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Archive for the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Category

By Diana Darwin and Nancy Howard

 

Imagine children, not much taller than yardsticks, clearly and passionately performing lines from Romeo and Juliet. Simply dressed in blue T-shirts for the Montagues, red T-shirts for the Capulets, and yellow tees for the Prince and his family (a few wore mustaches and many carried swords), they projected proudly as they enacted an abbreviated version of this play.  They were energized—and energizing—nine-year-old children from a public charter school here in DC. At the end of the day, we asked their teacher how the students came to own the language. He replied, “Practice, lots of it.”

 

This is the kind of magic behind the Emily Jordan Folger Shakespeare Children’s Festival: elementary students speaking Shakespeare’s language as if it were written for them (and we believe it was!).

 

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Children understand and enjoy Shakespeare when given the chance to perform it! The comedic spirit of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was alive and well presented by a cast of students who were having so much fun the audience couldn’t resist. Young Pyramus understood the humor in taking such a long time to die…and the audience responded with happy laughter and applause. The community of learners in the Folger Theatre inspired and supported each other, demonstrating throughout the week the value of the arts and humanities.

 

It seems to me that perhaps the most important lessons learned from the arduous preparation made by all these students is their ability to do things they thought were hard. Their work learning lines and presenting characters demands that children stretch beyond the familiar and risk trying new things. We believe that the growth that we witness in these young people is only a glimpse of an unlimited future ahead.

 

Nancy Howard and Diana Darwin both taught Eighth Grade Language Arts and produced/directed theatrical productions at George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia.  After retiring in 2006, they  became docents at Folger Shakespeare Library.

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By Corinne Viglietta

Which poem is in your pocket ? (Source: F. Nivelon, The rudiments of genteel behavior, 1737. Folger Collection. )

Which poem is in your pocket ? (Source: F. Nivelon, The rudiments of genteel behavior, 1737. Folger Collection. )

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day, everyone! We’re taking a little break from our Teaching Twelfth Night with Technology series to celebrate the power of verse with you.

If you’d like some ideas for engaging students and colleagues in this national poetry fest, or if your pocket is without a poem (gasp!), keep reading.

When I was teaching high school English, today was my favorite day of the year—and a big community day for our school. A few weeks before Poem in Your Pocket Day, the faculty and staff—STEM teachers, humanities teachers, support staff, administrators, librarians, you name it—would select which poem they’d be carrying on this day. (Awesome colleagues, right?)

Then, the English teachers would get together and use those poems to create school-wide Poem in Your Pocket scavenger hunts for all of our students. For instance, students might have to recite the first line of Ms. Jackson’s poem (“We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks) or reflect on the anaphora in Mr. Williams’ favorite poem (“If” by Rudyard Kipling).

Or they’d have to share their favorite words from one of the many wonderful Billy Collins picks among the adults.  And there were always two key rules for students: 1) you must ask the adult to read the poem out loud before you ask your scavenger hunt question, and 2) poetry should be buzzing in every corner of school during breaks, passing periods, and lunch—and even during class time, as long as your teacher allows!

By the end of Poem in Your Pocket Day, we grown-ups had gotten to read some of our favorite poems out loud, dozens of times. More importantly, though, students had gotten to hear their teachers and principals and coaches—most of whom were not English teachers—speak some verse and talk about what poetry means to them. I loved one 11th grader’s excuse for being woefully late to lunch: she was asking the Spanish teacher about the finer points of translating a Neruda sonnet.

Speaking of sonnets, you might think that they’re the only way to go if you want to carry Shakespeare in your pocket today. Not true. Shakespeare’s plays are full of poetry, and here are just two of the many examples. Feel free to carry one of these in your pocket today!

Poem #1:

From Romeo and Juliet, 1.5

 

ROMEO, [taking Juliet’s hand]
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
JULIET
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
ROMEO
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
JULIET
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
ROMEO
O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do.
They pray: grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
JULIET
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
ROMEO
Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.
[He kisses her.]

