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Who is responsible for the death of King Duncan?

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.

There are a few photos of them in action HERE.

Related posts:

Macbeth: the making of a monster

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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Literacy

 

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Shoved-In-Clause: The Response

An ode to Mr Waldram – a response to his Shoved-in-clause ‘song’

Written by Mrs S Green & Mrs S Mitchell

You better try hard to make your words rhyme,

The ones you gave us are way out of time

Shoved in clause was harder this time!

We took a simple sentence,

Just like our teacher said

But the way he made his words rhyme

It made us scratch our heads. Oh…

You better try hard to make your words rhyme,

The ones you gave us are way out of time

Shoved in clause was harder this time!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Literacy

 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster III

As if my already frazzled mind doesn’t have enough to cope with, I decide to get involved with lights. I mean, what I know about lighting rigs is probably not worth knowing, right?

 

It comes to me an hour before I’m to leave for half-term that the old and dusty rig we currently have (3 redundant spots facing the wrong direction) is to be replaced in our week’s break. Good news, I hear you say. You’d be right, constant blogger, for this year’s Monster, a decent lighting rig is going to add all the ambience and shadows we need. It will turn our Macbeth, Banquo and Macduff into the eerie, terrifying creatures they are, and as for the Wyrd Sisters…

 

I know nothing about spotlights, apart from that I’d like different gels (colour plates, for the uninitiated) and a dimmer switch for each. Apparently, that turns the job into a mega operation. What do I know, I struggle with re-wiring a plug! So, why was I =desperately scrabbling around with our brilliant site manager and fantastic bursar to negotiate a deal for said lights? Because I know it’ll be worth it. And here’s me thinking the director’s role was just yelling at the children: “louder, faster, more intense…” Hmm, perhaps not.

 

Lights (with new positions, gels and a dimmer please), camera, action…

 
 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster II

Half-term is here, phew, time to breathe a sigh of relief. Thank goodness, one more block to go… Not so for me, constant blogger. For me, the end of this half-term simply means we are closer to the end, which means closer to unleashing the monster. A monster that is by no means even remotely tamed and ready for the summer!

 

Since last you read, both auditions have taken place and casting is set. Sure, there may have been a few upsets with children not getting the role they initially desired but now, they are up for the challenge – which is good, because a challenge it will most certainly be.

 

We get back after half-term on the 11th June to a frantic, transition-filled week (we feed to 12 different schools this year) and final preparations for our residential (we head for northern France on the Thursday). We get back on the Monday of the following week for more mayhem involving sports day prep (there’s that other big event in London this year…) more transition and the occasional game of rounders whilst we try to fit in much-needed rehearsal times.

 

I figure, we have 16 days (!) before the big unveiling and a mere 13 or so before our first dress rehearsal. That’s right, 13 days before a group of eleven-year olds and a frazzled teacher attempt to put on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, arguably one of his most challenging and iconic plays.

 

Easy.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Thoughts & Musings

 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster

So, summer term is here and with it come all the trappings of madness, mayhem, musicals, moving on and… monsters. Last year, Team Six put on a show-stopping performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Admittedly, it was the S4K’s version, but, nevertheless it was still a monumental challenge for our 11-year-olds to step up to.

 

Some junior schools do touch upon Shakespeare in year six (some earlier) and they may embrace Romeo & Juliet, flirt with AMSND or get dark and moody with Macbeth – we did all three. And The Tempest too. Our children loved it, they found the language difficult (who doesn’t?) but they adored the characters; they found the plots, the twists, the tragedies and the imagery totally spellbinding. So, I foolishly (after seeing a live version of it in Wolverhampton with the children) decided that AMSND would be our end-of-year performance. What a stroke of genius/madness that turned out to be. Despite the exhausting nature of putting on performance, the visit from our friends, transition, leavers’ discos/ball/prizegivings et al, it was still a thrill to see these young children tackle Shakespeare and to do it so well.

 

I cannot take all the credit, to do so would be a dis-service to the team. It was a whole team effort and nobody takes more credit than the children themselves – they were astonishing. The songs, costumes, acting and general performance left parents in tears of joy, sadness and amazement.

 

How then do we top last year’s? What to do to continue in the wake of such a marvellous production? I did toy with the idea of putting on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I’ve done it before and that too was excellent. But, after a short discussion and with this year group in mind, we settled for the metaphorical monster that is Macbeth.

 

We have a smaller cohort than last year (60:75) and there is a serious lack of girlpower but, Macbeth it is. Auditions begin this Friday with some of the team watching out for who has the deceitful powers of Lady Macbeth, the raw strength and poise of Macduff amd the ability to twist and turn in the skin of the titular role.

 

So hold on, buckle up and check in. This summer term is going to be a monster of a ride.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Literacy, Thoughts & Musings

 

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Things I’ve learnt part III

So, I’ve not posted for a while – been a bit hectic over at Waldram Towers. Sarah (The Wife) has started work part-time on a temporary basis. Thankfully it’s at a school she knows; one that we met at (arrrr x) so she should be settling in well. However, she does have the treat of year 6! I guess the eqiuivalent would be if I had to go and teach the ankle biters for a few weeks. I think I’d give myself a generous 3 or 4 minutes before I imploded/exploded or just went insane!

So, busy at the ranch, busy at school and busy all over – not much time to check in and blog on. I am currently writing this before the bedtime routine starts and both children are busy watching the Purple One. Yup, it aint my choice, I try not to think about Him anymore… the stuff of nightmares. True Story.

What have I learnt then since our last digital outing? I am not quite the agile and fit young man of my youth (yes mum, I know you would disagree, as would you Woodings!) I think playing tag rugby with my class today highlights that, one of my boys, JT, neatly side-stepped me and my mind was willing but my ankle wasn’t.

CRUNCH!

OUCH!

GAME OVER!

Lesson 1 – In the words of Murtagh, I’m too old for this …

What also amused me this week was Monday night. I cooked tea for the family, Sarah was working late, we had a roast chicken with veg and the rest – very tasty, even if I do say so myself. Beth and I were talking and when her attention was diverted, Sam plucked up his carrots and neatly deposited them on Beth’s plate. A neat move. The only thing that let it down was that he didn’t replace the carrots with one of her roast potatoes… he has much to learn.

Lesson 2 – the Boy doesn’t like carrots

The class blog – 6BW – is on fire. Quadblogging is proving to be great fun, loads of visits, comments and posts. The children are really engaged in what they are doing. It’s fantastic to see how enthused they are and how instant a line of communication can be made between 4 schools (5 if you include the one I have set up with South Wingfield – the wife’s current posting).

Lesson 3 – Blog’s rule.

Ok, the Purple One is singing and my ears are bleeding.

Keep reading and I’ll keep blogging. Smooches.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Thoughts & Musings

 

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