I think it's safe to say that there's rarely a dull moment during our classtime, whether it's random stories about my kids and students' lives or listening to British actors read a play. And a recent lesson was no exception.
We'd been working on breaking down Shakespeare's langauge to get a better handle on it and after doing the omissions and sentence structure work, next up was the poetic meter analysis. I know, sounds pretty awful - scansion is the technical term - but with the help of childhood songs and an A. A. Milne poem, we were eventually reading lines from A Midsummer Night's Dream with surprisingly good rhythm.
I wasn't sure how this was going to go, either, as I was typing up the lines from the play to project for the kids to read. Ask them to a) stand up, b) read unfamiliar words, and c) stomp feet seemed like a lot to ask. Sure would have been easier to hit play and listen to the audio recording, check for understanding, and move on. But I was determined not to play it safe, especially since I'd learned most of this technical stuff about Shakespeare's writing is brand new for the kids. So, I took a deep breath and worked through the activity.
There were only a few questioning looks as I asked kids to *gasp* stand up and then move away from their desks. We did the Milne poem reading to get a feel for the rhythm and rhyme, then I popped up the first of the Shakespeare segments. Kids were asked to read aloud the words, in unison as much as possible. So after a couple of do-overs and my keeping pace, that was successful. Next up was stomping a foot on the indicated syllables while reading out loud. A few more re-starts were needed, but I was impressed with how fast they caught on. And everyone was moving mouths, saying words, and stamping a foot. Awesome! Music to my ears!
There was another passage to read the same way, then we looked at the technical aspects - tetrameter vs pentameter and iambic syllables. So for a quick introduction, it went well and I'm thankful no one booed me off the stage. On to the memorization passage...