Tuesday, March 1, 2016

First Folio Workshop

San Diego is getting a GREAT delivery this June. In honor of Shakespeare's 400th birthday the San Diego Library (in conjunction with the San Diego Old Globe Theater) will be showing off Shakespeare's First Folio from June 4th to July 7th.

The volume will be on view in the Art Gallery at the San Diego Central Library! Most of the San Diego public programs for adults and families will be available then. However, to accommodate the fact that many schools will be finishing up in June, they are putting together some teacher professional development now!

There are more events going on, so if you are an English, Drama, History or really ANY teacher who delves in Shakespeare in the greater San Diego area I would strongly encourage you to look into this.
What would you do? 
First off this is HANDS ON. So be prepared to participate. Bring paper and such to take notes if you like, but you'll leave with quite a few activities AND you'll have actually tried these activities.

Many activities are from Shakespeare Set Free:books.
(This is an affiliate link; if purchased I get a small percentage)
Who is it for?
I am a high school English teacher. I teach students who are weaker in English. I am often labeled the ESL teacher, but this isn't quite true. While my students do receive more grammar and vocabulary than other English classes, we are still a literature class.

I walked away with quite a few resources and different ways to implement ideas in my classroom this week! If you teach drama or any of Shakespeare;s plays I am sure you'll be able to take away something useful.

OK... but like really. What did you do?

SO MUCH! I'll give you my top three.
1. Learn about the first folio. For example, did you ever have a teacher tell you that punctuation in Shakespeare is SO important. Well this will delve into the history including the fact that we don't actually know how Shakespeare wanted to punctuate his plays (say what??). You'll briefly be introduced to the folio and quartos (the bootlegged versions).  You'll also learn what plays we would have lost if we didn't have the First Folio.

2. As teacher with many struggling readers, I know that one of the best ways to help them comprehend a text is to have them read it...again...and again...and least three times. But who has time for that? This went over some easy ways to get students to read 
  • Choral- Everyone read at the same time. It's not just for repetition anymore! As a trained English Language Teacher, this is something I was encouraged to use a lot for new words, or small phrases. The advantage being everyone gets to "feel the words in their mouth" without feeling like everyone is listening to them. It also means they can hear their peers. The cons of course are that some students don't actually read, and (with longer texts) there's a fear of it sounding like the Hogwarts song (with everyone singing to their own tune and thus sending at different times). Despite my fear, it normally goes better than I would have anticipated
  • Whose line is it anyways? Have students take turns reading until the end of the line. Those who have studied Shakespeare more than I have know that the last word of each line tends to have special importance. Without emphasizing this to students have them draw their own conclusions by reading around with each student reading to the end of the tine. I will say one con to this is very nervous students may spend so much time figuring out which line is theirs and practicing in their head that they do not listen to anyone else.
  • And Breathe Read until an ending punctuation mark (! . ?) Some of his lines end mid thought and it may be difficult for students to stop. Instead read until the end of a thought and then have the next student pick up.
  • Spy Vs Spy Do one of the previous, but divide the class into groups. So half the class read the first line, the second half the second line, first half the third line. This is especially powerful for soliloquies as students may be able to see the internal argument clearer.
  • Small Groups Again, pick any of the above but have them read in small groups. This makes them a bit more accountable, and more easily lets them go straight to in group analysis.
3. Slash! 
We edited our own Shakespeare! After looking at the differences between different versions we were given the power of the red pen and in groups got together to cut down a scene. A really great activity that made us focus on what we wanted to keep and why. I know my group in particular had a discussion that included me saying "This is like the Han Shot First debacle. If we cut the line it changes motivation" While no one in my group proved to be as much of a Star Wars geek as I am... they decided if I was that passionate the line should stay. This activity was great for ANY text, and I'll be adapting it for The Great Gatsby this week!

Finally, we were given TONS of resources and handouts etc. I haven' had a chance to go through all of the links, but I am in love with
The Free Teaching Modules from Folger


There are still have a few openings for an upcoming 2-Hour Teacher workshop this Saturday, March 5th, at the San Diego Public Library from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

If you can't make that, or if it fills too quickly, check out the other great events at the First Folio San Diego website.
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