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We are coming to the end of a wonderful week studying 8 plays by Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, Macbeth, As You Like It, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet) and the excitement that everyone has generated for the children has been wonderful. Yesterday a muddy-wellied group of children returned from studying Midsummer Night’s Dream in Shenley Wood, as you do. Two Year 4 classes have all week definitely NOT been on speaking terms, being respectively disgusting Montagus and smelly Capulets. It is magical to see, and has been expertly set up for us by Tracey Feil, Helena Clark, Emma Underwood and Wendy Turner as trainers and encouragers of their colleagues. This morning we were treated to a lovely, and quickly-assembled, short version of Romeo and Juliet, from Teasel Class, which was a testimony to children’s enthusiasm, teacher skill and effective adult learning.

DSC02630There has been a lightness as a result in the school, of a focus on imagination rather than skill, and everyone has taken pleasure in the process. Some children, writing for me this morning about the week, said (amongst other things) the following:

Day 1 was when we experienced learning through drama the Shakespearean story of Twelfth Night. Before that we did some games to warm ourselves up. These exercises made us feel free to act slightly hideously in our actions! This also helps us to “expand our character” in many ways….

We used acting to to make the understanding of the play more clear to us…. My favourite character from our play, Twelfth Night, is Sir Toby Belch, the kind of “manly” guy! He’s a man who drinks a lot, and I mean, a lot. He’s Olivia’s uncle and is very immature.

This week (23rd – 26th), Years 1-6 were studying the incredible work of William Shakespeare. I enjoyed doing Twelfth Night and looking into the characters, the setting and outcome. We first started off with some activities to get our brains and bodies going….

I am sure that there will be much more to share as the results of all the work slowly emerge as displays in the hall, as segments of Class Collective Worship presentations and in art and music. This display is a start…

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Finally, a governor was kind enough to join us on Thursday to help Year 2 enjoy doing Midsummer Night’s Dream activities in the woods. She wrote afterwards:

I am in full admiration of the children who, although so young, are embracing the magic and wonder of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. They were the very fairies reciting their lullaby with dramatic effect and enjoyment. Having time before leaving the woods to find and collect precious twigs, leaves and moss from the pathway to use in Art, was an extra delight. My thanks and congratulations go to both teachers for bringing Shakespeare to life for the children both inside and outside the classroom.

All in all, it was indeed a true box of delights for everyone.

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About Huw Humphreys

I am a headteacher in the city of Milton Keynes, where I have been since April 2011, looking to make education effective for the whole child and keeping a distant relationship with the powers that be and their narrowing approach to education... but most of all I am looking to find out what it means to be both a follower of Jesus Christ and a passionate educator in the midst of an unsettled community. I am also a part time musician, part time linguist and lover of history and literature...committed both to freedom to learn and depth of learning for all our children. The views on this blog are all my own, and not in any way those of the school I lead!

One response »

  1. […] I think back to the fact that our week of Shakespeare study was only a month ago, then we really have crammed a huge amount of work, learning and activity into […]

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