When we arrived at Higher Achievement last week, we met with our group of 16 fifth graders, split evenly with boys and girls. We started off the meeting with a fun name game and then proceeded to ask them what they knew about Shakespeare. In terms of behavior, they were a little eager and we often had to ask them to stop talking or sit back down in their seats. However, I did appreciate their enthusiasm for the play when we started discussing characters. They were so eager and many were exclaiming that they wanted to have leading roles. After explaining the basic plot summary to all of them, we then read off a list of the characters and asked for volunteers who would want to play each one. Every character had a volunteer and since we had extra kids, we doubled up on parts and we are considering adding more characters from other acts of the play into our act. Overall, I think our first meeting with the kids went really well. This group may be hard to keep focused and on task, but with the three of us I think we will be able to manage it and I think once we get started with lines and props, their enthusiasm to perform will help the kids remain on task.

Our group went on our first visit this past week. We found out we are working with about 16 fifth graders. They are quite the group but it should always be energetic and fun. As it was just our first visit we did introductions so that we could get to know all the students. We then did a short review of who Shakespeare was and what plays are. The three of us also tried, and it is not easy, to describe the plot of the play to the group of fifth graders. They were starting to understand what would be happening in act 1 but we will have to do much more explaining so that they continue to better understand their characters.

After our description of the play we went over the list of characters in our act and did our best to describe them to the students. We then gave out the parts to the kids based on who they wanted to be. There wasn’t many problems on giving out roles and we came up with solutions to help solve any issues. That means two boys will be playing two parts together and we will have a few extra mechanicals in act 1! Next week we plan on giving out the scripts to gage how difficult the reading is for them and seeing if we need to cut more for them. The students seem interested and excited about the chance to be in the play, which is a positive for us.