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National Strategy - Year 9

The key elements of the English Curriculum (Word Level, Sentence Level, Text Level reading and writing and Speaking and Listening) correspond to the Teaching Shakespeare worksheets in the following ways:

Word and Sentence level work is mostly covered in the Language section which examines how words and grammar have changed in the last 400 years. Some exercises give students the chance to study unfamiliar words and work out meaning through context and relationship with known words, and use of dictionary and thesaurus.

Text level reading and writing activities are to be found in the On paper or computer sections. Many of the suggested activities require students to research related cultural or historical issues, providing opportunity to develop research skills such as skim reading and note-taking. Equal emphasis is placed on creative composition with tasks ranging from writing poetry to sustained imaginative fiction. Where space allows, reminders are given of the need to draft, edit and evaluate, though it is assumed that such procedures are in any case routine.

Speaking and Listening activities are addressed in the Talking points section to be found on almost every worksheet. These provide opportunities to discuss issues arising from each topic. In some instances this might be in paired work, in others in small groups, sometimes informally and sometimes in formal debate.

Within the Speaking and Listening sphere, Drama has a particular focus. The In performance elements offer students the chance to enjoy Shakespeare as drama rather than a purely literary experience. Some drama activities work towards a straight delivery of original Shakespeare, but most are based on role play and some include mime and dance. Many also require students to consider practical aspects of stage production, such as lighting, the use of sound effects or props.

All of the elements of the English curriculum outlined below are covered by the Teaching Shakespeare worksheets. All the books contain the broad elements, but details will vary from play to play. Eg. The Twelfth Night teacher’s resource book has worksheets on puns and nonsense verse, but similar pages will not be found in Teaching Shakespeare: Macbeth, for obvious reasons.

Word level

Spelling strategies

Make use of different kinds of dictionary, thesaurus and spell checker.

Vocabulary

Recognize layers of meaning in the writer’s choice of words, e g. connotation, implied meaning, different types or multiple meanings.

Text level – Writing

Plan, draft and present

Record, develop and evaluate ideas through writing, eg. essays, journals;

Produce formal essays in Standard English within a specified time, writing fluently and legibly and maintaining technical accuracy when writing at speed;

Choose, use and evaluate a range of presentational devices, on paper and on screen.

Imagine, explore and entertain

Explore different ways of opening, structuring and ending narratives and experiment with narrative perspectives, eg. multiple narration;

Exploit the creative and aesthetic features of language in non-literary texts, eg. the use of figurative language or the cadences of sentences;

Write within the discipline of different poetic forms, exploring how form contributes to meaning, eg. different types of sonnet.

Inform, explain, describe

Integrate diverse information into a coherent and comprehensive account;

Make telling use of descriptive detail, eg. eye-witness accounts;

Exploit the potential of presentational devices when presenting information on paper or on screen, eg. font size, text layout, bullet points, italics.

Persuade, argue, advise

Present a case persuasively enough to gain the attention and influence the responses of a specified group of readers;

Make a counter-argument to a view that has been expressed, addressing weaknesses in the argument and addressing alternatives.

Analyse, review, comment

Present a balanced analysis of a situation, text, issue or set of ideas, taking into account a range of evidence and opinions;

Cite specific and relevant textual evidence to justify critical judgments about texts.

Text Level – Reading

Research and study skills

Synthesize information from a range of sources, shaping material to meet the reader’s needs.

Reading for meaning

Compare the presentation of ideas, values or emotions in related or contrasting texts.

Understanding the author’s craft

Compare themes or styles of two writers from different times;

Comment on interpretations of the same text or idea in different media, using terms appropriate for critical analysis;

Analyse and discuss the use made of rhetorical devices in a text.

Study of literary texts

Analyse the language, form and dramatic impact of scenes and plays by published dramatists;

Extend their understanding of literary heritage by relating major writers to their historical context, and explaining their appeal over time;

Compare the themes and styles of two or more major poets.

Sentence level

Sentence construction and punctuation

Write with differing degrees of formality, relating vocabulary and grammar to context;

Integrate speech, reference and quotation effectively into what they write.

Standard English and language variation

Write sustained Standard English with the formality suited to reader and purpose;

Investigate ways English has changed over time and identify current trends of language change, eg. word meanings.

Speaking and listening

Speaking

Use Standard English to explain, explore or justify an idea;

Develop interview techniques which include planning a series of linked questions, helping the respondent to give useful answers, responding to and extending the responses.

Listening

Compare different points of view that have been expressed, identifying and evaluating differences and similarities;

Analyse bias, eg. through the use of deliberate ambiguity, omission, abuse of evidence;

Identify the underlying themes, implications and issues raised by a talk, reading or programme.

Drama

Use a range of drama techniques, including work in role, to explore issues, ideas and meanings eg. by playing out hypotheses, by changing perspectives;

Develop and compare different interpretations of scenes or plays by Shakespeare and other dramatists;

Convey action, character, atmosphere and tension when scripting and performing plays;

Write critical evaluations of performances they have seen or in which they have participated, identifying the contributions of the writer, director and actors.

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