lforner


A great week in the classroom!

Thought I would take the opportunity to rant about what a GREAT couple of days I’ve had in the classroom-maybe it will balance out the negativity of some of my other posts!

Over the last few days I have seen my year 11 class really knuckle down and get serious about poetry analysis. Despite my lame attempt to engage them with a home made AFL ball, the students produced mind maps and analysis paragraphs exploring the Australian Voice this week. They worked in groups to formulate thesis statements to guide their writing, and developed analyses which demonstrated just how far they had come in the last year.

What I was really stoked about was the way in which they have developed synthesis skills-something which is towards the top of Blooms hierarchy. It really challenges the assumption that students in standard English can’t produce sophisticated writing. We also spent a bit of time yesterday reflecting upon their writing style, including what they did well, what they found hard, and some of the ways I can provide more support for their writing. Students went away with a task to set personal goals for their writing, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

My year 9 class this week also wowed me with their creativity and enthusiasm for their group products; they came up with some brilliant ideas to stage a performance of ROMEO AND JULIET for a modern audience, including puppeteering, using shadow, and elaborate set design.

A couple of groups were also working hard to source a real world audience for their performance (sadly I have not heard back from any of the “real world” audience I contacted-clearly don’t hold enough weight in the education sphere!) discussing who they knew that was involved in theatre.

Let’s hope the momentum continues!

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Student creativity rife in Romeo and Juliet unit

I have been blown away by the creativity displayed by students in this unit thus far, and thought I would share some examples with you all out there in the virtual staffroom.

The Sing a Sonnet task (which I have posted in the unit blog post) brought out some wonderful adaptations of Romeo and Juliet’s sonnet in Act 1. Students were required to keep the structure and rhyming pattern of the sonnet, whilst adapting the language and the imagery/symbolism used in the poem. Particularly impressive examples are posted here:

STUDENT 1:

(Romeo and Juliet are chatting on facebook)

Romeo: I have a bad reputation but can I poke you               

              On this wall, but what of your reactions

              My messages sent every minute anew

              To clarify my rash actions

 

Juliet: my friend, you worry too much

           Your simple words show your feelings

           Poke me, it is not a harsh touch

           Poke wars are not uncommon dealings

 

Romeo:  if poke wars are common, isn’t messaging too

 Juliet:  it is indeed with people known well

 

Romeo:  aren’t I known well enough, so please do

               If not my love filled words will not be so swell

 Juliet: I will only reply if the message warrants

 

Romeo:  then they will never be abhorrent

 

 

STUDENT 2:

Romeo- Your hand is like a Pottermore account that I am not skilled enough to acquire.                                  

A girl like you is more valuable than the elder wand                                                                                                 

To make an unbreakable vow with you is my desire.                                                                                                                 

May I have the honour of meeting you at the pond?                                                                                                                                                                                                           .                                                                                                                                                                                            

Juliet-Romeo you are totally skilled enough to get a Pottermore quill.                                                                                        

Because you keep trying to get the magical quill shows much dedication.                                                               

For wizards hold their wands with incredible  skill.                                                                                                                                                  And holding a wand builds up much love and admiration.

Romeo- We both have wands so why don’t we make an unbreakable vow.

Juliet-Wands are for magic not for declaring love.

Romeo-Magic is an awesome thing just like our time together now.                                                                              

Please make this vow with me my turtle-dove.

Juliet- You do not need my wand to make a vow with me.

Romeo- Please grant me your wand so we can be bonded for all eternity.

(Makes unbreakable vow)

 

I also asked students to design a graphic organiser to organise their analysis of each Act of Romeo and Juliet which we had discussed in class. Every group of students came up with an organiser which demonstrated a very complex understanding of the concepts and issues in the play, and also mapped the relationship between elements of the play such as character, plot, themes, stagecraft and language. Students submitted these on paper as they found this easier, so I am unable to upload them here for you to marvel at.

One group with whom I was particularly impressed with designed their graphic organiser as a world map (‘All the world’s a stage’!) and used colours and their knowledge of different countries, seas, and various geographical features to demonstrate various aspects of the play and relationships within the play.

Another group designed their graphic organiser as a snakes and ladders game, using the symbolism of the snake and ladder to indicate whether a relationship between characters was positive or negative, and also to indicate the techniques which are associated with the downward spiralling events of the play.

Other graphic organisers included a tree, a garden and a series of arrows inside arrows.

The take home message for me was that it is astounding how creative kids can be when you let them organise their own knowledge. I would almost bet that their conceptual understanding of the play and the elements of drama is more sound than it would be had they not been involved in categorising and organising the information themselves.