Friday, June 09, 2006

Shakespeare for Kids

The University of Texas has a new site that introduces Shakespeare to kids.

“You make Shakespeare yours when you encounter it through performance,” says Clayton Stromberger, educational outreach coordinator for the College of Liberal Art’s Shakespeare at Winedale program.

Stromberger visits elementary and middle schools across Texas, collaborating with teachers to incorporate Shakespeare performances into their curriculum. He’s discovered it may take some time for young students to learn the language, but kids are natural performers who love to bring the plays to life.

“Fourth and fifth grade is an ideal time because the children like to play,” says Stromberger. “They relish the language and they’re not self-conscious. They don’t realize they’re learning while they’re having all this fun.”

This site is a terrific resource for teachers who want to challenge and reward their students. It walks the viewer through performance prep for A Midsummer's Night Dream. The teacher section includes "An imagined inservice" which is much more fun than any actual inservice I have ever attended. In the test driven culture of today's public schools, opportunities to make memories like this are increasingly rare.

For more inspiration on the life changing power of the Bard's work find the video, My Shakespeare - Romeo & Juliet for a New Generation. This program will change your life. It should be in every high school library.

For those folks who think Shakespeare is NOT for elementary kids, they should check out the website and watch the PBS POV program, the Hobart Shakespeareans (love their motto: Be Nice, Work Hard.)


Michele said...

Camille this sounds similar to the RSC's work over here... Sometimes I wish I was a child again, that I might enjoy such things as Shakespeare workshops in school - but then I remember the excessive testing and how badly I tested as a child, and am mostly glad that I'm not a child any more except in my heart !

Becky said...

Thanks for this, Camille! Will link to it as soon as I have the chance.