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Macbeth for Year 1?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by emma44, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. emma44

    emma44 New commenter

    Has anyone ever taught any Shakespeare in Year 1? Just wondering if anyone has any opinions or experiences they would like to share? Am considering using Macbeth after Christmas.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Just a personal opinion, but I think Macbeth is much too 'dark' to do with Year 1s.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Macbeth for Year 1s? You can't be serious! Maybe this is some sort of joke, emma44. Perhaps they will also read Gibbons' Decline and Fall in their guided reading time. And how about the little ones putting on A Clockwork Orange instead of a nativity play for Christmas?
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Do you mean year 7?
  5. emma44

    emma44 New commenter

    Thanks for the ideas!
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh that would make more sense.
  7. emma44

    emma44 New commenter

    No I mean Year 1.
  8. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Which parts of the supernatural, prophecy, decapitating, regicide, murder, mental breakdown, suicide oh and the ten laughs a minute do you think most suitable for Year 1 then?
  9. emma44

    emma44 New commenter

    Could probably tackle most of them, after all, those themes are contained in many fairy tales. Or should I not teach those either?!
  10. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    I work with schools to write stories here and in Africa. The African stories often have to be toned down because they're a bit 'hard core' compared to what we're used to reading in children's stories here now. I've always thought it's an interesting reflection on circumstances, culture etc.
    emma44 likes this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I have used Macbeth with year 3, but a sanitised children's version.
    I don't think for year 1, who I've taught to love Shakespeare, Macbeth is the best place to start.

    Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream are far better.
    Orchard Myths are best versions for young children.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    I think there's plenty of time and scope for Shakespeare when the children are older. There are many more appropriate texts for Year 1 pupils. Junior pupils can be told the basic plots and explore some of Shakespeare's themes, but Shakespeare wrote plays which were meant to be watched, and you have to be much older still to go and see and understand the real thing.
    minnie me and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Hmmm no difference between Shakespeare and fairy tales eh ?
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Given the RSC sell an awful lot of children's versions in their shop at Stratford-Upon-Avon, I imagine they are more than happy for children to be introduced to Shakespeare early. Beginning with a 'learning to count' board book based on Romeo and Juliet.

    They also have (very expensive) training files on using Shakespeare with KS1 upwards and run CPD courses for teaching Shakespeare at KS1/2. If the RSC want to promote Shakespeare in primary schools, who are we to argue.

    We go and watch every play that comes to Stratford, there are often primary age children there, though not usually year 1 age. I've taken years 4-6 to see Twelfth Night at Stratford and years 5-8 to see A Midsummer Night's Dream. Wouldn't take any of them to see Macbeth mind you!

    I think appreciating Shakespeare is a bit like appreciating classical music. You can hear and enjoy it in primary school and develop a really positive attitude to it. Then it's them up to secondary teachers not to put you off later!
  15. emma44

    emma44 New commenter

    At which point did I say there was no difference??
  16. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    There are so many fantastic authors writing stories specifically for children of Year 1 age. Shakespeare wrote for adults. Why not use age appropriate stories? Let the children develop a love a Shakespeare when they older and closer in age to the audience he was writing for. Many years ago, at my old school, we had a professional group come in to perform Macbeth for Year 2. The acting was very good, but we didn't invite the group back as, despite prior preparation, the Year 2s found it very confusing and didn't enjoy it at all. I think the Year 6s would have got a lot more out of the performance, but we were told it had been specially adapted for younger children.
    ViolaClef, minnie me and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    Fairy tales were brutal before Disney got hold of them. Fattening up children to be cooked and eaten etc.

    My son did Macbeth (Y6) last year and loved it. I still found it confusing... although that's how I've always felt when watching the RSC performances too!
  18. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Point taken but year 1s are too small to have their innocence spoilt too early. Yes I know Fairy Tales were often quite violent & frightening but they were written in a harsher world and as a warning to children. Time for that when they've grown a bit.
  19. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    That was my earlier point re. the difference in stories created by children in African countries. An interesting contrast.

    On the other hand any story can be adapted in any way as per the Disneyfication. Whatever's used, I think it works better if you're passionate about it so maybe that should be the starting point.
    emma44 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  20. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Tbf, the OP has a point about fairy tales. If we're OK to use toned down versions of them, then why not Macbeth?
    emma44 likes this.

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