You can find out the benefits of using these classroom ideas in Key Stages 3 or 4 to build on pupils' experiences of Shakespeare. This includes using rehearsal for exploration and enjoyment, developing transferable skills and creating an environment for learning.
Build on experiences
Build on pupils' experiences from Years 7 and 8 or earlier and develop their skills in responding to and analysing challenging texts and ideas. Use these ideas in an existing or new scheme of work for Year 9 which:
- explores play texts
- develops reading and writing skills
- engages with speaking and listening contexts and strategies.
You can also use these resources in GCSE controlled assessments or other assessment tasks. Refer to the later units for extended, project-style assignments.
Use rehearsal for exploration and enjoyment
You can use class rehearsal to explore the text by highlighting key ideas about character and motivation, themes and action. By actively engaging with the text in rehearsal, you and your pupils can ‘test the words’, as Neil Bartlett of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) puts it. Try out interpretations, question the obvious and creatively apply what has been discussed or explored previously.
Address English objectives and assessment focuses
By addressing key elements and substrands of the Framework for English, you can create opportunities for shorter and more extended tasks which generate evidence in speaking and listening, reading and writing. The relevant assessment focuses are identified in each unit and any outcomes could contribute to Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP). If you decide to use these materials at Key Stage 4, you can replace the assessment focuses with the assessment objectives for GCSE.
Develop transferable skills
The skills demonstrated, developed and applied are generic. They can be transferred to other plays by Shakespeare and other dramatists, with pupils learning how to test their own ideas against a writer's own concerns and language.
Create an environment for learning
You could have a ‘living display’ on the classroom wall where pupils can add representations of Romeo and Juliet. They can comment, revise and review as you continue to explore the play. You could create an area for Verona designs (see Unit 10, lessons 15 and 16) in which pupils can add ideas, drawings, designs and images. You could display key vocabulary, powerful language and viewpoints for pupils to use when writing and discussing the play.
Develop and support writing
The lesson plans and ideas focus primarily on active approaches to learning, encouraging discussion and other speaking and listening work. You will also find advice on developing extended essay analyses or arguments. When writing is a key outcome, model the types of writing proposed. Provide opportunities for pupils to build and develop the ideas and interpretations they articulate in speech.
The rehearsal shown on the accompanying clips was in preparation for the RSC's production of Romeo and Juliet in 2008, with David Dawson playing Romeo and Laura Rees as Juliet. Laura Rees had to withdraw before the final production and was replaced by Anneika Rose.