Last December, we led a Master Class on teaching Romeo and Juliet, streamed live from the public television studio we have tucked inside our building. Six hundred of you joined us, asked questions and made comments on the air, and lit up the chat box during the hour. A whole bunch of you were kind enough to participate in the survey that we sent you the following day. In the course of your feedback, several of you suggested that the Folger hold office hours on a regular basis . . . and on Twitter.
We loved the office hours idea! For the last few months, we’ve done that–but for sure we don’t have the hang of it yet. So we’re asking you to help us get this right. . . because that’s how we roll here. We don’t ever plan anything without input and advice from teachers.
First, a reality check: office hours for an hour or two on a monthly basis . . . overall a good idea? If it is, then I’m gonna keep on asking:
- What time of day, and which day, is best for you?
- Is Twitter the best medium? Our notion was to give quick answers and then follow up with more detailed info in a blog entry that’s posted the following week. Does that make sense to you?
- What would make you want to show up at office hours?
- Should office hours be on topics of your choosing, or should that be on us? “January’s office hours: Teaching Macbeth“
- Should we schedule topics way in advance?
- What other good ideas should we be having about this that we’re not?
Answer in the comments section and straighten us out. Thanks. Help.
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Last Thursday the Folger Education department took to Twitter for our second “office hours” session to talk with teachers about how they’re teaching Shakespeare.
We love having an informal time to interact with you, answer your questions, and find out what your students are working on.
Here’s a great question we received from James Evans:
The Winter’s Tale is a comedy with a happy ending, but there’s plenty of compelling drama along the way: murderous passions, man-eating bears, princes and princesses in disguise, and more.
Although this play may not be taught as frequently as Romeo and Juliet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream, don’t let that discourage you from taking it on. The Folger has a curriculum guide put together by experts who believe, as the Folger does, that the best way to engage students in Shakespeare is to get them speaking the words and working with the language.
You can find more classroom ideas on the Folger website, where we have an entire page dedicated to The Winter’s Tale. Take a listen to our Insider’s Guide for the play, or explore a lesson plan that asks students to examine possible causes for Leontes’s jealousy by interpreting language and acting out scenes between characters.
Or have your students watch a behind-the-scenes interview with these two actors from the Folger Theatre’s 2009 production, as they discuss the play’s themes of love, forgiveness, and second chances:
Do you have more ideas for effective classroom activities related to The Winter’s Tale? Share them in the comments below.
And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for information on the next #FolgerOfficeHours.
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What our office might look like if you came in for Folger office hours. Notice the bookcase!
After our master class in December on teaching Romeo and Juliet, we got so many great questions on the play and on how to make Shakespeare a success in the classroom.
We wanted the conversation to continue, and so we thought to ourselves, why not create a dedicated time each month for teachers to share their questions on a particular topic related to teaching Shakespeare?
One of the teachers we surveyed after the master class suggested an “office hours” of sorts.
And thus, we present Folger Office Hours. This Thursday (tomorrow!) we invite you to join us on Twitter for an informal Q&A from 2-3pm EST.
Here’s how it works:
1. You tweet your questions on the Folger Office Hours theme, which for this inaugural session is Romeo and Juliet.
2. We here at Folger Education (@FolgerED) will tweet back, answering questions as best we can in the moment. (Other teachers, feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and ideas!)
3. If any questions require more reflection or an extended response, we’ll save the answers for a blog post that we’ll publish the following Tuesday, right here on Making A Scene.
One last thing:
Be sure to use #folgerofficehours in your tweets to keep the conversation together.
We’re looking forward to chatting with you on Twitter tomorrow!
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