shakespeare’s Plays

Act 5: Carol Kelly, Geoff Stanbury, Greta Brasgalla, and Sue Biondo-Hench on Using the Common Core State Standards to Create Meaningful and Authentic Assessments for Your Shakespeare Unit

The Flash Mob: folger-blog-logos_01 Flashmob You have to be there to take part in this amazing experience. Details at the booth and at our sessions. 

So if you plan to come to Boston for the NCTE Conference, add a comment below and we’ll look out for you.

Read Full Post »

With the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and NYIT, Folger Education just completed an 8-week on-line course on Teaching Macbeth. Enrollment was capped at 30 participants, each of whom received a Folger Toolkit. Each session was 90-minutes long and was live using Elluminate.

Here is a summary of the sessions:

Week 1:  Mike LoMonico and Bob Young, lead teachers

This session introduced teachers to the Folger Shakespeare Library and all the resources that are available for teachers, including Lesson Plans, Images, Podcasts, and YouTube videos. Then thye gave an overview of the course and explored the Toolkit. Finally, they discussed the philosophy of Folger Education and demonstrated some pre-reading language activities.

Week 2:  Chris Renino, lead teacher

This session  focused on the Macbeth unit in Shakespeare Set Free. Unit editor Chris Renino demonstrated some of the most popular lessons in the book.

Week 3: Kevin Costa, lead teacher

Kevin discussed editing Macbeth, both in the academic processes that were used to create the Folger editions as well as how editing can be a tool for students to employ. Several videos of series editor, Barbara Mowat were included. Then Kevin  demonstrated editing activities that can help students focus on the language and discover Macbeth by themselves.

Week 4: Sue Biondo-Hench, lead teacher

Sue  demonstrated some activities that she uses to front load a Shakespeare Unit. Participants shared their ideas and contributed other teaching ideas.

Week 5: Jaime Wong, lead teacher

Jaime presented activities and led a discussion on using clips from Shakespeare productions in the classroom, as well as the Special Features from the Folger Shakespeare Library/Two River Company 2008 production Macbeth (DVD included in the toolkit). Participants viewed the performance and Special Features section of the DVD previous to the session.

Week 6 Chris Shamburg, lead teacher

Shakespeare, Digitally had five parts:

Act 1 Why Shakespeare and Technology; Act 2 Three Big Trends in Technology  (and why they work great with Shakespeare); Act 3 Ideas and Technologies; Act 4 Shakespeare, Technology, and Inclusive Education; Act 5 Wrap Up

Week 7:  Amy Ulen, lead teacher

Amy focused on the Macbeth Unit Plan from Shakespeare Set Free and the Folger Toolkit as well as Macbeth in Popular Culture.

Week 8: Bob Young and Carol Kelly, lead teachers

This final session focused on how to create a Shakespeare Festival and how to assess performance-based approaches to teaching Shakespeare.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 654 other followers