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Archive for the ‘Humanities Education’ Category

By Danielle Drakes

 

“High School teachers, you are the keepers of the flame.” – Dr. Peggy O’Brien, Director of Education

Two Brains Running

 

 

Earlier this month, the Folger Shakespeare Library collaborated with WQED’s August Wilson Project on a event sponsored by PNC Bank focused on teaching August Wilson and William Shakespeare right alongside.

 

The day included:

Building the Instructor’s Library: Key References for Teaching August Wilson. Presentation by Dr. Sandra G. Shannon, Founder of the August Wilson Society and Professor, Department of English, Howard University.

 

Wilson and Shakespeare in Your Classroom. Presentation and Resource Packet by Teaching Shakespeare Institute alums Mark Miazga (2008) and Amber Phelps (2012), Teachers of English, Baltimore City College High School, Baltimore, MD.

 

Reflections and Perspectives on Wilson. Q & A with Riley Temple, Lawyer, Activist, and Co-Founder of True Colors Theatre Company.

 

Two Bards Ranting. An active language workshop using text from Wilson’s King Hedley II and Shakespeare’s Hamlet led by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, Playwright and Professor of Theatre, American University.

 

Documentary screening: August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand. Introduced by Deesha Philyaw, Manager, The August Wilson Education Project.

 

August Wilson quote

 

Are you teaching Wilson and Shakespeare, let us know!

 

Want to know more?  Check out Teaching Shakespeare Institute alum Mark Miazga’s wrap up, Epiphany in Baltimore.

 

Stay tuned for digital versions of our resources from this amazing day of professional learning!

 

Danielle Drakes is a theater practitioner in Washington, DC and manager of school programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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By Folger Education

Folger.edu

The new Folger website landing page

Here at Folger, we’re pretty thrilled about the new, sleek www.folger.edu! The pages are easier to navigate, and they’re chock-full of incredible images, multimedia, and other resources perfect for the classroom.

At the same time, we understand that some of our teaching colleagues—especially those of you who have been using our stuff for years—might be wondering where your old favorites have gone. Well, we’ve revised and reposted our top teaching modules here, and we’ll continue to add teaching modules to that page—some updated “classics,” and some totally new. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, don’t miss out on all of the new and improved content on the Teach and Learn pages and the rest of the Folger website.

It’s so hard to pick just a few resources to highlight, but here’s a small sampling of stuff to use in your planning and teaching and in your students’ discovering and learning.  Most of these resources work with multiple concepts and skills, but we’ve tried to categorize them for easy viewing. Enjoy!

RESOURCES FOR A RANGE OF PURPOSES

IMAGES AND VERSIONS OF EACH PLAY

PRE-READING

CLOSE READING

SPEAKING AND LISTENING

USING PRIMARY SOURCES AND INFORMATIONAL TEXTS

WRITING AND MULTIMEDIA COMPOSITION

 

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By Dan Bruno

"To be or not to be"  (Folger's Luna)

“To be or not to be”, 2004 Folger Shakespeare Library

Often, when talking with colleagues, I find that a difficult part of teaching well-known plays like Hamlet is making the recognizable, highly quotable speeches seem fresh and alive with possibility. Here are some activities to help students discover the originality and complexity of familiar speeches from Shakespeare:

