Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celebrating the Bard's birthday

William Shakespeare was born April 23 and I thought it would be good fun to mark the day with a little celebration with the girls. I think exposing my children to his work and stories in a fun way early on will reap the benefits of dispelling any future apprehension when it comes to studying his plays and poems in later years. Also, the more familiar they are with the stories, the greater their enjoyment will be when they come to read his plays.

As we will actually be studying his life and times in greater depth when we start our Tapestry of Grace Year 2 studies after our summer holidays, I decided that I would concentrate simply on introducing the girls to some of his stories and doing a few fun things.

We started the week by reading aloud from William Shakespeare (Usborne Young Reading Series) which is an easy to read and entertaining summary of his life.

Then I read a few of his plays using both Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit

and these books by Tony Ross and Andrew Matthews.

I also managed to download Shakespeare for Children by David Timson, an audio CD, from the National Library's e-resources Digital Media Collection (my favourite source of free audio books :) ) which we then listened to during our car journeys that week.

If you are keen to find creative ways to introduce Shakespeare to your kids, there is a wonderful lens here that has an abundance of great links to images, quotes, lesson plans, printables and audiobooks. A veritable treasure trove of ideas for teaching Shakespeare!

We started our celebrations by watching a few animated videos from Shakespeare: The Animated Tales. It is a BBC television program of 12 episodes, each episode showing an animated half-hour adaptation of one of Shakespeare's plays. You can find them very nicely gathered up here at this lens.

I printed out this sheet from Jimmescollage which is a drawing of a stage similar to the Globe and had the girls draw out a scene from one of the stories they had just watched.

They did a copywork sheet each of a quote I picked out which you can download here:

And finally, we ended our time by trading Shakespearean insults to our hearts content which was great fun. If you just type in "Shakespearean insults" on Google, you'll find many sites that provide you either with actual insults from the plays like these:
"You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things." - Julius Caesar

"Methinks thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee. I think thou was created for men to breathe themselves upon you." - Alls Well That Ends Well

"What a disgrace it is to me that I should remember your name!" - Henry IV pt 2
or you will find sites that help you craft your very own insults. A big hit with my kids!

It was a fun little interlude to our day.

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