The Valley’s trying hard to break through the chill into more spring-like weather, but at OCS Education, though, we’re already thinking ahead to summer! I just wanted to take a moment to showcase three chances that teachers have in June, July, and August to learn new techniques for invigorating their classroom exploration of Shakespeare.
June 22nd-26th, we’ll be up at JMU in Harrisonburg leading a Content Teaching Academy. Sarah and I are tremendously excited about this, as it’s a chance for us to squeeze a full model Shakespeare unit into a single week. Using Julius Caesar as an example text, we’ll go through all the building blocks of scansion, rhetoric, staging conditions, audience contact, and more, and then we’ll use those as a scaffold for exploring characters and performance choices, as well as the ideas of theme and tone that your students will be expected to address in standardized tests. Attendees are eligible for 30 hours of professional development credit, and for an extra fee, can receive three hours of university graduate credit from JMU. This is really an incredible deal — nowhere else are you going to get such value in such a short time. Learn more and register now!
Teachers are also invited to attend the week-long No Kidding Shakespeare Camp, July 20th-24th. This year, we’ll be exploring the theme of Social History, looking at the cultural, religious, economic, and interpersonal aspects of the early modern world that shaped Shakespeare and his playmaking, through special lectures from Ralph Alan Cohen, Mary Hill Cole, and Steven Urkowitz. Through these sessions and the workshops led by OCS Education staff, teachers can earn 20+ hours of professional development credits. We’ll also have our usual festive schedule of rehearsal observations, field trips, a cast party, and of course you’ll get to see the shows of the OCS Summer Season. Here are just a few of the ways that past participants have described NKSC — If these entice you, registrations are open through the OCS website.
- “I found this to be one of the top experiences that I have had at OCS.”
- “I enjoyed talking to other campers and finding out about everyone’s diverse backgrounds. I appreciated that we all came to Shakespeare in different ways.”
- “I walked away with not only practical knowledge, but with some new insight into myself”
- “This is a unique opportunity to learn about Shakespeare’s world from top-flight experts, including the OCS’s own Ralph Cohen, in the most casual and friendly settings imaginable. You’ll come back with a much more in-the-bones feel for the circumstances the plays were born in.”
- “This was truly a time to rejuvenate myself as a teacher and Shakespeare enthusiast. Thank you OCS!”
- “It was a splendid feast— Shakespearean, cultural, and historical , for the mind, body and spirit”
If you can’t make a week-long commitment, never fear! We’ve got a single-day Summer Teacher Seminar on August 7th. This year, the Summer Seminar will focus on Shakespeare’s Toolbox — the basic components of his texts that allowed him and his actors to create their plays. We’ll be going deep and narrow into not just the mechanics but the application of meter, rhetoric, and Shakespeare’s Staging Conditions, so both teachers new to OCS methods and our frequent flyers will find valuable insights. This is, in some ways, an expansion of what we’ll be teaching during the Shakespeare Association of America Conference in Vancouver later this week — but here, we’ll be on our home turf with more workshop hours to devote to giving you all the tools you need to make Shakespeare a hit in your classroom. Register now to join us in August!
We’re absolutely thrilled that we have so many opportunities to engage with teachers in the coming months. We want to put the lessons learned on-stage at the Blackfriars Playhouse into as many classrooms as possible, because we know that these methods change the way students experience and think about Shakespeare. As one of our frequent seminar attendees says, “My students LOVE Shakespeare and get excited from the moment they see the classroom re-arranged.” Get your students eager to rush to your class, and spend some time with us this summer!