Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair - Teaching that Scottish Play

While Othello is a close second, I just have so much more fun with Macbeth than any of Shakespeare's other plays.  Here are a few suggestions for ramping up your teaching of it, if you're game:

1. Judge a book by its cover - Show them these covers/drama posters for Macbeth and let them point out what they think is going to happen  These covers will also give them clues to what imagery to look out for when reading the play.

2. GET A FOG MACHINE - borrow it from your drama or dance teacher at your school.  Buy one at Wal-Mart during Halloween time.  For that matter, you can pick up a jug of fog juice cheap in the Halloween section at Wal-mart.  Get one for yourself and one to give to the teacher you borrowed it from.  Then, when it is time to read the first scene, wait for the narrator to read the setting and hit the button (works even better if the kids don't know it is coming).  Voila!  Perfect setting.  I also suggest letting your hall and principals know what is going on so that no one reports a fire on the hall (fog machines do not set off smoke alarms).  Yes, that I learned that the hard way.

3. Watch three interpretations of Act I scene i -  After reading the scene, let them watch these three movie versions of scene one and have them tell you which is more effective:

4. Point out that it is cursed -   If you are teaching seniors, let it drop that you hope this doesn't interfere with their graduation....  If you want some good information on the curse, listen to this podcast from Stuff You Missed in History Class.  It is only 20 minutes long and you can skip the first 2 and a half minutes if you want to jump right on into the curse discussion.

5. Encourage in-character reading - When reading out loud, offer something to the kid who reads his/her part with the most enthusiasm.  I offer team points (their teams compete against each other throughout the semester), but if you aren't doing teams in your class, modest extra credit, a point on the test, anything.  This way kids put more effort into the part and you have less boring, blah, blah, blah readers.  Also, try making one of the reading parts sound effects.  Every so often, you;ll get a kid who will really go all out to add sounds of people entering/exiting, owls, battle sounds, etc.

6. HAVE FUN!  Otherwise, why teach it?

What do you do to bring the play to life in your class?

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