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St John XXIII Catholic Primary School Inspiring Faith in our Future

Shakespeare Fortnight April 2021

Year 1 explored the play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Lesson 1 and 2 explored the objective of talking about the life of William Shakespeare. The pupils watched videos and explored key facts at their tables. Each table explored a different theme e.g. early life, plays, family, places you can visit today, words we use today which he created etc. Lesson 2 was Oracy based where the groups each shared their posters with the class and discussed what they had learnt. 


A Midsummer Night's Dream - We took part in a virtual workshop linked to the play. Pupils had fun joining in, acting as fairies and learning a song about the character of Bottom. We also had a go at expressing different feelings. Following the workshop, pupils were much more familiar with the play and were able to identify the different characters in the play, writing descriptive sentences about their favourite character. 


Dreams - inspired by this theme of the play, we wrote out our aspirations and dreams for a class dream jar.


Visualisation - I read the ending of the play to the class focusing in on the ending 'the whole company at last, restored to perfect harmony.' Pupils drew an image to represent this and then filled in speech bubbles showing what they thought the characters were thinking, saying or feeling. 

Year 2 focused on the story of The Tempest. We acted out the story as a class and made our own comic strip to re-tell the famous tale. We also made a soundscape of what the storm might sound like using our bodies as percussion and we created some stormy artwork using white crayon and water colours.

Year 3 learned about Othello which is a story about a Moor and deceit. In Othello, a moor (Othello) becomes general and falls in love with a nobleman's daughter. Another general (Iago) in the army is jealous and wants to destroy Othello. Iago plots to set up Othello's wife (Desdemona) and a member of the army (Cassio) so that Othello thinks Desdemona is cheating on him. Iago does this to also takes Cassio's job as he is a lieutenant to Othello. In the end Othello kills Desdemona for cheating on him and when he finds out it was a lie, he kills himself. Cassio is also killed within the played and inevitably Iago gets arrested. 

Year 4 focused on A Midsummer Night’s Dream linking to their Tudor history unit. We learnt about Shakespeare’s life and the history of the globe before moving onto the play. We predicted what our story would be about and then created freeze frames based on each scene from the play. We ended the  unit with children learning lines off by heart and dramatizing their scene to perform a re-enactment of the play to an audience.   


Children’s comments:

Ariana- enjoyed the play and rehearsals, liked wearing the costumes as it set the scene and made it feel like a real performance

Lillian- liked making freeze frames because even though it was a big text they still managed to explain it all in one move

Soliana-  enjoyed acting in the play, getting to try out new characters and copy the scrip when creating voices and expressions

Ethan- he enjoyed writing the biography because he found out lots of new information about Shakespeare and his life, he remembers that he had his own theatre called the globe created

Zara- her favourite part was the actual day of the play as it felt good having an audience to perform to and it made her feel that her work was more important

Kamari- liked experimenting with difference expression and tone in voices and actions

Naomi- liked hearing the amazing feedback on their performances as it let her know how well they had been doing in class

In Year 6, they studied Romeo and Juliet. The children used drama and role play to help them explore the language and techniques Shakespeare employed to engage with his audience as well as to ensure that they could understand both the plot and the developing relationships between different characters. In their workshop, the children learned about how Shakespeare wanted his actors to use particular expression and intonation in their voices when they spoke and they also found out that Shakespeare is responsible for inventing some of the words we still use today. Finally, they wrote a soliloquy from Juliet's perspective expressing how she feels.