Teaching Shakespeare

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by newengltchr, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2015

    Hello,

    I currently teach 9th and 10th grade English at a vocational school. Within the next month or so, I will begin teaching Romeo and Juliet to my 9th graders and Macbeth to my 10th graders. I was only exposed to one Shakespeare play in high school, and my teacher made it one of the worst experiences possible. In college, however, I had the opportunity to visit The Globe in London and attend a few live productions.

    Even as a teacher I struggle with the allusions and various aspects of the language when I read it right from the text, but everything makes sense when I see a production. As many say, plays are meant to be watched, not read.

    I've been reading unit plans from various high schools, and it seems as though everyone has their own approach. Some teachers read the entire text, some read sections, some read sections and show the film version, and some show primarily the film with very little text.

    As a first-year teacher, preparing to teach Shakespeare is definitely a daunting task, especially since I am a visual learner and do not have much experience reading directly from the text.

    What are your strategies? Were you nervous the first time around? Any recommended resources?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Mar 29, 2015

    Sparknotes.com has some great parallel readings. You can read the text along side a modern translation

    It's not ideal but it will help with language
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Mar 29, 2015

    No Fear Shakespeare is great. I also show a lot of the film version as I'm firmly in the camp of meant to be seen not read. I never assign the reading as homework.
     
  5. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Mar 29, 2015

    Check out Shakespeare Set Free from the Folger Shakespeare Library for terrific, performance-based lessons. Their website is great, too.

    I usually show a scene, and then we read it as a class. That way the students have a mental picture of the movement, attitudes, relationships, etc, and I can explain the language as we go.
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Mar 29, 2015

    I'm also a huge fan of Shakespeare Set Free... the lessons are really engaging, even for students who generally struggle with Shakespeare.

    What standards are you addresssing with Romeo and Juliet?
     
  7. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    Mar 29, 2015

    The key thing with Shakespeare is to make it fun, interesting, and not daunting. Students go into it with a negative mind, and that keeps them from enjoying the experience. Every class is different, but I never assign reading to be done alone or at home. We read together, in class, and I focus on the plot and characters. Movies are a great help, as well!
     
  8. cymru3

    cymru3 Rookie

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    Apr 7, 2015

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