Wednesday, June 23, 2010


When I get letters to the blog, I sometimes post them. Here's one:

I wrote you sometime ago about our class performance of Macbeth. As it turns out the play did very well. The mayor of the city came to watch! I called the children's author Lois Burdett, and she talked to each child individually. These kids are hooked!

I have never seen anything like it! I was hoping that our school could have an after school program or summer program of Shakespeare. That would be a dream come true!

I know you volunteer your time for your after school program and I can see from your website you have inspired so many children!

In this very difficult economy I am going to try to find people who would be willing to back this idea. Right now the children are asking to perform Hamlet when we have a break!! I cannot let this excitement for learning go away. If you have any suggestions, I would be eternally grateful.

I am thrilled by your progress and success. Your passion will get you far and their passion will fuel you. It's all about raising the bar through giant language, characters and plot.

Tell the kids that to be actors they need to exercise and expand their imaginations like they do their muscles when they go to gym class. The best way to do this is by writing. Have them relate to the characters by writing on a play's themes and identifying from their own lives.

The three top themes for Shakespeare's plays are power, love and revenge. Kids understand these. Have them write about when they wanted power, love or revenge.

Boys learn on their feet. They're not wired to learn sitting like girls do. Suggest they get up and share from their writing. It starts the bravery component and soon they will all be grappling to write and to read aloud.

To teach the kids swordplay, line them up in two rows and have them face each other a few feet apart. Assign each move a number and call out each number as the kids practice the moves. They love this. If line "A" wins, line "B" collapses dead. Then reverse it. You can find these basic moves online or in books.

Keep me posted!

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