As a classroom teacher, one thing I am constantly amazed at is the level of creativity I see daily from my students. This semester, especially, has been a real joy to teach as I have many highly creative students who enjoy showing off their imaginative side and are excited to ‘try something new’ (which is a GREAT bonus for me!). We are currently studying Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and have recently finished reading Act 1V.
For many students, Shakespeare is dry, boring, out-dated and seems like a complete waste of time, but I hope that I am instilling an appreciation for the Bard through my differentiated instruction based lessons and assessments. The most recent task is that I have asked of the students is to work together in small groups to create a soundtrack for the play. They are then to choose one of the songs and make a music video that somehow connects to Romeo and Juliet. The students had a work period yesterday and even though my classroom sounded like Much Music or MTV, I overheard some really good conversations. The students had to compromise on songs, and in the process had to defend their rationale to the other members of the group. I heard students quoting lyrics of the songs, lines of the play and discussions around the tone or atmosphere being suited to a particular time in the play. It was wonderful!
Another wonderful aspect was listening to them plan their music videos. Some groups are planning on summarizing the plot line through their video while others are focusing on the themes of love and violence, while others asked if they could change the lyrics of the song to spoof both the play and the original song. The conversations were absolutely fantastic!
The best part, however, of the class was watching the excitement of the students! They were so keen to begin that they quickly said ‘hi’ to me as they came in the doors and immediately settled in for the class. They were laughing, debating and learning – it was amazing! It yet again reaffirms my belief that learning should be fun and by giving them this creative outlet, the students were excited to learn about Shakespeare and wanted to come to class. As a teacher, it’s truly a wonderful feeling!
Juliet’s Balcony courtesy of Mao