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Image: Folger Shakespeare Library

Image: Folger Shakespeare Library

 

Join us tomorrow for Halloween fun, family, and Shakespeare. And candy. Lots of candy.

 

Image: Folger Shakespeare Library

Image: Folger Shakespeare Library

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By Folger Education

 

Shapiro - FELast week, the Folger hosted a book launch for our colleague James Shapiro’s The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. Shapiro, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and member of the Folger Board of Governors, discussed how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year—King LearMacbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. He was also kind enough to stay with us for a Twitter Q&A at @FolgerLibrary.

 

If you couldn’t make it to the lecture or the Twitter conversation, don’t fret. Here are a few ways to experience Shapiro’s fascinating work:

 

NYT Op-ed: “Shakespeare in Modern English” – James Shapiro, October 7, 2015, The New York Times

Folger Podcast: Shakespeare Unlimited: James Shapiro and The Year of Lear

Archived Q&A: James Shapiro, at the Folger and on Twitter

From the Publisher: The Year of Lear at Simon & Schuster.

 

There’s a whole lot to consider and discuss—please share your thoughts with us at @FolgerEd!

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By Deirdre DeLoatch

 

Image:

Image: Deirdre DeLoatch

This summer I had the privilege of participating in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute: Summer Academy. During this week-long intensive program, I was given multiple strategies for teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet and other Shakespearean works.

 

I learned that I should allow the students to perform scenes according to how they interpret the language. I should give them freedom to both direct and edit the scenes so that they will have more ownership in their individual performances. As a result of both the Academy’s suggestions and encouragement, I will no longer have a select group of students take individual parts and have the students read those parts while the other students in the class sit passively without paying attention to the text.

 

Before the first day of class, I was determined to have my class use performance when reading literature, whether it’s Shakespeare, or any other author. Knowing that my incoming seniors would have had no prior experience with Shakespeare, I thought Romeo and Juliet would work well. I also decided that I wanted all of my children to study it. The class that I knew would possibly challenge me the most would be my Integrated Co-teaching (ICT) class. Some of these students have processing disorders, developmental delay, dyslexia, and other disabilities. As a result, I decided to implement language-based, performance-rich lessons while scaffolding the text for them to dispel any anxiety or discomfort while both studying and reading the text.

 

On the first day of class, my co-teacher and I began teaching Romeo and Juliet to our twelfth grade ICT class. After dispensing with only a few formalities, we had the students form two lines in the middle of the classroom. We first asked the students about their prior knowledge of the play. About half of them had some general knowledge of the play. Next, we told the students that we were going to read the Prologue, but that each student was going to read a line of the Prologue. We read the Prologue three times to enhance their understanding of the text (for vocabulary development, we discussed some of the unfamiliar worlds and looked at word roots for some of the terms including prologue). We then asked three students to read individually the entire prologue. Lastly, we asked a series of questions to determine their comprehension. We asked the students to support their answers with evidence from the text and to rewrite the Prologue, for homework, using colloquial language. At that point, their eyes lit up and many of them became excited because we were allowing them to rewrite the Prologue in their own words. As they did this, they were close reading the original language. (more…)

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By David Fulco

 

Students performing the Dumb Show from Hamlet . (Image: David Fulco)

Students performing the Dumb Show from Hamlet . (Image: David Fulco)

At the end of TSI 2014, I made a pledge that I would not read the syllabus to my class on the first day of school.

 

After a summer collaborating with some of the most innovative teachers in the country, it did seem a shame that I would return to my classroom and fall back into the trap, albeit a safe trap, of

going over rules and regulations, expectations and procedures on that first day.

 

Couldn’t the first 45 minutes of the year be used for a better purpose? Shouldn’t the first 45 minutes of the year be used for a better purpose?

 

(What does it say about me that I hear Peggy O’Brien’s voice in my head when I ask myself those questions before the start of each school year?)

 

For the past two years I have asked my 10th grade students at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the South Bronx, New York City to perform Tableaux Vivants on the first day of school. As a reference for our still life poses, I use the original text of the Dumb Show from Hamlet (3.2.144-156). That the students aren’t familiar with Hamlet or won’t read Hamlet as sophomores, is not a problem. The Dumb Show stands alone, allowing you to discuss as much, or as little, about Hamlet as you would like.

 

What I do:

(more…)

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By Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger

 

A title page on a Shakespearean printing press. (Image: Folger Library)

A title page on a Shakespearean printing press. (Image: Folger Library)

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to participate in a printing workshop at Folger using a replica of a printing press like the ones used in Shakespeare’s time. The invention and popularity of the printing press changed the way books were produced, increasing the output and cutting the cost of making a book. This was a technological revolution of its time, initiating an “information revolution” like the internet did in our day. Participating in the printing workshop reminded me of the power of the book.

