Shakespeare is cool!

hunter as donkey

I’m sitting here having just received a passionate lecture from Hunter about how the school exercise I created regarding Macbeth doesn’t make sense… It made me smile as I love that he has become so interested and engaged with Shakespeare – definitely not the norm for most kids his age.

In seeking to ensure that he really understood the story that he read a few days ago, I asked him to write a letter from Lady Macbeth to Macbeth about why she was going to kill herself. His immediate reaction was that this didn’t actually happen in the story, that it made no sense to pretend that it happened in the story and then he carried on to lecture me about the entire premise of Macbeth, what happened and why.

Learning objective complete – and he doesn’t even realize it! Big thanks to Aunt Christy, Uncle Sean and the Intrepid Shakespeare Company, who make Shakespeare fun. Last weekend Hunter read the abridged version of Macbeth for kids on Sunday, had Uncle Sean explain the play to him (after having just played Macbeth in their theatre production) and then got to see a school production live on Monday afternoon. The end result being that he intimately understands the story and likes it. He also spent time helping with some filming that the team was doing and enjoyed dressing up as Bottom (Midsummer), Puck (Midsummer), Harry Potter and a Businessman (just because).

We have been really lucky as we have had a front row seat to theatre, thanks to the family connection, and this has made Shakespeare interesting, cool and fairly every day to Hunter. It has also really re-enforced for me the idea that “how” you learn something can make a real difference in what you actually learn and your view of the topic/content.

Hunter learned about Midsummer Night’s Dream when they tackled it at their Montessori School last year (thanks to their teacher Dominic who is also passionate about Shakespeare), and also got to see it live when we visited San Diego (January 2013). At that same time, Intrepid was in rehearsal for Hamlet so we read that book and got to watch it coming together in real life. Hunter went to many rehearsals and thought that the fight choreography was the best part.

I will say that our interest in Shakespeare is certainly helped by the fact that the man liked to write about battles and fights and death and there are a lot of weapons, of various forms, used throughout his plays.

We’re moving on to read the Tempest next week so we can take advantage of Uncle Sean and his ability to teach the in’s and out’s of Shakespeare. Maybe we’ll enlist the cousins and put on a mini version of the play so everyone can share in the fun!

Shameless plug for Intrepid Shakespeare – study after study has shown that exposure to live theatre has a positive impact on kids ability to learn, read and communicate. Never mind how it brings classics to life and expands kids perspective on the world. Intrepid has an amazing school program. They happily take donations for anyone that wants to contribute to their school program so they can take it to underprivileged schools that can’t afford to pay 🙂

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