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Archive for the ‘Shakespeare’ Category

By Michael LoMonico

The First Folio

The First Folio (Photo: Luna)

One week ago, we announced the selected cities for the Traveling Tour of First Folios, and it was immediately posted on Facebook. Within a few days, there were nearly 200 comments. We were amazed at the ecstatic reactions. Here are some of the best:

  • Finally, I’ll get to see one. It’s been on my bucket list for some time. Love Shakespeare. 
  • Man, I have to go 100+ miles to see it? So be it.
  • I’ll have to go to Providence RI to see it – it’s so close! What an experience & privilege! 
  • Let’s go together when it comes! 
  • Yay! I can’t wait to for it to come to CLE!! 
  • Road trip to Detroit! My old stomping grounds: Wayne State, Detroit Institute of Art and Detroit Public Library. Wonder when folio will be there?? 
  • It’s coming to little ol’ nowhere Vermillion, SD! 
  • When are we going? FIELD TRIP! 
  • Madison Wisconsin!!!! 
  • Close enough to home-Norman, OK 
  • This elicited a gasp from me that caused everyone in the room to look up! Go KC! 
  • Wonder of wonders, the Cleveland Public Library will get a visit. 
  • Woo hoo! San Diego! 
  • Yet another reason to relocate to Tucson by next year! 
  • It’s time to plan a 2016 road trip 
  • Kansas City yes!!! 
  • Cool, maybe I will go see it in Boulder! 
  • Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pa. Is very convenient from where I live. 
  • Know you are excited that it is coming to Raleigh! 
  • Yay! If I can make it out there, I’ll visit the Folio in Amherst! What a pleasure! I have a facsimile copy, but seeing the real thing is a dream. I hope it has an aroma. 
  • I heard 2016 in San Diego. Very exciting. 
  • The Parthenon will be the perfect venue in Nashville, with Athena’s gratitude. 
  • Wilmington is one of the cities scheduled. Yay. 
  • Conway AR!!! Yeah! 
  • So excited a First Folio will be coming to Emory’s Carlos Museum in Atlanta! 
  • Kansas City Public Library: Hooray!!! 
  • Thank you for bringing Shakespeare to Reno! So excited! 
  • Road trip to Kansas City, anybody? 
  • Yea!!!! Within two hours drive…TWICE!!!! 
  • It’s coming to Nashville! 
  • Why, yes, it will. Iowa City: UNESCO Creative City of Literature. 
  • OU gets another reason for visiting the campus!
  • South Bend. I can do that! 
  • You will be able to see this at the public library in San Diego and we get it in Seattle. Don’t know dates yet. 
  • Yippee! I wonder how many copies I will get to see. 
  • Glad this will be at the Art Museum here in Santa Fe. Also at the DIA in Detroit.

And then there were comments from the disappointed:

  • Really? Texas A&M?! Why not UT Austin or SMU?  Guess it’s time for a trip to Aggie Land! 
  • No! Our city will only get a can of Folger’s coffee. 
  • No Chicago? No St Louis? Libertyville, Il? 
  • Madison, WI; Why not Milwaukee, as well? 
  • I was hoping for Tampa Bay Area. 
  • Too bad upstate New York isn’t on their list
  • Man I wish it was coming to grand Rapids not Detroit 
  • Congrats, San Diego PL! San Francisco is already home to a First Folio, so we’re not as disappointed as we might be.

The dates for the stops on the Folio Tour have not yet been set, but we’ll let you know when they are. Meanwhile, Folger Education is preparing some excellent workshops and resources to accompany the Folios. We’re looking forward to coming to your state in 2016.

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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 Folger Education

The testimonials keep coming in, and they’re so much more compelling than anything we could say about the Secondary School Shakespeare Festival. Thank you, festival friends! And happy reading, teachers everywhere!

 

Students at the Secondary Student Festival (photo: Kate Ryan)

Students at the Secondary Student Festival (photo: Kate Ryan)

 

I am an 8th grader at Center City Public Charter School. My class performed the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. From our teachers we learned that Shakespeare was a poet and he wrote plays that were performed on stage in his theatre. We also learned vocabulary of Shakespeare to prepare us for our performance. I honestly enjoyed our performance at the Folger Theatre. Practicing our lines made us learn responsibility, which helped us succeed. When we remembered our lines we became proud and started to use emotion and come into character. I played Demetrius, a male character, and I am female. I wanted to play a male because it was more of a challenge than playing a woman. Also, I know that in Shakespeare’s time men had to play women because it was considered immoral for people to watch women perform. I had fun playing Shakespeare games in between plays and watching other schools perform. We were the youngest of the group, being in middle school. We saw how advanced and devoted to character the other schools were and felt proud for getting recognized for our first performance.

