“SHATNER!” Drama Improv Game

Shatner over reacting

Ok, this is a REALLY FUN improv drama game that your kids will LOVE! It’s called, SHATNER! (At least the adults of the kids will surely¬†love it!) ūüôā (I did not think of this game, and due credit goes to where I heard of it from; the Facebook group, Homeschool Snark.)

We all know Captain Kirk from the old Star Trek movies.¬† And many of us theatre geeks have done his voice and pretended to be him at one time or another.¬† Well, this game will allow us to relive those fun moments, AND carry on the tradition of the old Star Trek shows as well as our favorite actor from the series, William Shatner. We all remember his overly dramatic voice, it’s what made him uniquely¬†famous.

Well, the game is called, SHATNER! And it’s pretty simple to play:

Shatner shockedThe kids are just doing their normal day-to-day things in drama class and then someone yells, “SHATNER!” and the kids have to melodramatically overact whatever they are currently doing.¬† HILARIOUS!

Let us hear what you think!

“SHATNER!” Drama Improv Game was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Create a Performance Playbill

This is a short post about an activity you can do with your kids as you get ready for the show.  As many of us directors know, there are an endless number of things you can do to prepare for the performance.  IN NO WAY, am I suggesting that you need to do a lot of things to have a successful performance.  ( I typically do very few and the kids still have a blast!) However, in many cases, there are extra things that you and/or your kids will want to do. 

One of those fun and creative things is to create a brochure for the show.¬† Some people call this a playbill. And one such homeschool mom created a wonderful playbill for her parents during their performance of our version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Kids. As you can see from the photo, they did a wonderful job!

This is a great homework or extracurricular activity for the kids.¬† Someone can figure out how to lay this out on the computer, other’s get to draw for cover and back cover, and others get to print and assemble them together. It’s another hands-on learning experience.

Well, if you do this for your next play, please, let us know and send some photos!

Create a Performance Playbill was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Creative Performance Ideas

This is a quick post about a couple ideas that are awesome, and all credit goes to an amazing homeschool mom, Amy.

Recently Amy directed her small homeschool co-op in one of our plays, The Tempest for Kids. In doing so, she decided to perform it in their backyard, inspired by our own Backyard Shakespeare. That being said, she quickly renamed it, BackBARD Shakespeare… clever!¬† But, her ideas did not stop there, no.¬† Her kids and she came up with a couple other brilliant ideas that I think many of you directors of creative drama students could use.

First, the kids did a commercial halfway through the show. How awesome is that?¬† Part of their homework was to create a “Shakespearean” commercial, and plan, write, block, and direct it.¬† Brilliant for kids who either have smaller roles or need a bit more to keep them occupied and challenged.

Second. Create an epilogue. Now, some of Shakespeare’s plays already have an epilogue, but many do not. With The Tempest, there was none and the kids were very curious about what was going to happen when (spoiler alert) the gang got off the island and Miranda and Ferdinand got married!¬† So, again, the kids wrote and directed their own piece and it turns out that they had a baby! (cut to one of the small homeschool siblings¬†now coming on stage as their “son”)

Too cute and a classic great use of education!¬† Bravo! Well done Amy!¬† I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next show!

Creative Performance Ideas was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Memes and Shakespeare – Class Project

First of all, this was not my idea! But, it’s a brilliant way to engage your kids with Shakespeare, especially high schoolers! All credit goes to Larry Reiff (@Mrreiff) – as he says, “All the world’s an e-stage”! Love it!

Now, onto the great idea… Shakespeare analyzed¬†via memes.¬† I know this is not traditional, but hey, we are about engaging our kids with the wonderful language and stories of Shakespeare any way possible, and this is PERFECT!

So simply, he has the kids analyze¬†a scene and then find photos and memes that go with specific phrases.¬† See examples below. Larry’s class uses: imgflip to generate his memes and photos… Other teachers use Canva to create cards around phrases – with images – both are engaging and fun ideas.

