Tag Archives: Drama

Representations of Youth

31 Jul

I am always interested in new ways of engaging my students in Shakespearean texts.  I am also always interested in new ways of teaching these texts.

This year, extending an idea raised by a colleague, my students studied Romeo & Juliet through the lens of representations of youth.  We engaged with key scenes, sought to identify how youth were portrayed and to understand how these representations were constructed.

I began the unit by showing students a number of trailers for Romeo & Juliet appropriations.  For each trailer, students had to identify and account for the characteristics of youth, explain which representations had continued resonance, and explain why particular representations frustrated/angered them.  They also had to identify and explain continuity and change in terms of representation across the trailers.

I found this to be an interesting way of understanding the depth and detail of students’ thought processes.  Some students, for example, saw only the demonstration of romantic passion and suggested it was not an accurate representation of youth today as young people do not fall in love so quickly today.  Others however, looked at romantic passion and saw, instead, young people’s abilities to throw themselves into projects with enthusiasm and commitment, often in service of causes they believe in.  For these students, the representation of passion was then both accurate and as relevant in Romeo and Juliet as in contemporary society.

Orsino’s soundtrack

7 Sep

At the start of Twelfth Night, Orsino is a bit sad because Olivia is not returning his affection.  In a bid to get students to understand Orsino’s mood, I asked them to work in pairs to create a 10-song playlist that reflected Orsino’s mood and emotions.

It was really interesting to watch my students discussing ideas.  Some students wanted to only include songs that reflected Orsino’s sadness and disappointment.  These students selected a number of melancholy songs as well as some love songs.  Other students picked up on Orsino’s desire to alter his mood, and thus sought to include songs which would help Orsino to take his mind off Olivia.  For these students, a few upbeat songs also found their way into the mix.

I was really pleased with my students’ justifications and the way they tried to get into Orsino’s head and accurately represent his complex emotional state.

Lyrical timeline

16 Aug

I have a difficult time convincing my Year 9 students to put aside their headphones and participate in my lessons.  Unable to find a solution, I have decided to embrace my students’ love of music.

We have been studying Romeo and Juliet, and I want my students to demonstrate their understanding of the plot by creating a lyrical timeline of the play.  Students are to identify key sections of the plot and locate a line from a song to represent ideas and emotions at each point.  We will then pool our resources and make a timeline along the wall of our classroom.

I am hoping that this will help students to engage with the events, ideas, experiences and emotions at key moments in the text.  I also hope it will give them a memorable shorthand for the main plot points.

Pairs of texts

31 Mar

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about interesting textual pairings for study as part of a comparative unit.  Many of my ideas are not suitable for my school context or the ability levels of my classes.  However, I do think that, in the right contexts and with the right classes, all could form the basis of interesting and engaging units.

