Class theatre- an adaptation of Midsummer night’s dream

mosaic skets sheak 3Shakespeare is for everybody—and that includes elementary school students! Many performance-based teaching strategies work very successfully with younger students.

Since my university years,  “Midsummer night’s dream”  has been one of my most favourite   Shakespeare’s stories!

With my own experience of getting to know Shakespeare as a young woman, I was grabbed by the stories first of all. Then you grow up and become engaged by the language. But it’s more than just good stories and nice language. It’s about ethics and morality.

I therefore, wanted my students to get to know and like  Shakespeare , too! To be able to understand the difference between appearance and reality!…

Luckily, our school 6th grade english  book, offers an adaptation of my most favourite story…. !mosaic skets sheakspeare

You probably already know a few things about the play:

Lysander and Hermia are in love but they flee Athens because Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius.mosaic skets sheak 8

Helena is in love with Demetrius so tells him of the flight to win favour. Both follow the lovers into the forest where Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies, are feuding.mosaic skets sheak 16

Oberon orders Puck to use a love potion on Demetrius so that he will fall in love with Helena but Puck mistakenly anoints Lysander’s and Demetrius’ eyes and both fall in love with Helena. Meanwhile, in another part of the wood, craftsmen are rehearsing a play and Puck fixes an ass’s head on one named Bottom with whom Titania, under the influence of the potion, falls in love.mosaic skets sheak 15

After much confusion harmony is restored, and the play is performed at the multiple wedding of the Duke and the four young lovers.mosaic skets sheak 6

Lesson plans and  several teaching ideas can be found  here : http://www.webenglishteacher.com/midsummer.html 

or here: http://thehipp.org/uploads/files/education/A%20Midsummer%20Night’s%20Dream_Hippodrome_Elementary.pdf

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I personally, use only the book text, and my students’ imagination and improvisation skills! I want them to have real fun, performing! I have noticed that, even shy students, open up on stage and are willing to learn and join the fun!mosaic skets sheak 9 A typical example is Armelido, whose parents are immigrants from Albania. He  could hardly communicate in english at the beginning of the school year but,  was finally  able to learn all Demetrius’ lines by heart and perform with huge success!mosaic skets sheak 13

When “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is first introduced, I  give students a short introduction about the play. After researching Shakespeare’s life from several resources, I show them a poster I have in class with the major events of his life.

We brainstorm pairs of characters (e.g.  Demetrius-Hermia).

We think about props or   costumes for different characters.mosaic skets sheak 12

Then, we listen to the story adaptation and I divide them in groups. I ask them to decide about the roles they prefer.I assign parts …mosaic skets sheak 7

Later, they have to  work together as a group and decide about the details. They have a week to do so before they perform in class…collaboration is the key word here!mosaic skets sheak 11

In class, we have a competition for the best group performance of each  adapted part! My students get really excited with that! It’s  a really fun experience for all!

If you want, you can have your students perform the adapted play for the whole school , in the end-of-the-year school show! I am thinking about doing so this year…

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By exploring the text through voice and movement activities, I believe my students will become more aware of themselves as whole people.  By placing theatre at the center of education, and by creating a “schoolhome” atmosphere, students will have the opportunity to make the connection between mind and body.mosaic skets sheak 5 They will be allowed to use all that they are–mind, body, emotion–to learn and grow. And that is what school is all about–educating the whole person.mosaic skets sheak 4

 

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