  1. Make It Personal: Have you seen this take on the familiar speech? This parody opens many possibilities for teaching the speech. Consider this: first, your students read Hamlet’s soliloquy aloud, working through the difficult spots where the meaning is shrouded by so many possible variations. Now, show them this or another parody, letting them see what is possible. Then, ask them to pick something about their life as a teenager and to consider it as Hamlet makes his considerations. They could ask: “To date or not to date,” or “To post or not to post.” Afterwards, compare their writings to Hamlet’s original language. Invite a discussion around the central problem and tone of each speech. (Young philosophers especially love this.)
  2. Make It Alien: That’s right, go Jabberwocky on it. Students are familiar with “To be or not to be,” but they have never seen “Iz fi o nit iz fi.” The benefit here is having students analyze the relationships between the words without the intimidation of the unfamiliar language.
  3. Make It Comparative: As master teacher and author Mike LoMonico would say, if you are going to teach Shakespeare, teach Shakespeare. But “modern translations” have their place, in very small doses and with very specific purposes. One of the great ways to use that watered-down approximation of Shakespeare is to reveal how much the language lacks in comparison to the original. For example: “or to fight against all those troubles” just doesn’t have the same epic quality as “take arms against a sea of troubles.” Have students examine the imagery, diction, and figurative language in each version. Let them see for themselves why there’s no substitute for the real thing.
  4. Make It Live: Find tidbits of action in these soliloquies and bring them to life as miniature stage plays. How might one act out the first five lines? Once the plays are over, connect each back to the language of the soliloquy. Now there is a concrete anchor for all of Hamlet’s abstractions.

Hamlet’s famous speech about indecision and existence is a great start, but feel free to try these ideas on any speech from Shakespeare—from Macbeth’s “Is this a dagger…” to Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen…”

 

Dan Bruno has been a high school English teacher for nine years. He has a Master of Education in Social Foundations of Education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. He also has a National Board Certification in Adolescent/Young Adult English/Language Arts. In July 2014, Dan was a participant in the Folger’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two sons. 

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In this special series we’re calling “Inside the Classroom,” we’ll follow middle school teacher Gina Voskov and her students as they embark on a Twelfth Night unit. Today, it’s all about pre-reading—check back for notes from the group throughout the learning process.

By: Gina Voskov

Photo: Gina Voskov

Photo: Gina Voskov

I am so pleased to introduce Won Jae, Lois, and Alexandra, three of my 7th grade English students.

As you’ll see, these students have a wide range of experiences when it comes to engagement in English, comfort with public speaking/performance, familiarity with Shakespeare, and with the English language. My challenge is to make the story and language accessible (and hopefully enjoyable and meaningful) to everyone.

Shakespeare’s works were formally added to our 7th grade English curriculum three years ago and the Shakespeare unit has quickly become a favorite for both teachers and students because we use the Folger approach. In two weeks, we will begin our study of Twelfth Night, a play I really love but have never taught before. My colleague and I will be using the Shakespeare Set Free materials for the play as well as other performance techniques I learned at the 2012 Teaching Shakespeare Institute.

This first post is an introduction the students have written about themselves and a brief overview of their thoughts about learning Shakespeare and studying Twelfth Night. I suspect the concerns they share with you will mirror the concerns many of your students have about learning the language. A second post will follow, mid-unit, where the three will be able to share specific activities that challenged them the most to learn. The final post will be a reflective piece after their performance project has ended.

It is my hope that my students will be able to see growth in confidence, skills, and excitement as we use the Folger approach to studying this play. It is truly a joy to be able to share these students’ words with you, and I hope you’ll check back in on their journey through our unit.

 

Meet Won Jae: (more…)

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By Folger Education

Thanks, teaching colleagues, for sharing your responses to our last post! From technology to performance, here are some of YOUR suggestions for getting started with Shakespeare. Enjoy!

Last year the following worked beautifully to engage students with the Prologue to R&J.

Start off with pairs saying the same sentence but alternating which words they stress. For instance, I would say “I want to go to the movies” with my partner saying “I want to go the movies” and so on. After the demo, students are given some fun sentences and practice with partners.  Next, I have the prologue divided into its fourteen lines printed largely onto cards. The students practice at their tables saying the line with varying emphases. Then, fourteen students stand in front of the class in order of the prologue lines and each student recites her line.  Voila! The class has read the Prologue and can move on with familiarity to paraphrasing it. This activity can be used as a way to instruct students about the function and delivery of a chorus as well.

  • Sara Davis, Decatur, Illinois

 

Here’s how I introduce Shakespeare’s language. I give students Shakespeare quotations and they make memes using this website.

