Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey, You Guys...

The more things change....

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" was written in the early 1590s. It's no small wonder Shakespeare's plays endure, as our humanness gallops wildly, century over century — yet advances minimally, if at all.

Here's what I know after six years of working with children:

  • Girls gang up in cliques and use words as weapons.

  • Boys elbow, kick and jab with grunts.

  • Girls like to keep a tidy desk, draw curlicues and can sit up straight when asked.

  • Boys learn best on their feet and cannot quite recognize the difference between a neat work area and a messy one.

Everyone wants power. Everyone wants love. Everyone wants revenge.

William Shakespeare knew this, and even schoolchildren can identify with the desires of his characters.

Hermia and Helena are best friends:

...So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Act III; Scene II

Until it all falls apart over a couple of guys.

I asked the kids to write of friendship, to write of when they longed for love and of when they felt left out.

Not only did they compose thoughts in their journals, but they stood courageously and read their words aloud to each other.

"Look around the room right now," I instructed. "This is your other family. When you perform the play, Ms. Rachel and I will not be onstage with you to solve problems. You will depend on each other."

And so they do, and so they did, and so they can.

Friendship is when someone is your friend. Usually in friendship you have fights, but make up and you have a realasionship with them. I have a lot of best friends so its kind of hard to choose one of my best friends because I don't want to.
—Bridget, 3rd grade

Friendship is being honest with your friend. Being nice, polight, and caring. You be interested in things your frend is experionsing good or bad. Friendship is well...being friendly and friend like.
—Rebecca, 3rd grade

One time I wanted love was when I had my reletives come over and was a very mature party and no one payed attention to me and to my cosins and I wanted them to give me love and attention.
—Bailey, 4th grade

I wanted love when my mom threw all my halloween candy in the trash. I thought she didn't love me and my brothers.
—Sam, 4th grade

When I was left out of kickball when I was 6. Nobody wanted to have me on there team. They picked every body exzept me and my friend Jeremy. Exept we had fun playing tether ball by are self.
—Peter, 3rd grade

A time when I felt left out was when every one was playing a game and I asked can I play and they said No, it made me feel left out and I would ask and ask until they finally said yes.
—Kamili, 5th grade

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