  • Ramani, student, Washington, DC

 

There is something so very powerful in words.  They have the power to build and in the wrong mouths, the power to destroy. In the glorious Folger Theatre, the words of Shakespeare took on life and power of their own.  In the mouths of over a hundred high school students the immortal lines of Shakespeare were fresh and new. The talented students from Catoctin High School and Sherwood High School breathed a fresh life into familiar characters such as Macbeth and Caliban.  Montgomery Blair High treated us all to a lovely interpretation of Pericles – not read by many adults, let alone 15-year-olds!  Queen Elizabeth School delighted us all by performing a lively retelling of Comedy of Errors – with actual twins!

The Mistress of the Revels and the team around her made everyone feel loved, welcomed, and well cared for.

But the most powerful words all day were the words the students shared with one another. Students shouted and cheered for peers. Students critiqued one another with generosity and grace. The power of kind words reigned. By the end of the day everyone had made a hundred new friends.  Emails were exchanged, selfies (groupies) were taken, and hugs were given freely and eagerly.  It was a magical day where words were celebrated and we all were blessed to have been there.

  • Karen Stitely, teacher and drama director, Thurmont, Maryland

 

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By Folger Education

 

Hey, everyone! Since you can’t be here for the Secondary School Shakespeare Festival, we thought we’d share some glimpses into all this magic. Here’s what our fabulous Festival-goers have to say about their time with Shakespeare’s language and one another.

 

“When I found out we were performing Shakespeare, I was not sure how I felt. As we rehearsed I started to really enjoy it.”  –Maddie, student

 

“This was my first time at the Folger Festival and my school did Julius Caesar. I really enjoyed working on the Folger stage and getting to see all of the other schools perform their pieces. I especially liked the feedback that we got from the judges. I also had a lot of fun participating in the activities in between pieces. I actually thought those were really helpful because they helped people relax before they had to go onstage. I was a little nervous beforehand, but the people at the Folger made me feel comfortable onstage. I also really liked the awards ceremony. I thought that all of the awards were really creative. Overall, I loved the festival, and I will definitely be coming back next year, whether as an ensemble member or as part of the audience.” – Lela, student

 

“Thank you for the day, and thank you for the opportunity to share our excitement! – Susan, teacher

 

“On the bus ride to the Folger I was nervous, but really excited.”  – Olivia, student

 

“It was an honor to perform one of Shakespeare’s plays. I felt proud of myself for standing up on stage in front of strangers and my family.”  –Sebastian, student

 

“My overall Shakespeare experience was incredible! “  –Hanna, student

 

“Going to the Folger and performing Julius Caesar was truly a special experience.” –Teny, student

 

“I learned there are ‘No small parts.’” –Matthew, student

 

“It was interesting to see how other kids interpreted Shakespeare’s language.”   –Sebastian, student

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the peer comments. Giving and receiving constructive criticism was rewarding.”  –Jorgen, student

“My favorite acting game was 30 second Hamlet.” –Caroline, student

 

“After our performance it was incredible to receive comments from such accomplished actresses.”  –Beyer, student

 

“My respect towards Shakespeare greatly increased while preparing our play.” –Alex, student

 

“It was exciting to perform on a professional stage and I hope I can do it again.” –Niya, student

 

Thanks again, students and teachers, for bringing your talents and energy to the Folger. We love learning with you!

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SSF 2015

Secondary Shakespeare Festival 2015 (Photo: Katie Dvorak)

Greetings from our 34th Secondary School Shakespeare Festival!

It’s day two, and we’re just loving everyone’s joy, courage, and passion for language. Festival-goers are making friends and memories all over the place.

And we at Folger Education are convinced that we’re the luckiest people on earth: we get to watch inspiring young people perform and transform all kinds of scenes—a bloodthirsty Romeo and Juliet, a cleverly cartoonish Comedy of Errors, an artistic Pericles, a haunting and timely Julius Caesar… What powerful reminders of the enduring relevance of Shakespeare.

We’ve got  five more days of bliss, and we’ll be checking back in with more next week.  For now, enjoy this poetic reflection from the Festival’s famous Mistress of the Revels, Cam Magee:

“I dream of the festival on festival days. I may dream tonight of a pink-haired Hamlet, wild-haired witches, a red-haired Macbeth, a brave boy who learned the role of Duncan in an evening, actors entering as one character and leaving as another,  a turquoise-robed Ariel, a singing Stephano, an awkward love scene, a storm at sea, a chorus of Gowers, pirates, sweet-faced Dromios, a tiny angry Adriana, a kaleidoscope of colors only found in England, and Liam who loves buttons. I hope I dream of everyone because every one of you ‘gave me life’ today.”

 

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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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