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Macbeth - Year 8 (low ability)

Discussion in 'English' started by sweetie1, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. sweetie1

    sweetie1 New commenter

    Of course you should tell them the whole story. I'd give them a brief summary of the plot, then watch the cartoon (Animated Tales). Shakespeare wrote to be performed, not to be read...
    Younger students are much less afraid of Shakespearean English than KS4. You need to decide what you want them to get out of the play and then study a few key scenes in depth. Check out some of the discarded SATS preparation resources that are still available online.
    I've got a DVD copy of the brilliant Patrick Stewart version which was on stage last year in Chichester and then transferred to the West End. I think the whole (3 hour!) play would be a little heavy for Year 8, but it might be worth investing in a copy (from Amazon) to show them the odd clip of key scenes you choose to use. It's only available in the USA, so you'd have to check that you can get some Region 2 software.
    The Trevor Nunn version with Dame Judy and Sir Ian also helps bring the language alive, in my experience. Students quite like the whole association of Gandalph and M being married!
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If it's a low ability class I too would want to introduce them to a summary of the whole storyline first,
    Have you ever come across the Marcia Williams cartoon picture stories? I find them really useful for an introduction to the story. There's 2 books Mr William Shakespeare's Plays & Bravo Mr William Shakespeare. Can't seem to find my copies at the moment & not certain which book Macbeth is in.
  3. annie2010

    annie2010 Occasional commenter

    Some very useful suggestions already on here.
    One method which has worked well for me with less academic groups is to watch / read some key scenes, then Freeze Frame the scenes.
    This emphasises the fact that Shakespeare's plays are meant to be performed, and are not 'boring'.
    Also, it gives the show-offs, clowns and sundry attention seekers a chance to act up with teacher's approval!
  4. I've just completed a unit on this with my bottom set Year 8s. We did a Woosh activity first of all. Think its on the Resources section here. If not just google it and it will appear. This had them all sitting in a circle while I read through the story. Whenever we got to a new character they had to act out what they were doing. Then when it was a change of scene I would say Woosh and they would sit back down and we would start again. Great for getting to know the story and for less confident kids who dont want to act or be centre of attention for too long.

    Showed animated tales and we looked at lots of different theatre posters for macbeth. Did a bit of analysis of the colours, images, fonts etc used and why and then they made their own. We also created a theatre programme for the play and they decided who they would cast as different characters, based on celebs and pop stars etc that they knew. They also considered whether to modernise it etc/.

    Scenes /sections we focused on included "DOuble double toil and trouble" so that they could make their own gruesome spells. In addition to this we looked at other snippets to learn more about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in more depth. I wanted to do a bit of an arty thing where they could make masks/heads using balloons etc but we completely ran out time.

    Hope that helps a bit. Will let you know if I think of anything else we did.
  5. forgot that this website might be useful too: http://2011.playingshakespeare.org/

    some good ideas and links to real productions at the globe.
    O x

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