  1. A Lesson Before Dying (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  2. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Freedom Writers (film)
  3. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  4. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Schindler’s List (film)
  5. Americanah (novel) & selected episodes of Black-ish (television series)
  6. A Monster Calls (novel) & Boy (film)
  7. A Monster Calls (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  8. Anzac Girls (television series) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  9. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & For Colored Girls (film)
  10. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & Boy (film)
  11. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel)
  12. Brave New World (novel) & The Crucible (play)
  13. Brave New World (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  14. Brave New World (novel) & V for Vendetta (film)
  15. Briar Rose (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  16. Briar Rose (novel) & Lion (film)
  17. Briar Rose (novel) & Night (autobiography)
  18. Briar Rose (novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  19. Deadline (novel) & Dead Poets Society (film)
  20. Deadline (novel) & The Fault In Our Stars (film)
  21. Deadline (novel) & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (film)
  22. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  23. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  24. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Invictus (film)
  25. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Remember the Titans (films)
  26. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  27. El Deafo (graphic novel) & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel)
  28. Etiquette and Espionage (novel) & Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (film)
  29. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & After the Storm (film)
  30. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & 11’09’01 (collection of short films)
  31. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & Lion (film)
  32. Face (novel) & The Intouchables (film)
  33. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & Persepolis (graphic novel or film)
  34. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & V For Vendetta (film)
  35. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & Mustang (film)
  36. Frankenstein (novel) & Frankenweenie (film)
  37. Frankenstein (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  38. Frankenstein (novel) & The Rocky Horror Picture Show (film)
  39. Girl Rising (film) & Poetry of Maya Angelou (poetry)
  40. Hamlet (play) & Nutshell (novel)
  41. Hiroshima (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  42. Life of Pi (novel) & Castaway (film)
  43. Lord of the Flies (novel) & Where the Wild Things Are (film)
  44. Lord of the Flies (novel) & The Hunger Games (film)
  45. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Designated Survivor (television series)
  46. Macbeth (play) & The Dressmaker (film)
  47. Macbeth (play) & The Gods of Wheat Street (television series)
  48. Maus (graphic novel) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  49. Maus (graphic novel) & Night (autobiography)
  50. Maus (graphic novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  51. March (novel) & Little Wome(novel)
  52. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (novel) & The Fault in Our Stars (film)
  53. Night (autobiography) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  54. Night (autobiography) & Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography)
  55. Night (autobiography) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  56. Night (autobiography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  57. Night (autobiography) & The Seven Stages of Grieving (play)
  58. Nona and Me (novel) & Looking for Alibrandi (film)
  59. Nona and Me (novel) & September (film)
  60. Of Mice and Men (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  61. Othello (play) & V For Vendetta (film)
  62. Othello (play) & Gone Girl (film)
  63. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  64. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Lion (film)
  65. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Maus (graphic novel)
  66. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Night (autobiography)
  67. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  68. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bride and Prejudice (film)
  69. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bridget Jones’s Diary (film)
  70. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Mustang (film)
  71. Refugee Boy (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  72. Refugee Boy (novel) & The African Doctor (film)
  73. Refugee Boy (novel) & The Arrival (picture book)
  74. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Alex and Eve (film)
  75. Romeo & Juliet (play) & A United Kingdom (film)
  76. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  77. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Hairspray (film)
  78. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Meet the Patels (film)
  79. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Mustang (film)
  80. Romeo & Juliet (play) & My Big Fat Greek Wedding (film)
  81. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Tanna (film)
  82. Romeo & Juliet (play) & The Fault in Our Stars (film or novel)
  83. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Titanic (film)
  84. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Viceroy’s House (film)
  85. Romeo & Juliet (play) & West Side Story (film)
  86. Scattered Lives (play) & Americannah (novel)
  87. Scattered Lives (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  88. Scattered Lives (play) & Looking for Alibrandi (novel)
  89. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Peter Skrzynecki (poetry)
  90. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  91. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  92. Schindler’s Ark (novel) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  93. Speak (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  94. Stargirl (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  95. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  96. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (memoir) & Queen of Katwe (film)
  97. The Color Purple (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  98. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  99. The Dreamer (novel) & Billy Elliot (film)
  100. The First Third (novel) & Boy (film)
  101. The Fault in Our Stars (novel) & Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (film)
  102. The Help (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  103. The Help (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  104. The Help (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  105. The Outsiders (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  106. The Outsiders (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  107. The Outsiders (novel) & Yolngu Boy (film)
  108. The Rabbits (picture book) & Deadly, Unna? (novel)
  109. The Rabbits (picture book) & Poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (poetry)
  110. The Rabbits (picture book) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  111. The Scarlet Letter (novel) & Easy A (film)
  112. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & The Real Inspector Hound (play)
  113. The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  114. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (novel) & Hamlet (play or film)
  115. The Kite Runner (novel) & Big Fish (film)
  116. The Kite Runner (novel) & Boy (film)
  117. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  118. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  119. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Poetry of Langston Hughes (poetry)
  120. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  121. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  122. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  123. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Help (film)
  124. To This Day (graphic novel) & Wonder (novel)
  125. To This Day (graphic novel) & Face (novel)
  126. Vernon God Little (novel) & Elephant (film)
  127. Voices from Chernobyl (non-fiction) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  128. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  129. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)

Scattered Lives

23 May

I recently came across a play entitled Scattered Lives by Sally McKenzie.  The play presents the stories of refugees who seek refuge in Australia, and explores the reasons and circumstances which cause people to flee their homes and settle in Australia.

The play is written in simple and clear language which makes it particularly suitable for a lower ability class, and it would allow students to get their heads around dramatic techniques without being confused by overly complex story lines.

Ideally, I would like to teach this play to a lower ability Year 10 class.  In this imagined world, this text would be the focal point of the unit, with selected pieces of related material chosen to illuminate ideas and reinforce the idea that texts are studied in connection with others.

However, as this is a text that is not one we currently have at school, I think I would likely be forced to select just one scene or story and incorporate it into a different unit.  In this sense, the extract from Scattered Lives would become related material.  While this would reduce students’ access to a rich text, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  Indeed, I could see an extract being a valuable addition to my unit entitled ‘Visions of Australia‘.