Telling the story in pictures

15 Jun

A number of my Year 9 students have told me that they struggle with Shakespeare.  Many do not read much (or read much written in English) and are not that comfortable with the texts that are written in everyday English.  It is therefore not that surprising that they are a tad apprehensive about a play that, as far as they are concerned, is written in a variety of English that has very little resemblance to the English that they use on a daily basis.

In order to assist these students I will be showing them a film version of Romeo and Juliet so that they have a pictorial point of reference to aid their understanding of the story.

To familiarise them with the narrative before hand, I will discuss an everyday English version of the text, marrying key moments with a still  taken from the film.  I will ask students to annotate the narratives with a brief everyday English summary of what happens in that moment.

Then, I will divide the students into pairs and give each a set of stills.  Students will be challenged to put the stills in the order that echoes the chronology of the play.  In essence, they will create a storyboard.  Then, I will given them a list of 2-3 sentence summaries of each moment, requiring them to match each summary to the correct moment.  As an extension for my stronger students I may even give them a quote for each moment, and see if they can match the relevant quote to the correct moment.

Just prior to commencing examining the film I could play this game again, this time using it as a means of reinforcing students’ knowledge about film techniques.  After getting students to create a table which lists the technique (shot/angle) and effect, I would then get them to find the visual example, matching stills to technique to effect.

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