A Summer Shakespeare Club: Introduction

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I am always surprised when I hear young people saying they think Shakespeare is boring.  To me he was one of the wittiest people to walk this earth.  It is this sense of fun and his intelligent repartee which I hope to share with the children this summer.

We have all been impatiently waiting for summer Shakespeare club to begin.  It was due to be ten week unit study but I am finding five weeks to be a better time scale based on the children’s interest (and mine) on any one given subject.  This decrease in time means we have a lot to fit in.  Really a lot.  Too much.  But I’m thinking we might just manage it, and if not, we won’t have lost anything.

Lorna and her two children are joining us for whole days for the first week (to familiarise themselves fully with Midsummer) and then just for the project based learning in the afternoons for the rest of the term.  They will be participating fully in the end project and will put on Midsummer Night’s Dream with my children for their presentation.

Here are my plans:

Mornings:

A Play a Week

I have chosen four plays to study each morning (Midsummer Night’s Dream; Romeo and Juliet; Taming of the Shrew; and Much Ado about Nothing).  I chose these because they are my favourite four and it’s always handy if the teacher is enthusiastic, yes?  I adore Shakespeare and am almost bouncing off the walls with excitement!

Shakespeare should primarily be watched and performed rather than read and studied…….but, really, I don’t see why we can’t do both!  That said, we will be leaning heavily on the watching and performing side.

Each play has five Acts and we will focusing on one play per week, one Act per day.  I have a thousand ideas of what we might do with these plays from improvisation, literary and character studies as well as compare and contrasting interpretations of each play.  We will be reading the whole plays aloud, taking different parts, as well as watching a variety of interpretive media from ballet to modern takes on them.

I’m thinking we might be sick of Shakespeare by the end of the five weeks.  It will be intensive and I hope hugely fun with some very serious learning going on too.

However, these plays will only be the focus of our mornings.  I will plan these down to the very last minute.  Each play will be full on, non stop learning.  I have very different plans for the afternoons, which will be much more student driven and require far less input from me.

Afternoons:

Project Based Learning

My guys are really looking forward to this part of their Shakespeare study.  I have asked them to prepare Midsummer Night’s Dream for their presentation in September.  Although I will be on hand to help out when necessary, this play will be for the most part all their own work.  They will have to figure out everything, from interpretation to scenery, from programs to actors.  It will be all down to them.

The first week we will be focused entirely on Midsummer Night’s Dream, morning and afternoon, giving the children a chance to fully understand this play before working on their own projects to prepare for the presentation.  I will be sharing more about their project based learning very soon.

Posts Over the Summer

I plan to write a post each day outlining exactly what we have done that particular day so it can be easily replicated (should anyone want to).  If it all works out well, I will reuse these plans with my little ones when they are older.

I have decided not to write any other posts (such as Season of Joy) because I don’t think I will have the time.  Normal posting will probably return in about five or six weeks.

I hope you all enjoy reading about our Shakespeare adventures as much as I am sure we shall enjoy having them!

Weekly Wrap-Up

27 comments

  1. We are doing Shakespeare after Christmas and I have been waiting for you to begin posting about your summer. I can’t wait for more! 😀

  2. Wow Claire, I am so impressed with your energy and creativity! I’m looking forward to hearing what you do for this topic 🙂

      1. My kids have been begging to study Shakespeare. They want to study/watch Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet…mostly because they love David Tennant and Catherine Tate. I haven’t clue how to teach Shakespeare…

  3. Sounds like so much fun. I love Shakespeare too! A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my absolute favorite. I’m going to watch these posts closely because I always, always love your ideas. Perhaps this will be a good study for us next summer.

  4. I’m super excited to see how this plays out(no pun intended). My youngest son is interested in learning about Shakespeare’s plays. I have studied them briefly with my two oldest children, but feeling a bit nervous…Look forward to reading your posts.

    1. Lol! I’m doing incredibly detailed posts from next Monday onwards – literally down to the minute what we do. I hope that helps a little bit.

  5. Wow, Claire! That is an ambitious schedule. I am looking forward to seeing how it all goes. Sounds great. Midsummer is my favorite. We will be studying Taming of the Shrew this year. Have a great week ahead.:)

  6. I just found out there’s a Shakespeare in the park performance in our town at the end of the month – “The Taming of the Shrew” – your posts ought to come in handy as we scramble into some pre-play-viewing prep!

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