The Lesson Plans contained on this page are designed to integrate theatre and drama practice-based approaches to engaging in the study of Shakespeare. The exercises provided are derived from decades of professional practice from a range of world-renowned practitioners, adapted for integration into normal classroom circumstances and time-frames. Each Lesson Plan comes with detailed descriptions of how to plan and deliver the exercise, including pedagogical and National Curriculum assessment connections and video demonstrations of the exercises in action. There are also handy tips informed by years of experience, provided to guide teachers through individual diagnosis and problem0solving or adaptation of the exercises for frequently encountered learning situations. 

Any feedback on any of these exercises would be gratefully received. Equally, if you adapt any of these exercises, alter them or have any alternative approaches which have proved effective in engaging young people in the study of Shakespeare, please send in your information and I would be happy to include your contributions, with citation, to the Working with Shakespeare project.  

You can contact me at: scott.alderdice@usq.edu.au 

Thank you for visiting. 

This lesson plan is linked to the video learning resource: Once in Verona, which is a 47 minute modern verse enactment of the entire story of Romeo and Juliet.

Depending on the capability of the student cohort, Once in Verona can be viewed scene by scene or in its entirety and integrates the opportunity for students to work individually or in groups in creating their own graphic novel retelling of the story utilising free online apps and a palette of 250 images from the video.

This lesson is focussed on students developing a personalised understanding of the circumstances, characters and sequence of events of Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet.

Lesson Plan 2: explaining the story

This lesson involves students in groups or individually completing a written or spoken stumble synopsis of Romeo and Juliet. Like all WWS learning resources, this activity fosters a disposition of play in students creatively fulfilling their own explanation of the story. Further personalised familiarity of the detailed plot of Shakespeare's original text story is therefore achieved.

This lesson is the final in a sequence of learning the story. The learning activities are collaborative and problem0solving as students learn to embody the sequence of events that make up the story of Romeo and Juliet. The exercise may be further adapted to introduce interpretive choices in delineating key plot points, character choices or actions that impact upon the story outcome.

This lesson plan deals with Shakesfear; student anxiety over Shakespeare's language, unfamiliar words and references. Students are encouraged to work in pairs or small groups in identifying unfamiliar terms and seeking out definitions. Learning resources then involve a variety of play activities aimed at students personalising word meanings and implicit associations or inferences. Several of the activities involve physical activities which enable students to develop kina-textual  and embodied connections with the words in a playful social environment of exploration.

Duration: 40 minutes.

This Lesson Plan introduces a systematic approach to breaking Shakespeare's dramatic verse into manageable single segments of sense: in dramatic terms - thoughts. The exercises in this and the next two lessons are the most fundamental in providing students with a self-driven capability for comprehending and interpreting Shakespeare's dramatic language. Because the exercises incorporate physical and rhythmic approaches to textual interpretation, students intrinsically engage with the text from a personalised perspective.

Duration 40 minutes.

Lesson Plan 7: The Step Process - interpreting text.

This lesson is the second in a series of learning resources which enable students to break Shakespeare's text into manageable segments of inter-related meaning. Through a physical and theatre-practice approach which can be negotiated in a normal classroom setting, students experience the kina-textual qualities and meanings of Shakespeare's text and meaning. Iambic pentameter, syntactic pitch and rhythm, sense-driven changes in tempo, rhyme structure, assonance and onomatopoeia are all sensated as embodied aspects of making meaning from the text. 

This lesson plan completes the step process series, and introduces students to an energised and embodied process whereby they learn to speak Shakespeare's text with the sort of focus, engagement and clarity of spoken dramatic text. Because the exercise utilises a process which can be rooted in normal everyday aesthetics, students quickly gain a capability and enjoyment in being able to speak Shakespeare's text as though it is common language. The process can be negotiated in a normal classroom setting. 

Duration: 40 minutes

This lesson plan introduces students to a variety of games wherein they can explore the kina-textual meaning of Shakespeare's text: the shape and combinatory rhythm of vowels and consonants; syntactic meaning embedded in pitch, tempo, rhythm, rhyme and impetus; the shifting rhythms afforded by variable thought length and changes; and the joy of playing with words.

The activities included in this exercise encourage playful exploration of the text while accumulating a growing sense of meaning and confidence in engaging with, and interpreting Shakespeare's text. 

Duration 40 minutes

This lesson plan introduces students to a playful understanding of one of the fundamental devices used by Shakespeare to construct his dramatic verse: poetic inversion. In these activities, again conducted in a social and collaborative environment of playfulness, students explore creating their own inverted prose to create verse and even iambic pentameter.

Once students have mastered this process, the agile thinking required to reconfigure Shakespeare's language into prosaic sense is no longer a mystery.

Duration 40 minutes.

 

This lesson is a collaborative game which introduces students to the separate and integrated roles required to investigate and respond to a written essay question. Students work in teams with a provided package to construct a systematic and staged logical argument; to link quotations from the original text to various points in that argument; to research, evaluate and organise broader theoretical, cultural, historical or appropriate evidence to support those points of argument; and to plan and negotiate an appropriate oral or multimedia presentation of that argument.

This lesson plan integrates Etienne Wenger and Jean lave's theory of Peripheral Participation in providing participants of all capabilities a purview of the entire breadth of roles and stages of responding to an investigative and analytical task within a socially validated process of peer-assisted efficacy and learning.

Duration: 40 - 70 minutes.

This lesson plan utilises learning from previous lessons to enable students to engage in interpretive and creative learning activities. Students can work individually or collaboratively in compiling their own interpretation of a character's choices and actions throughout the play.

Students are then guided through the process of converting this content into a prose monologue; then into a dramatic verse monologue, and finally, of constructing their own modern verse or hiphop monologue telling an interpreted story of their chosen character.

Students can then engage in critical responses to their shared work.

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