Have fun with these, and be sure to share more ideas so we all can have kids that are better Bard lovers!

shakespeare memeshakespeare meme

 

Memes and Shakespeare – Class Project was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Environment is King for Drama

I was talking with a mom earlier this morning, and she said something very interesting. She said that her daughter loves my drama classes, and talks about me frequently when it comes to drama. Although I’m glad I inspire the kids, it’s not the point of this story. What is interesting is she followed up…

Environment is King for Drama was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Character Line Quantities for Playing With Play Books

Over the years, I have taught EVERY single one of our plays, most of them multiple times, and some of them at least 20 times….¬†(Hamlet, Midsummer, R&J, Caesar, Macbeth…). But, one of the best tools for me to use is the Character Line Quantities spreadsheet to help me with casting.

A teacher asked me recently, “why don’t you share that?” Which I gladly did. But it hit me, why don’t I share this with EVERYONE?

There’s nothing like casting a play. Trying to figure out dynamics of who can synergize with who; what characters will pull the most out of which kids; more seasoned kids get more lines; a kid’s last show of their school career – do they get the lead? Did I give too many lines to a novice actor?

That last question sometimes worries me… as some parts may seem small (Friar Lawrence in R&J) Yet are one of the bigger parts. (2nd most lines in that play) And, in many of our plays, many actors get 2 or even 3 parts to play. (Did I give too many lines with multiple parts?)

So, a while back, I created and Character Line Quantities sheet that helps me cast my shows. Well, the main reason I never shared it is that it’s just a simple spreadsheet and not fancy, and NOT completely filled out. Well, that’s not a good reason. So, see the link here to have access to it. And if you have any questions, let me know!

Each play has its own tab on the bottom. If you don’t see a play, scroll to the left and right.

Enjoy!

Download the Character Line Quantities sheet

 

Character Line Quantities for Playing With Play Books was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Shakespeare in Mime

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!

Let me know how it goes!

Shakespeare in Mime was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Analyzing Shakespeare via Online NY Times Photos

This is a great article about a teacher using a very ingenious way to get her kids to learn how to analyze and read into something¬†using context clues, even when they don’t know what they are looking at. ¬†It’s a very clever and creative way to approach this skill set for use when analyzing Shakespeare’s…

Analyzing Shakespeare via Online NY Times Photos was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Backyard Shakespeare – A Homeschool Experience

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!

 

Backyard Shakespeare – A Homeschool Experience was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Family Reunion Readers Theater

Readers Theater is always a fun time, and even more so with my¬†melodramatic stories¬†which are short and funny. But, they are even funnier with a family reunion. As we all know who the hams are in our families, don’t we?

This past holiday season, when our family came together for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, we did a readers theater three different times (it’s officially a family tradition now!) ¬†What a BLAST! My son made sure he was the director, and he gave out 3-4 books that we all shared. Then he made impromptu costumes that we all put on and read our parts (or multiple parts in some cases). I never thought about using my books for a large team building get-together. However,¬†doing readers theater at a family reunion is fantastic for building new and cherished memories.family reunion

What a wonderful way to hang out and make great new memories with the family!  We performed Jungle Book for Kids two different times at Thanksgiving, and then did Treasure Island for Kids at Christmas (one would think we would do A Christmas Carol for Kids, but nooooo). This was great for all our ages, from 6 to 96!

Next year we have already planned to do Macbeth (the nieces want to be witches!) and Julius Caesar (can’t wait to kill of Uncle Louie!) What fun to do a family readers theater during our family reunion.

Another rendition a friend of mine is doing at their family reunion, since they have over 50 family members, is a family competition. They are going to break them up into random teams, and then all perform.  Best performance gets to eat first! When m
y plays are only 15 minutes, it’ goes by quick and with much laughter!

I hope you enjoy the same!

Family Reunion Readers Theater was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books