Methinks the kids will struggle to see / That this story pulled from history / Still has themes that ring so true / In present day for all of them too.
A poet I’m not but the bard is the best—there’ll be love, there’ll be death, and scatological jest.
A new identity I’d like them to embrace / While reading together we shall set a fair pace. Each lesson we’ll post on a theme set by me / And use our new words like thine, thy and thee.
While attempting this verse has been all sorts of fun, if I don’t cut it out this blog will never get done!
Wherefore this text? Selfishly, I love it. Also, it is old, and classic, and any modernization breathes new life into it. It lends itself to a technological update because there was no technology, as our students would describe it, at all. It’s like Grandma getting a Blackberry. Even though it’s still old, still dated, it shows progress. Does that make sense?
How unlikely would this story be in 2016? Practically impossible! These days we can Twitter, FB message, Gchat, WhatsApp, Viber, Voxer, FaceTime, Skype, iMessage, and on most of these we will know when the recipient reads the messages we send. A missed memo? These days? Only if your phone was dead and you were stranded somewhere with neither electricity or wi-fi access.
Here’s a look at my work in progress—
I haven’t worked it out yet, but I’d like to do something with Twitter here as well. Maybe not the actual Twitter, but a different forum in Google that models a Twitter format. I want as much digital interaction as possible.
The Edmodo project invites students to assume an identity and respond in character. It’s a twist on method acting for readers. Ideally, they will be able to jump into their characters for a bit, and walk around in their Elizabethan shoes. (But let’s still maintain our proper bathing and dental practices, shall we?) I would like students to interact with one another, online, and in character. Since my classes are large, I will likely divide my two classes into four groups. We will play with our exchanges—I’d like to find a way to make my two classes interact more.
It’s not a concern, but the RAFT exercise is something that needs an update. I may turn it into a blog that I create for a Shakespearean Gazette sort of thing, and have students create letters to the editor, or other components of an online newspaper. My students don’t have enough opportunities to publish formally. I would like to use this unit plan as a way to change this—it is important, gives students additional pride in their work, and increases their level of accountability. Shifts in pedagogy? The pause that this question gives indicates that maybe there are not enough. Perhaps the online forum of this unit will boost students confidence and connectedness. It’s student-centered. I’d like to breathe a bit more collaboration into it. As this project develops, I will focus on that as a goal.
For Shakespeare, students need to be open-minded. They need to trust me. This is why we don’t start the year with Shakespeare. They need to have buy-in to the class already. They need to have confidence in themselves in learners, in me as their guide, and in the integrity of the text because of my keen marketability skills. Part of education, as we all know, is in the advertising. Giving students a play written in a language that they don’t yet speak? That’s bold. But they’ll love it. They always do. And for me? I’m so lucky. The kids in Grade 9 this year are awesome. Awesome. Such good kids. They work hard. And I can’t wait to see where this unit will take us.
Happy Holidays, all.