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28 October 2014

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Teachers' Notes - How to write your 60 Second Shakespeare

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To accompany the website, ICT Advanced Skills Teacher Paul Sibson has written a set of Teacher's Notes.

This section suggests ways to approach writing a 60 Second Shakespeare film or audio in the classroom.

Session one: Familiarise students with a Shakespeare play
Time taken: one session of approximately one hour.

When starting to write 60 second Shakespeare plays with children it is recommended that you use a play which the children are already familiar with.

Remind the children about the play by watching a video, going to a performance or as a last resort reading it!

Although you may not want to limit children in their choice of play, too many options choice here may make it hard to focus the children's learning and bring the different interpretations together.

See Teacher's notes - Shakespeare's plays, themes and characters for more ideas on how to explore the themes of Shakespeare's plays.

Session two: write the story
Time taken: one session of approximately one hour.

Before asking the students to start writing, use some of the ideas in Teacher's notes - Shakespeare's plays, themes and characters to delve a bit deeper in to Shakespeare.

As all teachers know, children have wonderful imaginations and they will very quickly come up with some fabulous ideas for how to retell one of Shakespeare's plays in just 60 seconds. However, it is a good idea to keep the ideas grounded and realistic if the children are guided towards choosing one of three themes to explore:

  1. Just do the key scenes to tell the basic story in 60 seconds.
  2. Pick a scene to do in 60 seconds and adapt it/ dramatise it so that it works as a story in its own right.
  3. Take the main theme of the play and adapt to a familiar scenario. E.g. being told you cannot see boyfriend/ girlfriend by parents - decide to see them anyway, what could be the consequences?
Students will need to consider a few limitations when they are planning their work -
  • They will only have props and costumes that they or the school can provide
  • They do not have a Hollywood budget and therefore are unlikely to be able to use a variety of special effects (although editing software can produce some surprisingly simple and impressive effects)
  • If the want to use music in their play it must be copyright free. So they either need to use copyright free music from the BBC website or make their own.
  • They only have 60 seconds - they need to use this time well if they are going to tell their story in a way that makes sense to the audience.
Session three: plan how the story becomes a film or audio
Time taken: one session of approximately one hour.

Once the pupils have a basic idea of what story they want to tell it is useful to get these ideas down on paper in a visual format.

This is the first step towards storyboarding and will help ensure that timings are realistic and that the story will make sense.

Story boards can be drawn or done with a series of freeze frame photographs to give a guide to the sequence of events and what they might look like on screen.

Take a look at some 60 Second Shakespeare photostories for inspiration.


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