We first met the Beacon Primary in Liverpool when the school’s Assistant Headteacher booked onto one of our own Teacher CPD Days: Twenty Ways into Shakespeare. She clearly enjoyed – and valued – the experience, because, a little while later, we were invited to visit the school on World Book Day – to work with Years 2 and 4. After some discussions, we were all agreed that what would most excite the children about the books they were reading in their classes would be visits from characters in those books.
So … Year 2 simply could not believe their eyes when The Big Bad Wolf appeared in their classroom – then led them to the Hall for a series of drama activities based on his exploits. And, as they had just started reading his autobiographical “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” (Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith), a lively Q&A session gave them a chance to give the Wolf a thorough grilling (pun unintended)! And Year 4 were similarly entranced when Sir Walter Raleigh waltzed in to whizz them away from their normal literacy lesson – because they’d just finished (and thoroughly enjoyed) the first four chapters of Michael Morpurgo’s “My Friend Walter”!
“Thank you again for your work with Year 2 and Year 4. We’ll get loads of writing out of this!” (Assistant Headteacher)
A few months later, the Assistant Headteacher contacted us again. She’d been exploring “Macbeth” with her Year 6 class – and had successfully used all of the techniques and methodologies that we’d modelled during Twenty Ways into Shakespeare. The children now knew the play inside out – so, with a trip to The Globe looming, she wanted to keep up their interest. Did we have any ideas?
And so was born “Macbeth: What If …?”, a spin on our Popular Shaking Up Shakespeare range of programmes. This lively workshop saw children working in small groups to explore how the play might have altered if certain key moments had been changed. They had to discuss, plan, prepare and perform short dramas based on the “What If …?” cards they were given – but also, and crucially, ensure that they found a way of getting the play back on track towards Shakespeare’s (and history’s) line of succession: Duncan … Macbeth … Malcolm.
“A very enjoyable morning for both the pupils and teacher – very positive feedback from all the children! The workshop not only extended their thinking beyond the book, but also developed their drama skills!” (Assistant Headteacher)