Thursday, December 5, 2013

Flash Shakespeare: Are you WILLing?

lines delivered by Lori

I love Shakespeare. Any English teacher worth her salt could skip her morning coffee for a planning session with Shakespeare and feel just as energized...if not more! And that's actually what just happened a couple of weeks ago! My nerdy Shakespeare buddy Nikki and I were planning through Act I of Julius Caesar. She would bring up a particular moment in the play and I would immediately start quoting lines with true Elizabethan gusto. It was hilarious! We were having a great time. 

And then we were simultaneously brilliant. 

Me: What if I just walked into your class one day and started spewing lines of Shakespeare?

Nikki: Oh man...my kids would be like...whaaaaat???

Me: Hahaha! Yeah...then you could join in and it would be like, like, um like a flash mob except only with Shakespeare.

Nikki: Flash Shakespeare?!

And thus, we have Flash Shakespeare. Take any play that you're currently working with and pick a pivotal scene. Nikki and I picked Act I, scene 3 where Cassius convinces Casca to join the conspiracy essentially by making him feel like a punk. We spent a class period working on that scene, breaking down metaphors and using rhetorical questions to summarize Cassius' main point. From that scene we took about 20 lines that could easily be delivered in about 3 minutes. 

We really thought it would be important for the kids to see just how manipulative Cassius is...and not on a screen. But in real life with real emotion and real people. Right in front of them.

So on the day of our performance, I will simply barge into Nikki's room and regardless of what she's doing, the scene will immediately start. It is fast-paced, quick moving, and intense. When we're done, I will simply walk out and Nikki will resume teaching [as best as she possibly can]. 

It's gutsy, but think about it! Some of your kids will forever remember that moment in their 10th grade English class. It takes some ingenuity to get your classes covered, but it's only for an itty bitty short amount of time. But here's the catch. You can't prep your kids for it, and it's got to be well-rehearsed. Like any good flash mob, it just happens. 

So the stage is set. Nikki and I are ready to roll. I'll let you know how it goes! And just in case you're wondering what a flash mob is, here is one of my favorites: 

Don't forget it's the last day to enter our giveaway for a FREE set of English I Shared Readings.  Click here to get your name in there!

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