A Shakespeare-Inspired Film Fest + Planning, Planning, Planning!

Just for fun, my husband put Gnomeo and Juliet on our Netflix queue.  We watched it last night to celebrate the beginning of my Spring Break.  I enjoyed how they played with the plot of Romeo and Juliet; however, the entire time the only thing going through my mind was the thought, “This is a Disney film.  They’re going to change the ending…”  And they did.  But the film was awfully cute, and used some of my favorite Elton John songs.

This afternoon, while I put the final touches on my project calendar, I watched 1998’s Academy Award winning Shakespeare in Love.  I can’t believe that I haven’t watched this film before!  It was absolutely fantastic!  I’m thinking about showing two clips in class:

  1. The party scene: Shown right before we read 1.5 so that my students have a visual of period dress, dance, etc.
  2. The performance scene: Shown probably towards the beginning of our project when we talk about the historical and cultural context of the play.  I think it would be helpful when pointing out who sat where in the theater, that female roles were played by men, etc.  Plus it gives a great preview to Romeo and Juliet (and provides a wonderful contrast to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, which they will begin watching on Friday.)

My team teacher, Peter, and I are also considering showing the film in its entirety during an after school screening once our students have read the play in its entirety.  We’ll show it after school for two reasons: (1) There’s just no time to fit it in during class, and (2) it’s just a lot easier to deal with the fact that the film is rated R and I can only show it to students who return a permission slip.

As previously stated, I used my time today to polish up my Project Calendar.  I know that inevitably something will happen and I’ll have to move things around, but as for right now it reflects my current thinking regarding where I’d like to go with the reading of the play.

You’ll notice that on the first Wednesday during the project, I have our students watching the A&E Biography of William Shakespeare, instead of In Search of Shakespeare by PBS.  While In Search of Shakespeare is really quite well-done, the problem is the length.  It was proving too difficult to give my students the same overview of Shakespeare’s life and times that I could easily do with the A&E episode.  My new goal: create a viewing guide for students to complete while watching.  (And, of course, I’ll post that.)


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