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Thread: Which Shakespeare play to teach?

  1. #16
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    Plays for 8th-grade students, I think, and not to sound too offensive, must seem something exciting with a good plot, and something that keeps them interested. I love the idea of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but may also go with A Comedy Of Errors, Titus Andronicus, or maybe The Merry Wives Of Windsor.

  2. #17
    dreamer genoveva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    Plays for 8th-grade students, I think, and not to sound too offensive, must seem something exciting with a good plot, and something that keeps them interested.
    Although I have not yet read it, but it is next on my list, I was told by one of my instructor's (who is also a playwright) that the romance Cymbeline is heavy on the plot- more so than any of his other plays.
    "I have so often dreamed of you that you become unreal." ~ Robert Desnos

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    Quote Originally Posted by genoveva
    Although I have not yet read it, but it is next on my list, I was told by one of my instructor's (who is also a playwright) that the romance Cymbeline is heavy on the plot- more so than any of his other plays.
    Indeed, Cymbeline I found slightly more difficult, on average, and more complex than the other comedies (or tragedies, depending on your opinion of the play). Nothing quite compares, I think, to the challenge of reading Shakespeare's historical plays, however, requiring quite an amount of study of history.

  4. #19
    dreamer genoveva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    . Nothing quite compares, I think, to the challenge of reading Shakespeare's historical plays, however, requiring quite an amount of study of history.
    Yes I agree- and my favorites are his history plays. What a wonderful way to learn history! I was lucky to take a whole college level course on just his history plays. I think this was one of my best experiences learning history.
    "I have so often dreamed of you that you become unreal." ~ Robert Desnos

  5. #20
    I'm teaching Othello at the moment, to 17 year-olds. They love it - have also taught Much Ado and Hamlet at this age group with great results. I find Macbeth easier to do with younger kids, say 14-15 ... have also had success with Julius Caesar, a personal favourite of mine for some reason. I'm not sure how old "Grade 8" is, but I think Lear is too difficult for younger students.
    Whatever you decide on, have fun with it!
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  6. #21
    Seeker of Knowledge Shannanigan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    Plays for 8th-grade students, I think, and not to sound too offensive, must seem something exciting with a good plot, and something that keeps them interested. I love the idea of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but may also go with A Comedy Of Errors, Titus Andronicus, or maybe The Merry Wives Of Windsor.

    The Merry Wives of Windsor! My God I had forgotten about that one! My 8th grade class went to a production of it and had an absolute BLAST! I think I would have to recommend that one...

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    These all sound great! Thanks for the input. I know I will continue with MSND and I think I will do MacBeth. Romeo and Juliet is a 9th grade play so I can't do that one. I am hesitant to do Hamlet. It may be too complicated. I might just show the Simpson's version. LOL. I want to have my students get a nice broad foundation of the Bard so they will develop a deep appreciation in their adult years.

  8. #23
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay
    I completely agree with you..... except that we are dealing with grade 8's here.

    There are a reason why his "overdone" plays are overdone - they are generally thought to be the most exciting/entertaining. Not to say that his other's are not as great or better (Much Ado about Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Trolius and Cressidea do not get nearly enough credit), but I think that they would not work for begginners
    they might work... but as Petrach said, for most people school is the only chance to read Shaky...
    so it's the teacher's responsibility to make them read the most well-known plays because that's what everybody else reads and what counts as "educated"...
    at least that's the picture over here, dunno what it's like in CA...

    @byucougs
    yeah, I think McBeth might be more intersting for them.. it's got more action and seems easier to understand...
    as for Hamlet,i took a Shakes module at the univ of Warwick (UK), right around the corner from Stratford upon Avon*... they've got lots of renowned Shakes experts there and even these weren't able to tell us what Hamlet is all about... they were like: is he really suicidal? "to be or not to be"... hum, could mean anything really.."the undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveller returns".. yeah, but does that make him suicidal?... is he really crazy? etc... so they went for a meta-analysis and talked about how Hamlet was a turning point in the development of a) drama and b) err... the history of thought or something...
    coz Hamlet says "Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not seems..... But I have that within which passeth show".... so their interpretation was that this is a new view of the individual, because Shakes assumed that the individual has something within himself that cannot be communicated at all... plus it's metatheatrical, because the actor is supposed to communicate the character's inside to the audience, but ultimately it can't be done... so it's quite absurd.....

    now try telling your students that

    plus, McBeth has got witches in it, that's an addes bonus

    (*local pronunciation: Stratford oopon Ivon; Shakes is said to have "kept his broad Warwickshire accent after he went to London)

  9. #24
    dreamer genoveva's Avatar
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    Just want to share that there is this fabulous CD out called Bard Americana- The Songs of Shakespeare Music by Joe Hillyer. These are direct excerpts from plays put to song. Very beautiful! I plan to integrate this CD into the studying of Shakespeare's plays. For more info see: www.bardamericana.com or www.joehillyer.com
    "I have so often dreamed of you that you become unreal." ~ Robert Desnos

  10. #25
    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    I have only recently come out of 8th grade and we studied Taming of the Shrew. It made for very interesting analysis about gender roles. Some of the students found the complexity of the plot hard to comprehend though. Midsummer is an excellent one to study but i also reccomend Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth from personal enjoyment.
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


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  11. #26
    weer mijn koekjestrommel Schokokeks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramasnot6 View Post
    I have only recently come out of 8th grade...
    Can't help it, but somehow I still don't believe you .
    "Where mind meets matter, both should woo!"
    Currently reading:
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  12. #27
    Ditsy Pixie Niamh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kilted exile View Post
    Ok, firstly I wish I had the chance to do shakespeare at that age. I did one shakespeare play (R&J) at school and that wasnt until I was 17.

    I would suggest either Hamlet or Macbeth
    I did Romeo and Juliet for my Junior cert which means i started to study it when i was 14.

    I'd deffinately go with Hamlet. Spent Two years doing indepth study of it for my leaving cert. great play and so much content! could spend hours just discussing it!
    "Come away O human child!To the waters of the wild, With a faery hand in hand, For the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand."
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  13. #28
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    Ok seeing as i've just discovered what age group 9th graders are, and 8th graders are obviously younger, go with Romeo and Juliet or Much ado About Nothing.
    "Come away O human child!To the waters of the wild, With a faery hand in hand, For the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand."
    W.B.Yeats

    "If it looks like a Dwarf and smells like a Dwarf, then it's probably a Dwarf (or a latrine wearing dungarees)"
    Artemins Fowl and the Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer


    my poems-please comment Forum Rules

  14. #29
    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schokokeks View Post
    Can't help it, but somehow I still don't believe you .
    Aww thank ye very kindly cookie! You're sweeter then all the cookies in the world put together
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

  15. #30
    Thinking...thinking! dramasnot6's Avatar
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    Romeo and Juliet seems to be a popular choice, i agree with it too. It's protagonists are an age that the students can relate to and relatively the plot isnt very difficult.
    I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.


    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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