Learning Objectives:  This lesson aims to progress student’s understanding of the plot to an embodied level of interpreted and communicated knowledge. The learning exercises use collaborative processes to foster peer assisted efficacy and encourage creativity and multiple learning styles within a milieu of gameplay and fun. Students will further their understanding of the sequential actions of the plot; of the involvement and structural placement of characters within that narrative and of possible alternative interpretations of key choices and actions throughout. Students will also generate their own personalised connections to abstract notions of theme across a variety of contemporary and familiar contexts.

Resources required:

  1. Internet streaming access or a downloaded copy of Once in Verona or any other video recording of the play in performance.

  2. A classroom space of minimum 3 metres x 3 metres cleared of chairs and desks.

Lesson Process:  

  1. Please take the time to watch the Lesson Plan 2 Learning Resource video on this page.

  2. Have students watch one or two scenes from the video performance material that you have available.

  3. Clear some working space for free movement.

  4. Break the students into groups of between 5 – 7 people.

  5. Trial a few Picture Postcard renditions to familiarise students with the game. Example PP’s could be: Holidays. The Dentist. Assignment due. Birthday party. Burglary. Once people free themselves from the need to be entertaining, and just concentrate on building on the picture cumulatively emerging, the easier it is to create a picture of almost any nominated subject.

  6. It is important to let groups have a minimum amount of time (30 seconds is enough) to decide on a single sentence of what story or what aspect of the story they are going to depict. It is not necessary that they present a copy of the scenes presented in the video. The video material is a resource or instigation for their own interpretation of the story. The students need to present their own representation of the story they have interpreted from the video. What they choose to remember, or to focus upon, or to highlight, is simply their personalised interpretation already in process.

  7. Having quickly consulted, groups then build their picture postcard (or living meme) of the story-grab that they have agreed upon. It should take no more than 10 seconds to complete a picture built by 7 people.

  8. Switching between groups, you should be able to progress through a number of scenes, cumulatively identifying and representing how key actions lead to sequential actions and choices as the plot progresses. It is the teacher’s choice to what degree they might decide to adjust or ‘correct’ depicted images, or even to return to the original video if students are really struggling to recall enough detail to enable them to build meaningful pictures. As long as a spirit of fun and creativity is preserved then continued personalized learning should be assured.

  9. Once the students are developing a capability to build a clear picture, introduce the notion of ‘inciting incident’ to them. Adapted from the work of Robert McKee (McKee, Robert. 1997 Story, Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. Harper Collins) an ‘inciting incident’ in this context refers to an agent of change; the entry of a character; the words or actions of a character; a coincidence or act of Fate – something that occurs to change the direction or circumstance of a scene. It is the ‘spanner in the works’ that causes the play to progress in the direction that it eventually does. Students are asked to build a picture which establishes the ‘status quo’ or the base circumstance, and then to decide where, when, what and how that agent of change impacts upon the scene. In effect, they are making key interpretive choices about the narrative. As the students introduce the ‘spanner’ to the works of the scene, they are encouraged to call out ‘spanner’ as a means of owning their choices and of sharing and celebrating, both individually and as a group, their growing interpretive capability.

  10. If there is enough time, it might be useful to investigate the possibility of alternative ‘spanners’ in particular scenes, simply by trying them in alternative presentations of picture postcards.

  11. For very clear or pivotal picture postcards, it should be possible for students to identify and name the dominant theme underlying or impacting upon the scene. Again, in the first instance, it is not important that students choose ‘correctly’, so much as that they actually choose.

  12. Having chosen a theme, have the students build picture postcards based on that theme but with a contemporary focus or setting. The more the nominated contemporary context is specific to, and embedded in the life experience of the student(s), then the more specific and personally connected will be their work.

  13. Gentle, creative and playful cumulative personalisation has been the ultimate focus of this lesson. That students interpret the themes embedded in sections of the play, and that they make strong links in their own lives and real world understanding to those abstract notions. The embodiment of those connections, validated by collaborative generation and peer response, provides each student with their own personalised connection to the play and to the substance to be found beneath the surface of the text.

  14. The next lesson will begin the process of comprehending and unpacking that text.

Lesson Plan 2 Learning Resource Demonstration Video

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