Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shakespeare For The Reluctant

...and possibly questionable parenting.

The Kid is 12 now, but lets face it, even some adults have trouble wrapping their mind around the antiquated language that comes with The Bard. I was really lucky. I had a teacher who instilled a love of Shakespeare by insisting we understand the importance of the delivery of lines and what they meant. Slowed it down, took the time to explain and made it fun. I want to share this adoration with my daughter but I needed a plan, lest I run full speed, biting my thumb and speaking of graves, and worms, and epitaphs.

Last year, while studying Ancients, we covered the play Julius Caesar but only by way of graphic novel. Slowly laying the bricks to a more in depth study this year, with our Medieval timeline. As we talked about Henry V, we watched the play version's Agincourt speech .

Over the next month she will be memorizing the aforementioned soliloquy from Richard II, Act 3 Scene 2. We used TedEd to learn about why Shakespeare loved iambic pentameter. Here's another neat little video about original pronunciation.

After the much abbreviated graphic novel spoon feeding, we moved on to Shakespeare Stories. I found that presenting the works in story format rather than as a play helped her understand what was going on before tackling the play.

I figured Hamlet as good as any other place to begin. After reading it in Shakespeare Stories, we read Act I on No Fear Shakespeare, which provides a side by side modern text translation. Following that we watched the BBC version. While the language is Shakespearean, the costumes and props are modern, another baby step.

Crash Course provides a great summary and points out the Hamlet - Lion King connection. And the slightly more vulgar (here is the questionable parenting part) Thug Notes has some worthwhile analysis points. For fun, we watched Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, though I've yet to get her to successfully play Questions.

We covered a few more, like Twelfth Night, by discussion of the story version. When we discussed Macbeth she excitedly made the connection that Throne of Blood, which we watched to (loosely) learn of medieval Japan, was the same story. I had hoped she would have mentioned Wyrd Sisters, but as soon as I brought it up, she saw the connection.

Following the same model of study we did for Hamlet, we're covering Romeo and Juliet over the next two weeks. She read the story in Shakespeare Stories, now we're tackling each Act on No Fear Shakespeare, following each by the section in Romeo + Juliet. Once we've completed the play, we'll watch West Side Story. Wrapping up Shakespeare for the year with a writing prompt I snagged off Pinterest.

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