 

Several months ago, I visited Maggs Brothers, a dealer of rare books in London. There I was able to see and handle several rare books. There’s something amazing about being in a room full of books that may have been a special possession of someone who lived in London while Shakespeare was there. Perhaps someone saved and carefully selected this volume, took days to select a particular binding, and kept it in a place of honor in her home. The value of any book includes a history of ownership, of discovery, of excitement. While I was in Maggs, one of the dealers had a package of books delivered. His delight at the receipt of these books was fascinating. He called his colleagues to watch him open the box and unwrap the books, showing each one and sharing the story of how he had discovered it.

 

In our day of desktop publishing and printing on demand, as well as tablets, the value of a book as an object is sometimes hard to remember. My experience at the printing workshop was a great reminder of how much effort went into the creation of a single volume.

 

First, we apprentices had our orientation. As all the participants were women that day, none of us would have been involved in printing in Shakespeare’s day when all compositors, printers, and publishers were men. But we forged ahead.

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By Folger Education

 

In this month’s Bard Notes, Peggy O’Brien asked our teaching colleagues one question: What’s the most compelling sentence—from the mouth of a student or a teacher or a principal — that you’ve heard in the last week?

(Image: Folger)

(Image: Folger)

And…wow! Here’s what you shared:

 

“We are ALL here to learn.” – Maureen Berzok

 

“One of my students said this a few days ago: ‘I never realized how much power a text can have when you just look at the words.’” – Chasidy Burton

 

“A returning student said to me, ‘I used my first paycheck from my first summer job to buy a giant poster of Walt Whitman for my bedroom.’” – Margaret Mackinnon

 

“This year we started school with Whitman’s ‘Oh Me! Oh Life!’ and as a culminating activity each of my students had to write their verse.  Here is one of my favorites, from my student Emily in 10th grade pre-AP English:  ‘I am only a minute, insignificant being who aspires to be able to unravel the fabric of the universe and stitch it back in a manner fathomable for mankind; I have my work cut out for me.’” – Judy Perrone

 

“My most profound sentence came from a student who turned in his six-word memoir poster a few days late. He had a rough start to the year and was a student who raised my concerned teacher antennae pretty quickly, but I think he’ll be ok. His memoir message: “My head is above the water.” Sometimes, that’s all we can ask, isn’t it?” – Stefanie Jochman

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By Emma Remsberg

 

At the end of June, I started my internship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It was an exciting and busy time for the Education office, every spare table space being used to house an intern.

 

Reflecting on my internship, it’s hard to choose a favorite part. I love the milieu of the Education office—fun, smart, and very witty – and I really enjoy the work that I’ve been doing with museum programs. But perhaps most of all, I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had to explore the Folger as an institution. Being able to delve into the “nooks and crannies” of the Folger was super exciting, and I’m really glad to have had that chance.

 

For instance, every two weeks I attended the “Practical Paleography” workshops hosted by EMMO. They’re very fun, helped me to brush up on my Latin over the summer, and introduced me to secretary hand (which utterly baffled me at first, and still does – but in a fun way).

 

I was also assigned a Reading Room project (finding examples of the “To Be” speech in American culture). I cannot fully express how thrilling it was to be in the Reading Room of the Folger, to work with rare materials, to have my own shelf right next to the stained glass window depicting the Seven Ages of Man. The Reading Room is hands-down my favorite physical space in the Folger. I think I could happily live there forever, but for now I’m content just to do research.

 

What else? I got to operate a Gutenberg-style printing press – setting my name in type, inking the form, rolling the paper through the press, etc. I went to afternoon teas and chatted with readers about their research. I sat in on fascinating lectures and workshops with faculty of the Summer Academy, which brought 29 teachers from around the country here to the Folger for a week on Hamlet.

 

The Education team encouraged me to take advantage of any opportunities that appealed to me, so I did. I spent my summer not only learning about museum education but also exploring everything the Folger offers, doing things I never could have dreamed of when I submitted my application. I’ll miss this internship, miss the folks in Education, miss being immersed head to toe in Shakespeare. But at least I know that when I return to school, I’ll be able to do so with reinvigorated enthusiasm about the Bard, a “Folger Library loves me” T-shirt, and a whole lot of stories to tell.

 

Emma Remsberg is the Museum Programs Intern at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She studies Greek, Latin, and Medieval Studies at Swarthmore College. She just started dabbling in paleography.

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