When I was teaching, the kids and I always looked forward to reading a play and then seeing a performance together. It was exciting and fun to read the scenes and then watch them come to life on stage. The promise of this field trip also motivated the kids. They were into reading the play because they knew we’d soon see it live. We are all sad that we can’t go on field trips right now. But even though we can’t go to the theater, we can still bring the theater to our class.
Bring Shakespeare’s language to life (virtually!)
You and your students are going to love Classics in the Classroom, a virtual Shakespeare experience from Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. This program is so much more than a recorded performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Teaching artists, all professional Shakespearean actors, will bring their expertise and passion for Shakespeare to your classroom (virtually!). They will help your kids access Shakespeare’s language and voice while building excitement for acting and theater.
“We don’t do lectures,” says Frank Weidner, School Programs Manager. “We give the characters life, and especially in this time when students can’t see a play, they can still see it and be a part of the experience.”
Here’s how it works
Classics in the Classroom includes three parts, and a teaching artist will facilitate the program virtually for your students on your preferred platform for parts one and three. Each part is about forty-five minutes long or three class periods.
1. Virtual Interactive Preparatory Workshop
- An interactive plot summary of the play
- Historical background on Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age
- An interactive introduction to Shakespeare’s poetry and prose
- Context for the recording students will be seeing
Bonus! There’s a 23-page study guide full of fun writing activities, discussion questions, and classroom games for exploring the language, which you can use as you teach the play.
2. A 45-Minute Recording of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Recording of a 45-minute live performance of the play at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
- Available with English or Spanish subtitles
- You facilitate the video
3. Follow Up Assessment Workshop
- Aligned to Common Core Standards
- Students discuss the play’s theme and its relationship to character, setting, and plot
- Other discussion topics include: how the play’s form shapes its meaning and how Shakespeare uses myth and historical settings
- Students will compare and contrast the experience of reading a play vs. watching a video vs. seeing the play live
Here’s what teachers are saying:
“This is the perfect end to our Shakespeare unit.” —Lisa Heidel, English Teacher, St. Mark’s School
“What an amazing way to get kids excited about literature, history, and theatre!” —Julie Marsh, Homeschool Teacher
“What a dynamic and balanced program. Students observe, interact, and learn from professionals.” —Duncan Wallace, Teacher, Ojai Valley School
Ready to bring Shakespeare to your virtual classroom?
This project is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.