This article outlines a plan for introducing Shakespeare to elementary students using, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
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A Midsummer Night's Dream is a fun play to do with kids. The play deals with fairies (something children rather love and are intrigued by), romance, and a mischief maker named Puck. It is a great play to end the Shakespeare study with because it is so lighthearted.
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Again you will want to choose Bruce Coville's adaptation A Midsummer Night's Dream (ISBN 0803717849) which has one of the best retelling for kids. If you wish, you may want to have Lois Burkett's Midsummer Night's Dream for Kids (1552091244) on hand for its activity suggestions. It may also be fun to have Mary Pope Osborne's Stage Fright on a Summer Night (ISBN 037580611) handy for fun.
For the project associated with A Midsummer Night's Dream, you will want to have pipe cleaners and tissue paper on hand, as well as some construction paper, scissors and glue.
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The Week's Plan
Day One: Read the student's A Midsummer Night's Dream. If you have been following the costume suggestions, and you have access to them, wear a pair of fairy wings, or a crown in order to help set the mood. Once you have read the play to the students, discuss the themes, plot, and characters of the story.
Day Two: Have students make fairies. Use pipe cleaners for the body and outline of the wings, and then glue tissue paper to pipe cleaner that has been twisted in the shapes for wings. They can either create fairies out of the story or they can make their own fairies up.
Day Three: Have children present fairies to the rest of the class. If the children made up their own, then have each child tell a brief story to the class about the character they created.
Day Four: Use this day to talk more about the themes of the story. Discuss the importance of being true to oneself. Also talk about the theme of love. There are many kinds of love - love for parents, love for children, love for friends, romantic love, etc. If you have the children do homework, then have them write about the different kinds of love they experience in their lives.
Day Five: Take a final day to wrap up the study of Shakespeare in your classroom and to review the plays your class has studied during the unit (you can also watch an online video - see references below). Answer any questions.