Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First Grade in Our Home: Shakespeare



Before starting the term, I spent some time reading a few selections from Nesbit's Beautiful Tales from Shakespeare and Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare to compare, and I decided to go with Nesbit for this year.  So far, we have done the plays assigned for Terms 1 and 2 on the AO schedule for Year 1The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's DreamAs You Like It, and The Winter's Tale.  I decided on the advice of some seasoned homeschoolers that instead of the usual read-then-narrate process we do for our other readings, we were going to go through the Nesbit chapters slowly together, stopping to add characters to our story chart as they came up.  I also ask discussion questions as we go along to be sure they are following with me, and they ask me questions as we read too.  Even though Nesbit's stories and casts of characters are much more stream-lined than the originals, I still expected a bit of confusion over some of the plotlines, but they didn't seem to have any problems grasping the stories.  In fact, after the first play, we were able to move at our usual reading pace through the others and to finish each all in one sitting without any problem.

Here's one of the embarrassingly-simple family trees I have drawn during our reading, this one for As You Like It:


Remember how I mentioned regarding my nature notebook that I was no artist?  I wasn't lying!  :) I have seen some lovely examples of character charts from other homeschoolers (and even their children!), and next semester I plan to order this set of puppets as a fun supplement.  But for now, this works pretty well, crude as it is...and I have a feeling that no matter what other options I have on hand, the kids will make me continue my stick-figure illustrations because it's one of their favorite parts of our reading time. ;)

Also, since we do not narrate the plays in the regular fashion, I take them as an opportunity for the kids to do an illustrated narration.  So after we're done with the chapter, they choose a scene they want to draw, and I write their caption-narration.  This is the only book we do this for on a regular basis.  Here are a couple examples, one from each of my first-graders:



My emphasis in graduate school was Renaissance drama and I taught a couple Shakespeare classes, so these readings are naturally a delight to me!  But I wasn't sure what my children were going to think.  I'm very happy to say that my kids are thrilled when a Shakespeare story comes up in the rotation.  They are only scheduled once every six weeks, so it's like a little treat to see them on that week's reading list.  I hope their enthusiasm continues as we read more!

9 comments:

  1. I love your stick figure drawings. Very useful, actually. I'm taking notes for next year! :)

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  2. These look great Celeste. I've had my kids each keep a Shakespeare lesson book for drawing narrations and/or some written words. They're fun to look back at.

    Did you see this YouTube video of a Shakespeare narration? The mom has the puppets you linked too. They look fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35272fD0KN8&feature=channel&list=UL

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  3. Hi, Celeste!
    Thanks for the comment over on my blog. So nice of you to drop by.

    It is interesting that you chose Nesbit over Lamb's. I am wondering why?
    I have not yet purchased Nesbit, but I do have Lambs so i'd be curious to hear your response. I have really enjoyed Shakespeare with our homeschool group!
    Bobby Jo

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    1. Hi Bobby Jo--I chose Nesbit over Lamb because I thought it was a bit simpler on a sentence level. Nesbit seems to be the popular choice for the first couple years, switching over to Lamb in the next couple years, and then moving along to the "real thing," and I can see why. The language is just a little simpler and the chapters are shorter, and when reading through it, I felt like it was a better fit for my first-graders. Both are available for free online, so if you wanted to you could read a chapter or two side by side to compare. Thanks for stopping by here too!

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  4. Hello!! I love your blog! Where might I find the Nesbit version for free online? Any help you can offer would be very helpful :-) Thank you so much!

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    1. Hi there! You can read the Nesbit at The Baldwin Project:
      http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=nesbit&book=shakespeare&story=taming

      or at Project Gutenberg:
      http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1430

      There's also a Librivox version:
      http://librivox.org/beautiful-stories-from-shakespeare-by-edith-nesbit/

      Hope that helps--Happy reading! :)

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  5. Did you ever get the puppets? I was considering getting them, but not sure if they were worth it.

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    1. Yes, I did--Ocean Grove order. ;) But I rarely pull them out. We like our stick figure character charts much better. The puppets end up being kind of limited.

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    2. Good to know! Thanks...we'll see how stick figures go.

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