Shakespeare Work in the MYP

Secondary

Grade 7 Language and Literature is reading King of Shadows – a play in which a student in modern times travels back in time to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Introducing English students to the language of Shakespeare, this play ultimately provides students with an accessible foundation so that they are prepared for deeper study of the Bard as they progress through Secondary School. The play follows the character of Nat who arrives in London with his class from the United States but finds himself walking along the streets of London in 1599 in the direction of the Globe, where he is soon under the direction of Will Shakespeare himself.

Students are encouraged to tap into their creative selves while reading this play, and they absolutely have taken this opportunity to channel their roles. They are trying different accents, switching between Nat’s American accent, a modern London accent, and then- of course- Shakespeare’s English. Students have had the opportunity to choose different roles and have made even the most minor characters funny and relatable- demonstrating that there are no small roles in Drama.

Juraj (7A) describes the act of reading the play as engaging because “we get to see how the language has changed since Shakespeare’s time.” Similarly, Ana (7A) reports that the play “is a fun and educational way to learn about Shakespeare” and that reading it in character helps the class to understand more.

Reading King of Shadows in Grade 7 supports the study of Much Ado About Nothing in Grade 8 and Romeo and Juliet in Grade 9. The Grade 7 students’ enthusiasm this year signals continued curiosity for drama and Shakespeare next year and beyond! In fact, if you, the reader, had stepped into the library this morning during free reading time, you would have immediately felt the energy from some students who chose to carry on reading the King of Shadows independently. Students jumped into action and transported the library to Elizabethan times by playing classical music in the background and vigorously and passionately conducting a reading of the play. The actors independently explored their challenging roles in an entertaining and creative manner!

Shannon Aissen
MYP Language and Literature

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