Archive of: June, 2018

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introTextThe joys of teaching Shakespeare!
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I started my teacher training in the Autumn of 1991 and, at that point, there was a significant focus for teachers of English on bringing Shakespeare into the classroom for younger children. There had been some interesting research projects completed – most of which led into the Cambridge Schools Project led by Rex Gibson. Being based in Cambridge, I was able to attend courses run by Dr Gibson and learn from his techniques.
He proposed breaking Shakespeare’s plays down to individual speeches or scenes and approaching the text through drama exercises. I remember having to create freeze-frame tableaux as he read out certain phrases or organising characters into lines: in order of how old I thought they were, or sympathetic, or wise.

The Cambridge schools editions of Shakespeare’s plays are full of photographs from particular productions but, in the age of You Tube, I wonder how Gibson would now encourage us to teach the plays. It is so easy to stop a scene and look at two different ways in which professional casts have acted out that moment. Again, when I first started teaching, you had to wheel the TV and video trolley into your classroom; now you can bring a two minute clip immediately on to an interactive whiteboard.

I love teaching Shakespeare’s plays and the Summer Term at Cargilfield gives me a real treat because, with exams already complete for 8D, we can take our time over a play. Because the plays are written in verse, there are so many possibilities as to meaning or inference and 13 year old children are generally ready to debate or challenge – suggesting how they would stage that moment or what a word means.

rightColBody

This year we’ve been focusing on A Midsummer Night’s Dream which has all sorts of possibilities for exploring the nature of love: is it anything more than an imagined fancy which can change by applying magic potion, for Bottom tells us “Reason and Love keep little company nowadays”. Then there’s the way that women are treated in Athens (how ready were they for the #MeToo campaign?) with Hippolyta made captive by her future husband and the parallels in the fairy kingdom where Titania is tricked into a ridiculous love affair. Who do we laugh at finally – the innocent mechanicals performing the play or the smug young lovers as their audience?

The culmination of our studies is a trip to the Globe in early June. This year we watched Two Noble Kinsmen (a prize for any parent who has read that play!) and enjoyed how the company at the Globe brought a relatively obscure text to life. The Globe is itself a remarkable concept: the brain-child of actor Sam Wannamaker who came to Britain as a refugee of Senator McCarthy’s America and wondered why, when he visited the South Bank, there was no evidence of where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed.

If you are planning a trip south then I can only recommend taking your teenage (and younger) children to watch a Globe production on a summer’s evening – as a groundling from the yard just as the ordinary folk would have done (and for just £5 per ticket!) – and where you are ever more likely to become part of the production yourself.

RT

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perch_introTextThe joys of teaching Shakespeare!
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I started my teacher training in the Autumn of 1991 and, at that point, there was a significant focus for teachers of English on bringing Shakespeare into the classroom for younger children. There had been some interesting research projects completed – most of which led into the Cambridge Schools Project led by Rex Gibson. Being based in Cambridge, I was able to attend courses run by Dr Gibson and learn from his techniques.
He proposed breaking Shakespeare’s plays down to individual speeches or scenes and approaching the text through drama exercises. I remember having to create freeze-frame tableaux as he read out certain phrases or organising characters into lines: in order of how old I thought they were, or sympathetic, or wise.

The Cambridge schools editions of Shakespeare’s plays are full of photographs from particular productions but, in the age of You Tube, I wonder how Gibson would now encourage us to teach the plays. It is so easy to stop a scene and look at two different ways in which professional casts have acted out that moment. Again, when I first started teaching, you had to wheel the TV and video trolley into your classroom; now you can bring a two minute clip immediately on to an interactive whiteboard.

I love teaching Shakespeare’s plays and the Summer Term at Cargilfield gives me a real treat because, with exams already complete for 8D, we can take our time over a play. Because the plays are written in verse, there are so many possibilities as to meaning or inference and 13 year old children are generally ready to debate or challenge – suggesting how they would stage that moment or what a word means.

perch_rightColBody

This year we’ve been focusing on A Midsummer Night’s Dream which has all sorts of possibilities for exploring the nature of love: is it anything more than an imagined fancy which can change by applying magic potion, for Bottom tells us “Reason and Love keep little company nowadays”. Then there’s the way that women are treated in Athens (how ready were they for the #MeToo campaign?) with Hippolyta made captive by her future husband and the parallels in the fairy kingdom where Titania is tricked into a ridiculous love affair. Who do we laugh at finally – the innocent mechanicals performing the play or the smug young lovers as their audience?

The culmination of our studies is a trip to the Globe in early June. This year we watched Two Noble Kinsmen (a prize for any parent who has read that play!) and enjoyed how the company at the Globe brought a relatively obscure text to life. The Globe is itself a remarkable concept: the brain-child of actor Sam Wannamaker who came to Britain as a refugee of Senator McCarthy’s America and wondered why, when he visited the South Bank, there was no evidence of where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed.

If you are planning a trip south then I can only recommend taking your teenage (and younger) children to watch a Globe production on a summer’s evening – as a groundling from the yard just as the ordinary folk would have done (and for just £5 per ticket!) – and where you are ever more likely to become part of the production yourself.

RT

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Shakespeare

Bringing the Bard to Barnton

The joys of teaching Shakespeare!

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“Miss D, Miss D I really need to ask you something! It has been worrying me for the last two days!!!!”

Given that the speaker was a rather excited young chap with a penchant for sailing quite close to the wind, I stopped in my tracks to listen to him.

“I need to know…. Are Einstein and Frankenstein brothers?”

