I recently came across a post about an app called Lulu. Now, mind you this is not an app for kids or Shakespeare for kids, yet, I’m thinking of this as much more for getting teenagers engaged with Shakespeare. While reading the article about Lulu and Shakespeare’s male characters, which I thought was pretty funny (mind you, it’s not much of an “article” as it is a list of statements about Shakespeare’s male characters) it got me thinking about being in high school again. (Actually, I hated high school and the simple thought of high school actually made me want to punch a wall, but, I will save that thought for my shrink…) So, knowing this thought, I figured that Lulu might be a great avenue to engage teens with Shakespeare. It’s got the perfect mix: Twitter, technology, smartphones, boys and girls, sex, and Shakespeare. Yes, I said Shakespeare (hell, if any of you know Shakespeare at all, it’s all about boys, girls, and sex… why teenagers don’t like him for these very reasons, I don’t quite understand…yet, I tangent again…). So, if we want to get these hormone crazed young adults hooked into something exciting, let them do a project with Lulu and Shakespeare…. which leads me to the article I came across.
The original article is here by Caitlin Kelly. You really need to read it yourself to get the full enjoyment out of it. (again, it’s not much of a “read” as it is a bunch of one liners, but the teens, well, they’ll get it). A description from the NY Times article about Lulu:
On Lulu, women can rate men in categories.… The hashtags are used to calculate a score generated by Lulu, ranging from 1 to 10.
Well, Caitlin goes on to show a few hashtags about some of Shakespeare’s more prominent males: Romeo, Hamlet, Macbeth, and a few more. Below is a list of hashtags and men. See if you can connect them to the correct male…
Now that was fun… but, onto the potential lesson plan…if you haven’t already thought of it yourself. Have your kids go on the Lulu app and start putting in the different Shakespeare male characters and see what they start getting back. It will enlighten them on what a diverse array of characters Shakespeare created in a language that they understand. (I mean, who says “craycray” anyway if your over 17 years of age, right?)
So, now let’s get to Twitter. I’m on twitter all the time, mainly to meet other people who teach Shakespeare and want to get kids more involved with him. So, one of the keywords I search for is “teach Shakespeare”, makes sense, right? By doing that, I see ALOT of teens tweeting about how Shakespeare has ruined their life, or wasted their time, or how Eminem should be taught instead of Shakespeare because that’s “someone I can actually understand and relate to”. And I’m leaving out all of the colorful f-bombs that these kids drop on the Bard for the sake that this is a family blog! But, the point is, the kids use this forum to vent about Shakespeare, so, let’s turn the tables and have the kids use twitter to brag about him…At this point, have them tweet a description of a male character to all their friends, classmates, teachers, whatever… (I’m also assuming, by this time in their life, they are well into using twitter anyway and are probably sitting in your class right now doing just that very thing!)
The point is, we have tied in teens, tweets, and education about Shakespeare’s male characters in one fell swoop… should be fun! I would love to hear if someone actually engages this idea in a class and how it goes. If you do, have them tweet me their messages: @Shakespeare4kid
Till the next time…