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How does Shakespeare make Act 1 such a great opening to his play?

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Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by understanding difficult language; to develop your powers of imagination by imagining how Act 1 might be filmed.

Before we look at filmed versions of the play, you need to understand WHAT IS HAPPENING in the play and develop your ability to understanding Shakespeare’s language.

Activities:

Read by yourself until the end of Act 1, Scene 1.

Then do FIVE MINUTES free writing, saying what you think the scene is about and what you think of it — or anything else you want to say.

Read in pairs Act 1, Scenes 2 and 3.

Now write down 5 QUESTIONS to ask about these scenes.

Read Act 1, Scenes 4 and 5 by yourself.

Now do 5 MINUTES free writing on how you think Act 1 might be filmed: what actors might play what roles, what music might be used, what settings might be used.

Now brainstorm the key points in answer to this question:

How does Shakespeare make Act 1 such a great opening to his play?

Here are two PowerPoints which are quite good at highlighting the main points of Act 1. Read through them and then write your own summary (synthesize and collate).

Author: @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.

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