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Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth & A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Folger Library) Paperback – September 1, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: The Folger Library
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; First Printing edition (September 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671760467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671760465
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been using this series for the last seven years and have found it works with almost any age group from Junior High to High School (The lessons could really be adapted for any age). Students are up on their feet, analyzing material, making decisions, having a blast. I read some of the lessons thinking, "No way will my kids go for this." When I challenged myself to try them, they were extremely successful. Shakespeare was never meant to be read sitting still. There are lessons that appear drama based, but these are plays people! (Take this from someone who is not comfortable acting - this is worth the risk.) In order to act out a scene or show subtext, students have to be able to analyze the text and understand it. These lessons guide them through every step! My students felt progressively confident in their ability to understand Shakespeare without my help. On my end-of-the-year survey, 95% of my kids said the Shakespeare Unit was their favorite! At the beginning of the year, it was the unit they feared the most. Try it out!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That's what my students told me after I used this book's unit for teaching "A Midsummer Night's Dream" through performance. That was last spring, and I'm about to use it again. "Yes, we've heard all about that!" exclaimed my current Advanced English 11 students with grins and excited anticipation. Even the shy find their niche in this gently encouraging format for understanding and interpreting Shakespeare. I plan to use many of the book's ideas for our upcoming Macbeth unit as well. I am incredibly grateful for this wonderful book! If you are a teacher who wants to avoid the "Play the tape - read along" method of teaching Shakespeare, BUY THIS BOOK!

Note added May 13, 2005: Having used this a second time with my Advanced English 11, I can say that it was MORE successful, they ADORED it, and MSND performance work gave them a very deep understanding of Shakespeare which enabled them to blaze through Macbeth in three weeks - and they loved it, too! This book has opened new doors for me and for my students.
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Format: Paperback
I read the last review and had to respond. The reviewer stated that "this isn't drama class." I beg to differ -- a drama unit is drama, and no play is complete simply on the page without bringing it to life in some type of performance. This can be intimidating to a new teacher, but it is no reflection on the outstanding quality of the Shakespeare Set Free books. I have used this book in a ninth grade classroom and found it to be one of the best resources I have ever purchased for classroom use. It is not intended as a generic read-the-scene-answer-the-questions type of shortcut for overwhelmed teachers. It assumes that the teacher can handle the basics and instead offers up some of the most creative and engaging ideas for making the educational experience of studying a Shakespearean play more authentic and memorable. I love this book and the memories that using it with my students have provided for my students and myself. As a classroom teacher of 18 years, I thoroughly recommend it to any teacher who truly wants to bring Shakespeare to life in the classroom.

A few final thoughts about the projects mentioned in the last review: Ask any actor -- the best way to understand a script is to find yourself having to perform it. Not memorize and recite it, but actually perform it and make it real. If students are asked to do this and are coached through the process, they will truly understand the power of Shakespeare's words and drama. And kids will dance an Elizabethan dance wearing a homemade mask if the teacher presents the lesson correctly. Oh, and bribing them with food to eat at the "ball" never hurts, either. And in the end, if nothing else, they will talk about what they did in English class with their buddies at lunch. What are the chances of that happening if we stick to paper and pencil activities alone?
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Format: Paperback
Freshmen dread Romeo and Juliet. "It's gibberish," one of my students said. This book helps you take Will's words from the page and allows your students to make the characters breathe on stage.
All of the activities are sound and provide for fun, hands-on lessons. The best thing is that I have little prep work before teaching the unit--it's all in the book.
My only caution is that some of the line numbers don't align with the textbook I use. It's worth your time to double-check the lines that match this book.
Also, exercises don't come with answer keys. You'll have to develop your own. I've also added rubrics to some of the activities in the text--like the tableaux vivants for 3.1.
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Format: Paperback
The Shakespeare Set Free Series offers wonderful activities to get students to see that Shakespeare is fun! The lessons are creative and encourage cooperative learning. The lessons I've used are the ones students have reacted most positively towards. Exclamations of "that was cool" are the proof!
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By A Customer on October 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
My seventh graders loved Midsummer after the activities we did with this book. The activities that dealt with Shakespeare's language were particularly helpful and engaging. I now have a class full of kids who like Shakespeare.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been using O'Brien's books for sometime now. All of her books are useful and help in teaching the complicated ideas in Shakespeare.
If you are willing to take some risks with your class, get them motivated, and learn a few things yourself then this is an excellent way to experiment with Shakespeare.
O'Brien provides a number of prompts and worksheets that I also find very useful. After several years of altering what she has written to fit my teaching fashion I have found a comfortable, natural niche that is both spontaneous and effective.
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