 

Poem #2:

From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5.1

ROBIN

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearnèd luck
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
[He exits.]

 

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

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By Gillian Drutchas

***We’re thrilled to bring you another series of teacher-created videos from the Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2014. Last month, teachers shared ideas for a Romeo and Juliet unit. This time around, we invite you to watch—and read—their strategies for teaching Twelfth Night with digital technology. Up first: Michigan teacher Gillian Drutchas…***

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

For many of my students, beginning any new text is daunting, and Shakespeare’s works cause even more anxiety.  Not only is the language a challenge, but so are the names of many characters.  After all, how many Orsinos and Malvolios have you had in class?  This activity is designed to help students make sense of who the characters are and how they are related to one another.   Furthermore, not only does this activity help students delve into the play, but it also gives them a document that they can use as a reference as they continue their study of the play.

THE VIDEO

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to use this activity with Twelfth Night, my 9th graders made a similar infographic using the characters from Romeo and Juliet.  It not only helped them to sort the Montagues from the Capulets, but also made them think carefully about the position (both physically and metaphorically) of characters who did not easily fit into one family or another, such as Mercutio and Paris.

Because I am always a little leery of mandating students to use technology that can be time consuming and more trouble than it’s worth, I also gave them the option of creating their infographic on paper or using another digital program.  While some took me up on the offer, many chose to use easl.ly.

As I so often am, I was surprised by the insightful approaches many students brought to the assignment.  Here are a few:

  • Several students chose pictures of familiar celebrities and television characters whose personalities mimic traits of Shakespeare’s characters as their images. For example, Ryan Gosling was a popular choice for Romeo as my 15 year-old girls felt Gosling epitomized Romeo’s romantic, yet brooding nature.
  • Others created color coded boxes for each character, using various shades to depict how entrenched a particular character was with each family.  For example, while Benvolio may have been a bright red, someone like Mercutio may have been pink to show that although he hangs out with the Montagues, he’s not actually a Montague.
  • A few students chose to use another Web 2.0 tool, bubbl.us to create the text of their infographic. However, this tool did not allow them include pictures. So after organizing the characters on bubbl.us, the students printed their creation and added their own images.

A few of my AP English Language students did get to use this activity in a colleague’s Women in Literature course, and their feedback highlighted the importance of having students support their ideas with actual text from they play.  They found that identifying the key quotations to describe each character was particularly helpful.  One student reported that “although we read the play in class, finding the quotes made me look deeper into the characters and remember who was who.”

Feel free to send me any thoughts, suggestions or ideas you might have on Twitter (@missdrutchas).

 

Gillian Drutchas teaches English 9 and AP English at Marian High School, an all-girls, Catholic high school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  She received a B.A. in English and Psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan.  She is also a 2014 alumna of the Folger’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute.

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By Folger Education

Today we bring you an idea for a final project in a Romeo and Juliet unit. Watch how Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2014 alum and English teacher David Fulco blends performance, language study, and digital research in this student-centered assignment. We love how he uses web tools to promote exploratory, independent learning in his middle school classroom! 

Here’s David:

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

I am constantly trying to find ways to talk less in class and to have students do more. Ultimately, this should lead to more student independence and free up time for me to focus in small groups and in one-on-one conferencing. A webquest is the perfect tool to encourage this type of independence. Students are able to move at their own pace and have an answer to the inevitable question, “What do I do next?” (hint: continue to explore!). But webquests are also fun and provide a way for students to engage in the text in an interactive, exploratory fashion.

 

THE VIDEO

A Webquest as a Culminating Assignment:

 

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

While I did not teach Romeo and Juliet this year, I did use a Webquest to build content knowledge before teaching The Odyssey. My students have a basic idea of Greek Mythology, but I wanted to deliver content on the Iliad that didn’t require me to drone on and on in the front of the classroom. I built the Webquest and filled it with pictures, links and Easter Eggs (secret hidden links that the students could click on for extra information). We also asked the students to create their own “slides” to include in the Webquest based on items that I had not already included. Many focused on current events or current discoveries tied to Homer’s time allowing the work to continue to feel relevant.

