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Introducing Shakespeare

Yvonne Divans Hutchinson, King Drew High School
Los Angeles, CA

Preparation for Active Reading Literature Circles Performing Shakespeare





Performing Shakespeare

As preparation for performance, students are required to generate Actor's Notes, essentially a written interpretation that demonstrates understanding of a character's interior thoughts and motivation for his/her behavior. The class helps Shamiya to translate lines for her scene and students rehearse in the hallway, getting ready for their performances.

Actor's Notes: Deconstructing the Model

We review a model done by a student from a previous class. Students deconstruct Daniel Henderson's notes, giving their insight into his "reading beneath the surface," making use of symbolism in his use of colors, and pointing out real life connections to gang conflict.

Figuring Out the Metaphor: a Group Think Aloud

Group two also shared their translations as Mariel notes, in modern day parlance, Juliet's willingness to "make a commitment". Charles, the only young man in the group responds shyly to my suggestion that he read the part of Romeo.

Actors take to the hallway outside of the classroom to rehearse, as passionate voices echo up and down the corridor.
Students engage in a lively discussion to devise a rubric for their performances of their Shakespeare "Love Quotes". The Rubric will also be utilized for their final performances of lines or scenes from the play. Most students are involved in the "learning conversation," although in varying degrees. While I write on the board and prompt them for cues, they offer suggestions that demonstrate their understanding of the basis for judgements and for using academic language. I prompt them to use vigorous (active) verbs, to speak in complete sentences, and remind them to listen to their peers in order to add on to what is said.