We call it “teaching Shakespeare.” Seems like an odd phrase to me. I’m not really teaching the man, but his plays. However, this year, I actually DID teach Shakespeare.
I wasn’t required to do any Shakespeare with my “regular” kids – just a speech with my pre-AP class. But I anticipated the reaction of these guys when they get to HS next year and hear the S-word for the first time…. So I made it my goal to give them an oh-so-quick unit on the Bard so that next year when they hear his name, their reaction would be more like, “Oh, okay,” than “Oh no!”
One half of one day was spent purely in insults. Shakespearean insults. Nobody can insult like the Bard: “Thou lump of foul deformity!” “No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip, she is spherical, like a globe.” (That one hurt.) “Would thou were clean enough to spit on.”
Let’s just say my 8th graders began to look interested….
Then it got better. I gave them a three-column chart similar to the one found on this generator page: http://www.playingwithplays.com/shakespeare-insult-generator. Their job was to create an insult, taking one word from each column. Then they were to practice it with inflection, tone, and (school appropriate) gestures, and, well, perform it. Walk around the room and insult about five people.
I heard voices in that classroom I haven’t heard all year. One boy, failing consistently, suddenly called out, “Foot licker? Where’s that?!” Another boy kept springing out of his chair, shouting at random. I worried about Tourette’s. One time, he looked at me, beaming, and said, “Hey, I just made that one up!”
So now I have a randomly chosen insult on my board everyday. Where other teachers would have a thoughtful quote of the day, on my board you may find any of the following:
“Fie, you foul-smelling, flap-mouthed fustilarian!”
“Get thee gone, thou gleeking, guts-griping gudgeon!”
(I obviously am moved by alliteration.)
Try it….It’s surprisingly therapeutic. Don’t be a dankish, dread-bolted, dewberry…