While students were engaged in exploring and creating, my co-teacher and I were able to meet individually and in small groups with many of our students who needed extra help. I realized that some of the links that I chose were dense, so it was important that I had this time to work one-on-one with students who needed it. This is important to keep in mind. The links that are included need to be challenging for the highest student, but still accessible to every student in the class. Keeping ALL of your students in mind when creating a Webquest (or multiple Webquests for differentiation) is an important step to ensure that you will have success.

Feel free to send me your questions or ideas on Twitter (@FulcoTeaches).

 

Read Teaching Romeo and Juliet with Technology: Part Three

 

David Fulco is a 10th grade English teacher at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (MS/HS223) in the South Bronx. He also runs an after school Shakespeare club for seventh grade students who will be putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream later this spring. 

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By Folger Education

 

What does sound editing software have to do with Shakespeare? Let’s find out in the third installment of our teacher-created videos on teaching Romeo and Juliet.


Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2014 alum Matt Seymour shares a creative, accessible, and engaging approach to teaching iambic pentameter. See how Matt gets his students tinkering with a technology called Audacity—and with a metrical pattern that’s close to our hearts!


Over to Matt: 

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

Iambic pentameter never made sense to me in high school. I could tell you what it was, but I couldn’t recognize or hear it. This lesson is an effort to render the patterns of stress in speech visible, so students can make a connection to sound through sight.

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

This lesson was a good start for getting students to use an online audio program, and it helped communicate what can be a difficult concept for students to grasp. Students enjoyed this lesson because they got to play with a new program and they were able to hear themselves reading. This audio program can be great for teaching students to read more fluently and having them create podcasts. Students can also use this program for group projects where they add subtext and “act out” a scene with their voices and add sound effects.

Read Teaching Romeo and Juliet with Technology: Part Two

Matt Seymour teaches English composition and literature at Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins. He holds a Bachelor’s in philosophy and a Master’s in English. He has been teaching for 8 years.

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By Folger Education

 

Here’s another great teaching video on Act 1 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this time from Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2014 alum and English teacher Alli Gubanich.

 

Here’s Alli’s message for you as you watch her iMovie tutorial on using technology and movement to teach language and imagery:

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

 

This video provides a brief overview of a favorite classroom activity (tableaux vivants) and a favorite classroom tool (iMovie).  I use iMovie in many lessons and find it intuitive and user friendly.  If your students don’t have access to Apple products, Microsoft video production software would work, as would YouTube’s own video maker.  Tableaux vivants compel students to think deeply about the essence of a text, look for powerful imagery, and create meaningful “pictures” to demonstrate their understanding and take-away.

 

THE VIDEO: Tableaux Vivants with iMovie

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

 

Students have a lot of fun with this activity.  Sometimes I’ve found it helpful to run two separate tableaux vivant activities: first students create plot-driven tableaux, then they create “deep text” or theme-driven tableaux.  Differentiating the two is important, as students will often fall back on the former, missing out on the higher level thinking required of the latter.  I always start with a word study of the term “tableaux vivants” and do some quick practice with simple sentences.  I’ve also assigned single frame artwork as an extension to this activity, which has worked nicely.  Debriefing in discussion and/or in writing also enriches the lesson.

Feel free to let me know how this activity goes for you! I’m on Twitter: @alligub.

Read Teaching Romeo and Juliet with Technology: Part One

Alli Gubanich is an upper school English teacher at AIM Academy, a research-to-practice lab school in Conshohocken, PA that serves students with learning differences.  Her professional interests include technology infusion in the classroom and differentiated learning in the 21st century classroom.  Additionally, Alli is an accredited teacher trainer in the Socratic Seminar instructional method.

