Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Shakespeare Through a new Lense

The next session I’m attending is Shakespeare through a new lense with James Lucas and Jessica North Macie from the National Cathedral School. You can view the presentation materials here. I’m excited to hear more about teaching Shakespeare using 21st century tools. I’m live blogging this session so please excuse typos and errors!

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Jessica tells us that the course is a combination of textual analysis in conjunction with film analysis. So why did they do this as a video project? Shakespeare works best “on its feet” and we need to learn about broader types of literacy. This project has been updated annually. This past year, they did it on iPads for the first time. It allows for one-stop shop for shooting and editing, features aide for shot composition, and with its long battery life, no worries about it dying on you with multiple classes. With  this project, they check out the iPads to students for the whole week. They also use tools like tripos and microphones so that students can produce sophisticated works.

As students learn and study film, they get to learn about what makes good filming techniques.

Unit Overview of Lesson Plan

Unit Overview of Lesson Plan

This is not only an analysis of the text, but they look at images, concepts, film, etc. They use a variety of media to study using Manga. Next, they use texts to support them delving into the texts. They explore how the text enhances images or even changes how we analyze an image. Visual consumption is an important element for exploring Shakespeare.

To study images, they go to online content and print images that speak to the students. For example, they will go and look at images that convey power to the students. This may involve art, music, and more. They also watch films that cover their topics and have students analyze gesture and movement that convey concepts and ideas. For example, look at the character Puck from a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students can see how they can personalize and open their own interpretations.

Simultaneous to the Shakespeare study is an analysis of film. We watch the beginning of Benny & Joon to explore how a film is introduced. The colors are saturated with color and that iconic song by the Proclaimers plays in the background.

When giving this assignment, you need to teach students the components of film making: camera framing & movement, script writing, storyboarding, and shooting & editing. They don’t want students to imitate the play, but deliberately create messages based on what they know about the story.

They introduce students to filmmaking with a scavenger hunt – they have to find a shot, such as high angle shot – enjoying the day, medium close-up – a Crank, Extreme Close Up – shocking surprise, etc. Students are allowed to wander the campus as they create these shots.

When students build their storyboard, they have to create a shooting plan. Students can create costumes and design their own performances. However, those are not graded components.

Students also have to write out a script. The instructions are both written and they providing an example. This demonstrates how students must format and present content. They also have a rubric for teh script, using traffic signs (go, slow down, detour, etc) so get students away from thinking about numbers and letters. I wish I could employ this in my classroom! Grades are often a distraction to learning.

In addition to shooting, students must edit. Jessica says that they learn that the magic happens in editing! Students learn about both video and sound editing.

Students also have to explain why they made the choices they did in creating their videos. I like that this takes away from the “flashiness” of the project.

Students also need to be respectful of how they treat the devices. Instead of calling them iPads, they refer to them as their “filming equipment.”

The final products are cross-curricular and address both traditional and modern media. Very cool!

Advertisements

Harnessing Socia Media to Teach the Classics

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 6.59.17 PMThis Valentine’s Day my innovative colleague, Monica Gonzlez, had her students give new life to the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliette. Using the popular service Instagram, 9th grade students reenacted the play in a creative and fun way, even toying with hashtags like #RIPRomeo and #anotherdeathinverona. I have never heard so much excitement in the hallway as I did on this project. If you want to read more about Monica’s project, see the article at the Star Telegram.

Today Marks the Ides of March

Mort de César by: Camuccini

Most of us are familiar, largely reading Shakespeare in high school, of the “Ides of March.” In the Roman Calendar, it marked March the 15th. It was made famous for the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE.

Caesar: The Ides of March have come!

Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.

— Shakespeare

The Roman Calendar was very similar to our own, divided into twelve months and then demarcated by the kalends (the first day of the month), the Nones (the 9th day of the month), and the Ides (the middle of the month falling on the 13th or the 15th); other days were marked by counting back from the stated demarcation (e.g. 3 days before the Ides of July). In Ancient Rome, the Ides of March were traditionally a day set aside to settle debts – a symbolic element highlighted by Caesar’s assassins. The Roman Calendar was fastidiously kept by the government and regularly required adjustment. Its accuracy (like most ancient calendars) was problematic and it regularly required adjustment. It was also often adjusted by various politicians (such as Julius Caesar – July, Augustus – August, etc).

To learn more about the significance of the Ides of March, see the article in National Geographic.