I love a bit of Shakespeare. Even more so when I can see that a group of junior school children are equally lapping it up. To end last week, we had a debate: Who is responsible for the death of King Duncan?
We spent some time looking at persuasive language and how to structure a one-sided argument. We also looked at how to counter an argument; the vocabulary used and the way in which you could pick at your faults and negative aspects if you can then use them to strengthen your original case. The children already knew the story of Macbeth very well by now and used the Andrew Matthews’ Shakespeare stories as our text – very useful, even in KS3, I think.
After looking at the evidence, my group decided that four possible people were responsible: the meddling, deceitful wyrd sisters, the manipulative Lady Macbeth, the heroic-but-flawed Macbeth or the dopey guards…
They each had their own group (a 4-sided dice determined their fate) and they had to put together an argument for their ‘client’. They had two tasks: prove their client’s innocence and pin the blame/responsibility on someone else.
The TA took a small group of three to be the judge and jury. They had to listen to all the evidence before them (they were not allowed to take anything not heard into consideration – even though they knew it from the story) and had to listen to how persuasive they were too. Finally, behind closed doors, they made their decision.
This year, Lady Macbeth was found to be responsible. In previous years, it has been Macbeth himself and the Witches.
Such a fantastic few lessons, the children learnt so much, enjoyed it tremendously and were brilliant on the Friday.