“No they definitely are not.”

“Are you sure? One is Ein Stein and one is Frank N Stein.”

“Yes, I am one hundred percent sure they are not brothers.”

“Oh ok that’s it. I’m fine now,” and off he shot seemingly quite happy.

Anyone who works in a school like ours can probably give you several similar examples. It’s one of the joys of teaching. You never quite know what is going to come at you next. Cargilfield is an amazing place. The children, the staff and the environment all have their place to play in this. We are a community and we come together to support each other when we need to. Yes it can get a bit claustrophobic at times as you feel sometimes that you live and breathe the place but it’s pretty cool to see everyone mucking in with the Summer Fair, or two Deputy Heads and the Head lying on the floor painting boards for an Art show, or trudging over the hills en masse in July (not that I am a particularly enthusiastic participant in that, I have to admit.)

We are now almost at the end of another year and I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time with the form 8’s. They are a fantastic bunch, some of them have been here for more than 10 years and can’t really remember life without Cargilfield. Like every year, we will miss them when they have gone but know that for the most part they are really excited (and apprehensive) about this transition and life in the wider world.

rightColBody

When I was asked by Mr Taylor to write something I thought I would ask the form 8’s for some of their favourite moments and experiences. A taste of our lives from those who have lived it.

“At form 8 camp it was our turn to cook, Mrs M was putting in the spice but it was super-concentrated and she added three quarters of a pot! Even when we added 10 cartons of cream it was still too hot to eat and some of us went bright red when we tried it.”

“When M tried to jump out of a kayak on the canal at Ratho to look cool and fell in face first.”

“Fish and Chip Friday. It’s legendary!”

“Playing poker with Mr P on Thursday night boarding.”

“Rugby Tour against Sedbergh was one of my best moments. It was really fun and amazingly muddy. They still smashed us.”

“Sharing a room on Hockey Tour and inventing a chant to remember our room number.”

Maths Trip to London when C tried to make coffee and made us all late for the Maths Challenge.”

“Mr T telling us to keep our wits about us and then getting on the tube the wrong way on our London trip.”

“When we made a spoof of the 12 Labours of Hercules and filmed it around the school. R made an amazingly realistic Mr W and F was a convincing centaur.”

“Our choir tour was amazing, we loved it, especially when Mr T screamed coming down the drop slide at Wet and Wild.”

Another one to finish with. This afternoon, I was looking for a member of staff to talk about a non-urgent pastoral issue. I asked her if she was available just now to talk it through. Her response,

“Yes, no problem but I’m just off to be an iceberg. I’ll be with you in an hour or so.”

AD

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“Miss D, Miss D I really need to ask you something! It has been worrying me for the last two days!!!!”

Given that the speaker was a rather excited young chap with a penchant for sailing quite close to the wind, I stopped in my tracks to listen to him.

“I need to know…. Are Einstein and Frankenstein brothers?”

“No they definitely are not.”

“Are you sure? One is Ein Stein and one is Frank N Stein.”

“Yes, I am one hundred percent sure they are not brothers.”

“Oh ok that’s it. I’m fine now,” and off he shot seemingly quite happy.

Anyone who works in a school like ours can probably give you several similar examples. It’s one of the joys of teaching. You never quite know what is going to come at you next. Cargilfield is an amazing place. The children, the staff and the environment all have their place to play in this. We are a community and we come together to support each other when we need to. Yes it can get a bit claustrophobic at times as you feel sometimes that you live and breathe the place but it’s pretty cool to see everyone mucking in with the Summer Fair, or two Deputy Heads and the Head lying on the floor painting boards for an Art show, or trudging over the hills en masse in July (not that I am a particularly enthusiastic participant in that, I have to admit.)

We are now almost at the end of another year and I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time with the form 8’s. They are a fantastic bunch, some of them have been here for more than 10 years and can’t really remember life without Cargilfield. Like every year, we will miss them when they have gone but know that for the most part they are really excited (and apprehensive) about this transition and life in the wider world.

perch_rightColBody

When I was asked by Mr Taylor to write something I thought I would ask the form 8’s for some of their favourite moments and experiences. A taste of our lives from those who have lived it.

“At form 8 camp it was our turn to cook, Mrs M was putting in the spice but it was super-concentrated and she added three quarters of a pot! Even when we added 10 cartons of cream it was still too hot to eat and some of us went bright red when we tried it.”

“When M tried to jump out of a kayak on the canal at Ratho to look cool and fell in face first.”

“Fish and Chip Friday. It’s legendary!”

“Playing poker with Mr P on Thursday night boarding.”

“Rugby Tour against Sedbergh was one of my best moments. It was really fun and amazingly muddy. They still smashed us.”

“Sharing a room on Hockey Tour and inventing a chant to remember our room number.”

Maths Trip to London when C tried to make coffee and made us all late for the Maths Challenge.”

“Mr T telling us to keep our wits about us and then getting on the tube the wrong way on our London trip.”

“When we made a spoof of the 12 Labours of Hercules and filmed it around the school. R made an amazingly realistic Mr W and F was a convincing centaur.”

“Our choir tour was amazing, we loved it, especially when Mr T screamed coming down the drop slide at Wet and Wild.”

Another one to finish with. This afternoon, I was looking for a member of staff to talk about a non-urgent pastoral issue. I asked her if she was available just now to talk it through. Her response,

“Yes, no problem but I’m just off to be an iceberg. I’ll be with you in an hour or so.”

AD

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Form 8

A few ramblings from the History Room

The end of another busy year is around the corner!

Read More


Posted on