Folger Theater will soon start rehearsals for Henry V. The Folger Education team meets ahead of the rehearsal kick-off to brainstorm ideas for the study guide. We create a study guide for each of the Shakespeare plays that gets produced at the Folger and archive them on our study guide web page for teachers to use (minus the production specific material). We look at the lines of inquiry we want to pursue — any question that may come up when thinking about the play. And we consider what students should know about the world of the play, as well as themes presented in the play that may connect to students’ lives. Then we look at other works of art that we can connect to the play and think about activities that teachers can use to engage their students with the play before they come to see it. It’s actually a lot of fun — we laugh a lot, and there is a great deal of energy in the room as we bounce ideas off of one another. Anyway, we met today to begin planning for the guide to Henry V, and it occurred to me after our meeting that it would be great if teachers had the opportunity to work collaboratively on planning units of study, not just for teaching Shakespeare, but for teaching any work of literature. Are there any groups of teachers, or school districts that plan units together? If so, how do you arrange to meet? What’s the process you follow? For which plays have you prepared units of study?
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