  • Chris Lavold, Mauston, Wisconsin

    (Photo Credit: Chris Lavold)

    (Photo Credit: Chris Lavold)

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by Corinne Viglietta

Students working with Shakespeare's text. (Photo credit: Lloyd Wolf)

Students working with Shakespeare’s text. (Photo credit: Lloyd Wolf)

 

New semester, new plays! A lot of teachers are kicking off, or getting ready to kick off, a Shakespeare unit, so we thought we’d talk about what to do on those first days. From having students put some verse on its feet to creating a tempest in the lunchroom, these activities will build confidence, interest, and skill—and help your students make lasting connections to Shakespeare’s language.

 

  1. Tempest in the Lunchroom – Chicago Teacher Joe Scotese talks about how to “bring students to the text”—and have some fun—on day 1.
  2. Seven Ages of Man – In one of our most popular blog posts ever, South Carolina teacher and Folger National Teacher Corps member Debbie Gascon shares her tips for starting the school year—or any literature unit. Even if you’re not teaching As You Like It, student performances of Jaques’s speech make for a fabulous introduction to the words and worlds of Shakespeare.
  3. Multiple Readings of the Romeo and Juliet Prologue – In Folger National Teacher Corps member Julia Perlowski’s activity, students read the same passage in a variety of ways—chorally, in small chunks of texts, in student pairs, with annotation, with discussion, and with a pattern in mind. An excellent way to get students making their own discoveries about Shakespeare’s language!
  4. Famous Last Words – North Carolina teacher Leslie Kelly shares her approach to one of Folger’s most popular ELL resources—the “Famous Death Lines” activity. Why not start with the end of the play, practice some language, discuss the plot upfront, and make room for a rich exploration of words and ideas?
  5. Interpreting Character – Sue Biondo-Hench, a teacher in Pennsylvania and member of the Folger National Teacher Corps, shows how to introduce students to Shakespeare through close readings of character.

Try these out and let us know how they went. We’re on Twitter (@FolgerEd) and Facebook!


Corinne Viglietta is Assistant Director of Education at the Folger. She has taught English in DC, Maryland, and France.

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By Corinne Viglietta

 

Shakespeare was a maker (39 plays, 154 sonnets, lots of new words, and more), and he wrote about making things, too. In Shakespeare we meet makers of all kinds: noisemakers, grave-makers, jig-makers, hornmakers, peacemakers, ballad-makers, ropemakers, gallows-makers, shoemakers, cuckold-makers, card-makers, widow-makers, sailmakers, and makers of manners.

Fast-forward four centuries. There’s buzz around the Maker Movement in education, and students all over seem to be tinkering, creating, hacking, and working on maker projects that cross—and disrupt—traditional subject areas. As a result, experts say, students are becoming skilled innovators and problem-solvers who feel confident and excited about new challenges.

When we think of today’s (and tomorrow’s) brave new makers, we might picture 3-D printers, gadgets, and design labs. That makes sense, but doesn’t it also make sense to talk about making in the English classroom?

 

"Making"

What does “making” look like in the English classroom? And where does Shakespeare fit in? (Photo credit: Corinne Viglietta)

 

According to Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager, a good maker project can happen almost anywhere. It simply must engage students in the creative process and have these 8 elements.

Does making language, making meaning, count? Was Shakespeare a maker in today’s sense of the word? Can—and should—English classes make other stuff, too? What lessons can we learn from hands-on makerspaces? How can making be assessed? Tell us what you think—and show us what making looks like in your classroom.

 

Are your students makers? How does making play a part in your teaching of Shakespeare and other texts?

 

 

Let’s start a conversation! We’re collecting your responses and sharing them on Twitter. Tweet us (@FolgerEd) your stories and images, or email them to me at cviglietta@folger.edu.

 

 

Corinne Viglietta is Assistant Director of Education at the Folger. She has taught English in DC, Maryland, and France.

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