Teachers Notes

A Guide to using teachers' notes

 This online resource for A Midsummer Night’s Dream provides a range of engaging classroom activities that reflect the National Curriculum for English, Drama and Art and Design. These notes will guide teachers through the website and suggest activities which will show students how the director and the cast create the world of the play.

KS3 English and Drama

The activities are offered to support delivery of the KS3 English Programme of Study for speaking and listening, reading and writing. The Progression Statements indicate the progression in knowledge, understanding and skills in the four areas of study.

  • Character and motivation
  • The language of the text
  • Ideas, themes and issues
  • The text in performance

Character

The Character pages on the website are intended to look similar to Facebook, with which students are familiar. Each character has their own page with a profile, photographs and quotations about them from other characters. Students have posted comments on the character’s dilemma which can be used to stimulate discussion and lead to activities such as conscience corridor.

In the audio clips actors discuss how they create an interpretation of their character through exploring a range of techniques. Actors describe how they develop their characters by asking questions about them. (Where are Lysander’s parents? Why do they not support him in his quest to marry Hermia? Is he an orphan?) By creating a back story, actors can build a personality into their character and some possible explanations as to what motivates them. These ideas are taken into the rehearsal room and tested out in a range of activities.

The Backstage Blog provides fascinating insights into how the cast, working with the director and other professionals, add flesh and bones to the characters. These approaches can be transferred to the classroom and will help pupils to think about how the characters interact with one another, what they want and what they do to achieve their aims.

Other interactive approaches that build on the information on the Facebook pages can be found in Activities to develop understanding of character and motivation worksheet in the Teachers Notes.

http://2012.playingshakespeare.org

Language

The Tools button on the Language page provides definitions of the literary techniques Shakespeare used. Examples of the techniques are highlighted and students can find others as they read through the scenes. There is also a facility to see some scenes have been edited for this production by using the Show/Hide Director’s edit button.

Activities to develop understanding of the language of the play can be found in Activities to develop understanding of the language of the text worksheet in the Teachers Notes.

Themes

The play has four different and distinct worlds – the world of the court where Theseus is the authority and administers the law, the world of the lovers which is suffused with passion, romance and danger, the magical world of the Fairies where Oberon and Titania rule and which is in disarray because of their dispute over the changeling boy, and the comic world of the mechanicals. The dramatic conflict arises when these worlds collide – the desires of two of the lovers is in direct opposition to the law of the court; the lovers and the mechanicals both enter the enchanted wood and fall foul of Puck’s pranks; and Bottom’s presence in the wood leads to Titania's being tricked into loving an ass. What unites these worlds is that the characters want something that they cannot have, and the action comes from how they scheme and manipulate others to get their heart’s desire.

Activities to develop understanding of the Ideas, Themes and Issues can be found in the Activities to develop ideas, themes and issues worksheet in the Teachers Notes

Performance

The Backstage Pass pages take students through the whole process of building a production from designing the posters for marketing the play, to designing a set, creating costumes and writing a review for the play. Each week students are offered an opportunity to emulate the work of the production team and the chance to have their work uploaded onto the site. The activities, which are written by the creative team, support the delivery of the Programmes of Study for Art and Design. Templates and success criteria are provided for each challenge.

The Backstage Blog charts the progress the cast makes in developing their characters, their voice skills and their understanding of the demands of working on the Globe stage. Rehearsal techniques are described within the Character section and actors comment on how these approaches give them insights into their characters and help them perform their parts.

Activities to develop an understanding of the text in performance can be found Activities to develop the text in performance worksheet in the Teachers Notes.

Globe Education Online

We have many resources for Shakespeare on our website, including an intensive archive of past Globe productions and interviews. Information can also be found about workshops, lectures and other events run by Globe Education.

See: www.shakespearesglobe.com/education

Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank Online

In addition to this resource for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we also have an online resource to accompany each of the previous Playing Shakespeare productions, including Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.

See: www.playingshakespeare.org.uk

Globe Education Shakespeare Publications

These Globe Education editions of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet include actor and director views and many stunning photographs, in addition to a clear play text and glossary. Furthermore the online version (dynamic learning) offers the opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s plays interactively, through video clips and script machines.

See:

www.shakespearesglobe.com/education/learning/learning-resources/globe-ed...

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