A theater group in India has put together a performance of The Tempest, done completely in mime. Designed specifically for grade school kids, in the fear that Shakespeare is leaving schools, this performance relies entirely on actions. No words, which makes the story telling that much more challenging. Read more about this impressive performance here in the New Indian Express.
As a classroom exercise, have your kids mime a short part of one of Shakespeare’s plays. You really need to be expressive and understand the language in order to deliver a mimed performance effectively. This will be great fun!
Backyard Shakespeare. What is that, you may ask. Well, it’s a very ingenious and creative way to engage homeschooled kids with Shakespeare, education, language arts, drama, and most importantly, fun!
I recently had the privilege to teach a group of 7 kids Playing With Plays The Tempest for Kids and we had a BLAST! Best part, we did it in the backyard of a house of one of the homeschooling families. Their deck was a natural stage. So, a few costumes, a few scripts, a few rehearsals, and BAM! We’ve got a fun, melodramatic Shakespeare play performing in the backyard!
I’ve seen this done in the past with many of my plays, but this was the first time I got to do it. The best part, you can do a performance ANYWHERE! The parents bring a blanket or lawn chairs, and you have an instant theater!
Ok, let’s start with, I didn’t make this… but, it’s pretty darn cool! (credit to Mya Gosling) Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo. My first thought was, it’s going to be a pretty long game. But, my second thought was to actually make this into a game. Have all the different scenes that relate to the squares put in the “Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo” bag. Pull out the scene and play, review it slightly for a quick learning lesson, and have the kids mark their cards!
If I was a highschool teacher, I would use the Shakespearean Tragedy Bingo as a tool to show kids how there is so much cool stuff to Shakespeare’s plays. How life today, in some parts, is no different than 400 years ago.
When trying to engage kids with Shakespeare, I find the tragedies are the most engaging! Have fun with this one teachers!
Classroom Insult-a-thon (Don’t forget, April 23rd is National Insult Like Shakespeare Day!) It’s simple and fun and works like this: Everyone writes up 3-4 different insults using the Shakespeare Insult Generator They spend about 5-10 minutes practicing their insults, working on generating the appropriate delivery with angst! Split the class into 2 groups that line…
Have some kids in class that are musically inclined? Give them a great challenge, have them create a Shakespeare song. Perhaps this is to one of their favorite characters (ohh, what would a Puck song sound like… I’m thinking Nirvana…) or their favorite play (I can hear a nice Halloween melody running for Titus…) or anything associated with The Bard at all.
I was inspired for this by watching the following YouTube vid on a song created and inspired by Richard II:
Pretty cool, huh? Thanks to the @BookshopBand for bringing this to my attention.
I worked with a teacher once that did a bunch of music for Midsummer for Kids, you can read about that here.
Remember, the point is to get kids engaged with Shakespeare, any way possible. What a great Shakespeare challenge. When you have a musical performance ready, please send it my way so I can enjoy and share with others!!!
Here’s a great idea from @DetroitSamWhite, whom I met in the twitterverse. A great way to introduce kids to Shakespeare and realize the impact that The Bard’s language had on the rest of the world is to play a little game with your kids called, Shake Phrase. As many of you know, all of my books are sprinkled with common Shakespeare phrases that kids will hear throughout life. Well, with Shake Phrase, you write down dozens of these common phrases and words and put them in a box. BUT, the 2nd part is to put another dozen or so of other common phrases, not done by Shakespeare in the same box. Now, Shake Phrase: shake the box and pull a phrase, the kids have to guess if they are from Will or not. As @DetroitSamWhite says, “blows their minds :-)”
Do a few phrases each day and they will quickly “start learning that many of the phrases they hear and use are Shakespeare quotes.”
It’s almost like Catch Phrase for Shakespeare!
Drop me a line and let me know if you have a great classroom activity for engaging kids with the Bard. I always like to share great ideas like Shake Phrase.
Okay, I will be the first to tell you that I am a big Disneyland fan. Now, to hear that there is an opportunity for doing some theater, dare I say SHAKESPEARE, and that’ll get me in the gate at Disneyland on the cheap, I am all about that! This a great article about a school that is trying to do just that.
I really want to root them on, because anytime you can get Shakespeare and Disneyland tied into one joint effort, that makes it all the more worthwhile.