BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville Middle School seventh-graders who were reading William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Meg Weiss’ English class took a different approach to analyzing Shakespeare’s language.
Assisted by costumes and props, they collaborated in groups and acted out scenes from the play to better understand the meaning behind the author’s words.
“A lot of this has helped us become more creative in the ways we understand our writing,” student Avery Widen said. “Instead of just reading and talking about (the play) we can actually re-enact it now and it helped us understand the exact circumstances of why characters are saying certain words.”
Students said they experimented with different tones and facial expressions while acting out the play to further analyze the language. “We can see how Shakespeare punctuates and uses his words,” Widen said. “We can see how Shakespeare uses more formal language for some of the more distinguished characters and uses slang for some of the characters who aren’t as educated so we can use that knowledge from our re-enactment to understand what words mean from the actual play.”
The exercises of acting out the play were designed to get the students involved in Shakespeare’s language. Students said that reading the text out loud, listening to it, acting out different scenes and presenting it in groups to the rest of the class helped them understand the author’s language.
The experience encouraged them to be creative, think critically and engage the world, which are skills closely aligned with the dispositions of the Bronxville Promise.