Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh, Spring...

While Spring does mean Spring Break, for English teachers at my school, it also means term paper time ::insert evil music here::. Yes, I have been busy prepping, grading and handing back term papers lately, and I'm only halfway finished.

...on a happier note, I'm five days away from Spring Break...and in honor of this, I've decided to do a sort of Spring Break advent blog...so, that means five days of blogging. I will stick to this.

Five Days:

There are five scenes in Act III of Romeo & Juliet, which my freshmen had to not only "translate" R&J into their English, but they also had to act out each of the five scenes.

I've heard nothing but complaints about the language in R&J since we started reading it. They act as if it's foreign (which I suppose it sort of is, as they didn't take an entire class devoted to Shakespeare and reading his language while in college). They've been working very hard to get through the previous acts, so I decided to give them a break: Each student only had to understand one scene, and they had group members to help them.

At first they laughed at my idea and told me it was "stupid," and I had several students tell me they were not going to act it out. But within five minutes of putting them in groups, I heard things like, "And he's mad here, so you have to look angry," and, "Miss Anonymous, can we bring in props, to--you know--make it more real?"

If anyone has ever had to listen to freshmen--or students in general--read Shakespeare, you'll know it sometimes makes you want to bang your head on a wall until you pass out. And the students feel the same way. But this was entertaining for both them and for me.

Here's to five days until Spring Break!!

6 comments:

Amy said...

Oooh, good idea to have them do it that way! I haven't had the opportunity to teach Shakespeare as a student teach, but I've been busily collecting ideas in case I ever need to use them. Yours will be one. :-)

happychyck said...

It's been a few years since I taught R & J, but I had my students act out parts of it as well. In the beginning they were always reluctant, but once they got the hang of it they discovered it was more enjoyable than listening. The year that I taught them to do a little dance and we made masks didn't work out so well, though...

I do know what you mean about listening to freshman read it. After years of doing R & J, I could barely stand to do this play about these stupid teenagers and the stupid adults in their lives. My poor students in the later years probably had a very jaded perspective of the play that I could not help but let slip out!

the anonymous teacher said...

Amy, It worked out really well. I'd recommend it.

Happychyck, I tried to be unbiased when it came to R&J, but I feel the same way. And my kids expressed the same opinions (without hearing mine).

CrypticLife said...

Just make sure they don't bring in bladed weapons or poison as props.

I always liked the Tempest in high school better than R&J. Felt a lot more like reading a sitcom.

the anonymous teacher said...

Cryptic, I love The Tempest. It's one of my favorites...and much easier to teach. But, alas, R&J is the Shakespeare of the freshmen curriculum.

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