Digital Shakespeare Update

I met with my middle-school classes on Thursday. They have finished reading the plays, and we were able put together plans for our Digital Shakespeare projects. Plans may change, and who knows what will happen as we head into test prep season, but here is where we have decided to go by the end of the year.

6th Grade The 6th grade class has decided to retell the story of Antony and Cleopatra via Cleopatra’s Facebook page. We are currently discussing what that will look like on our discussion forum, but some of the ideas discussed include status updates, wall posts, photos, and video snippets of students performing scenes from the original play that might have been “uploaded” by characters. We even have a student who knows how to create a mock-up Facebook page when all of the other work is done. This project has a lot of potential! “Marc Antony has changed his relationship status to Married. Dislike!”

7th Grade The 7th grade class is doing a stage production of Macbeth. The plan is to film each scene and create a website with embedded videos, along with student writing about the play and emendations linked from the text. Both teacher and students know this is a very ambitious project, but they have made a commitment to put the time in. If they do, this project will be phenomenal. If they don’t, or if circumstances intervene, it will be my job to make sure the end result does honor to the work they were able to put in. This is similar to a project I did with fifth-grade students years ago, but these students are a little older and the technology is so much better now. I really hope this happens.

8th Grade The 8th grade class will not be available to me much after testing season, since they typically get pulled out for various senior-related activities throughout June, but I think our idea is quite manageable in the time we have left. The students want to create a trailer for a non-existant movie version of As You Like It. Students are currently watching real movie trailers (which are easily accessible online) to notice what features they have in common. This will be one of those movie trailers you see in the theatre that tells you the whole story of the movie, so the final product will respect the play and demonstrate student comprehension as well.

I’ll continue to post updates about the projects here, and hope to share the final projects here as well. Needless to say, I’m very excited by the possibilities! Stay tuned…

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