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By Folger Education

In July 2014, 25 teachers from all over the country gathered at the Folger for an intensive month-long study of Shakespeare sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities: the Teaching Shakespeare Institute. Working through the lenses of scholarship, performance, and pedagogy, participants completed three major projects: 1) a research paper using items in the Folger collection, 2) a collaborative performance presentation, and 3) two short video tutorials on technology-rich strategies for teaching Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night. This last one is directed especially at you, our teaching colleagues.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing participants’ videos with you. These clips demonstrate how to use a particular tech tool to teach a specific literacy skill or aspect of a text. First up: Romeo and Juliet. (If you teach Twelfth Night, stay tuned—those videos will be next!)

Today we’re diving into Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet, and we’re lucky to have English teacher Stefanie Jochman as our guide. She’s going to walk you through what to watch for in her videos—and how she’s adapted the strategy this year in class.

BEFORE YOU WATCH

This video lesson explains how teachers can use Mozilla Popcorn Maker, a web-based video-editing program, to explore Act I, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet, specifically the “Holy Palmer” sonnet. My Popcorn Maker video seeks to solve a problem teachers sometimes encounter when conducting multimedia studies: lag-time between loading video clips or showing images. Using Popcorn Maker, I knit film clips, ballet excerpts, and digital images from the Folger Library’s Luna database into one fluid video that also displays focus questions for each medium. Compilations like the one I create in this demonstration help students to analyze the representation of a key scene in a variety of artistic media (Common Core Reading Literature Standard 7) or analyze how artists like Sondheim or Zeffirelli draw on source material from Shakespeare (Common Core Reading Literature Standard 9).

THE VIDEO: Popcorn Maker Tutorial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MqkIzLQ3Yg&feature=youtu.be

THE BONUS VIDEO: The Finished Product, a Popcorn Version of the “Holy Palmer” Sonnet

https://msjochman.makes.org/popcorn/261o

AFTER YOU WATCH

The Romeo and Juliet multimedia study remains one of my favorite lessons in my Romeo and Juliet unit because students’ responses to the discussion questions are so impressive. Some of my students have never watched ballet before this lesson, but their knowledge of Romeo and Juliet the play, one seemingly-difficult medium, helps them to make sense of another. During this lesson, students recognize and hone the analytical skills they already employ whenever they go to the movies, watch TV, or glance at a piece of art on the street, in their houses, or in a gallery. When asking freshmen to compare representations of Act 1, Scene 5, I try to focus on the scene’s essential elements: the language of the “Holy Palmer” sonnet, Romeo’s feeling of “love-at-first-sight,” Juliet’s youth, and the tension between the Montagues and Capulets (personified by Tybalt). I think students surprise themselves with how quickly they notice details in costuming and performance that communicate those elements.

My Romeo and Juliet multimedia study inspired a similar exploration with my IB junior class of Shylock’s “To bait fish withal” speech from The Merchant of Venice. I challenged those older, advanced students to determine the scene’s “essential elements,” and I let their observations (rather than my own pop-up questions) guide discussions of the clips. Actors’ interpretations of Shylock’s speech vary so wildly that the end result of our study was a greater appreciation for the nuance of Shakespeare’s language. I also shared Popcorn Maker and other video tools with some of my senior IB students, and they used the program to demonstrate how the Byronic hero survives in superhero movies.

In the future, I hope to develop a compilation and analysis assignment that requires students to independently assemble and analyze multiple representations of a scene, poem, chapter, or character.

Feel free to send me your questions or ideas on Twitter (@MsJochman).

Stefanie Jochman teaches 9th grade and International Baccalaureate English classes at Notre Dame de la Baie Academy in Green Bay, WI. She received her BA in English and Secondary Education from St. Norbert College and her MA in English from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Stefanie is a proud alumna of the 2014 Teaching Shakespeare Institute. 

 

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