Studying two Shakespeare plays is a requirement of the National Curriculum, and at Kensington School we are always enthusiastic about it. We usually do this comedy, one of the author’s most popular plays that is widely performed. “It’s an approachable story which the students can identify with a bit (romance and comical workmen!)”, states the teacher Ms. Jordison. “This means they can really enjoy it and not just study it.”
In order to reinforce their learning, students are asked to participate in a peculiar project: the elaboration of a Hello! Magazine that tells the story of the play. As the teacher says, it “capitalizes on the extravagant and romantic aspect of the play. But also adds authenticity because they all know what Hola is like: who it’s aimed at, what its main topics are, what it looks like”. Furthermore, they are encouraged to do a little extra: to create adverts (which could feature in Hello) playing with English idioms, a sophisticated task.
The activity presents several positive aspects that help them to learn. First, it allows them to apply and extend what they had done in Year 7 about noun phrases for description. Moreover, it introduces some skills they will revisit in Year 9 which relate to journalistic writing –presenting key information, structuring an article, using quotes from interviewees, etc. It also gets them to practice and extend their Information Technology skills, and, last but not least, it gives them the opportunity to free their creativity and have an enjoyable time.
“I think they enjoy it because they can let their imaginations run wild with the decorations of the palace, the amazing menus and spectacular clothes. They can introduce their favourite celebrities as guests at the wedding. Also, it produces something that is really authentic looking”, comments Ms. Jordison.
This initiative has grown into a bigger project: students have been presenting very short scenes they had learnt, performing them in the garden area behind the school’s main building. And there is more! They are preparing a shadow puppet simplified version of the play that could be shown to either years 4,5 or 6 for Book Day.