A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School
50 Lesson Plans using Drama
By John Doona
Routledge – 2012 – 178 pages
Shakespeare is one of our key historical figures but so often he remains locked behind glass and hard to reach. The purpose of this book is to unlock Shakespeare, to remove the tag of ‘high art’ that has surrounded his work and return him to the heart of popular culture where his plays began in the first place. In his foreword, playwright Edward Bond says of A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School, ‘It is written with knowledge and experience of its subject – but also with the knowledge of the young people with whom that experience was shared‘.
John Doona will inspire and motivate pupils and teachers alike to engage with Shakespeare in a fresh and accessible manner and provide clear, tried and tested schemes of work which demonstrate how engagement with the plays and their language can have a dramatic impact on children’s literacy and writing. As well as providing practical guidance to classroom delivery and performance, techniques, approaches and attitudes, this handbook also promotes learning outcomes linked to literacy targets and cross-curricular units of learning.
The central chapters of the book form a comprehensive cross-curricular unit of work on four specific plays – The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet – providing background notes and historical facts linked to the plays, along with comprehensive schemes of work for immediate implementation and ideas for generating performance.
Features unique to this resource include:-
- Free electronic ‘info-blasts’ to all book buyers containing electronic versions of key elements of the book as well as additional resources and lesson plans
- Drama for the Petrified - A crash course for teachers in the techniques, approaches and attitudes required to bring Shakespeare to life
- A chapter on Shakespeare and his life, including ‘Five minute Will’ a short comic scripted account of his life
- Comprehensive schemes of work, each including a Teachers’ Crib Sheet, Story Whoosh!, Story Jigsaw, Scheme Structure Map, edited scenes and additional classroom resources
A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School is an essential resource for all primary teachers, trainee teachers and drama practitioners, offering guidance, insight and compelling schemes of work for the study of Shakespeare through drama in the primary classroom.
"John Doona is an artist and a teacher of exceptional quality. He brings both artistic and human integrity to a wide range of drama work from the classroom to performance of the highest standards. His significant practice is firmly rooted in principle and knowledge of
drama and children and young people. I recommend him to you as an exceptional and effective teacher and practitioner."
Professor Jonathan Neelands, Professor of Drama and Theatre Education, WBS Professor of Creative Education, Lead Academic RSC/Warwick Centre for Teaching Shakespeare, University of Warwick
"John Doona has followed up his imaginative take on Shakespeare for the Primary School with this practical resource, chock-a-block with ideas … The detailed explanation of each lesson coupled with the wide range of topics makes the book suitable for the novice as well as the most seasoned drama practitioner … Luckily, with the help of books like this, drama is still available to the creative teacher as a tool to motivate learning and understanding."
David Farmer, September 2012, DramaResource.com
Foreword: A Playwright’s Introduction: Edward Bond
Preface: Author’s Introduction
Part One: Drama For The Petrified: A Crash Course
Chapter 1: Why Drama?
Chapter 2: Conventions and Techniques
Chapter 3: Working with Drama; practical advice
Part Two: The Schemes
Chapter 4: Shakespeare and his work
Chapter 5: The Tempest
Chapter 6: Macbeth
Chapter 7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Chapter 8: Romeo and Juliet
Afterword: Notes for a Festival
Bibliography and further reading
John Doona is the creator and director of the Children’s Shakespeare Festivals, a series of projects now in its fourth year. He is a qualified Advanced Skills Teacher with a wide experience of secondary and primary Drama practice, a Visiting Lecturer in Drama at the University of Chester, and a professional writer; with dramatic work broadcast on Radio 4 and performed by the Royal Court Young People's Theatre and elsewhere.