I am probably one of the very few teachers who isn’t completely thrilled about teaching Shakespeare. However, my sophomores did such a fabulous job at performing a scene, that I wanted to share their videos.
Their instructions were to perform their chosen scene from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. They could set their performance in any time period as long as they adapted the script to make sense. And they could choose to perform live or film their scene. If they chose to film their scene (which they all did), they had to make sure their sets, costumes, music, etc. were accurate for their time period or concept. The ones who got done early, I challenged to take into account different types of framing, lighting, and angles. Even if they didn’t take my challenge, the end results were great!
The unit started with students watching an on-stage performance of The Taming of the Shrew. I wanted them to see it as it should have been performed (as opposed to a movie version) prior to reading the text so that they would have a better understanding of the flow of the story.
After viewing it and discussing things like Commedia dell’Arte and the thematic ideas of the play (things like gender stereotypes in the proper historical context and independence), students read one act at a time using No Fear Shakespeare. While reading, students were given a SCOUT challenge* and asked to annotate (particularly when it came to the scene they were performing). After each act, we had a class discussion to go over key concepts and plot events.
* SCOUT challenge: For each of the SCOUT categories (Summary, Comparisons, Organization, Unusual, and Theme), students were given a specific focus question to answer using the act they had just read. This is an adaptation of the SCOUT sheet created by David Theriault. You can read more about it at his website, The Readiness is All.