As the new year rolls through, eighth grade English class has become better acquainted with the bard of Avon and his star-crossed lovers. We have completed the Shakespeare workshop led by John McGinnis of Muse on Wheels and presented scenes from Romeo and Juliet. We then were treated to a professional performance of the play in Atlanta’s Shakespeare Tavern, which presents in repertory four or five of Shakespeare’s best known (and taught) plays each year. Shakespeare Tavern Shakespeare is such a different, in-depth experience when presented live, up-close, and personal. Even scenery and costumes are impressive. This was for some of our students their first experience of live theatre, and Shakespeare presented as intended on stage, not as a textbook.

After our theatrical treat, we adjourned to the gourmet delights of the Varsity for their best offerings in hot dogs, hamburgers, and iconic red hats. We enjoyed several parents accompanying us and had a safe, musical return trip.

Our next outing will be to the Alabama Shakespeare Theatre in Montgomery for a performance of the story of Alabama’s own Helen Keller and her remarkable life.  Alabama Shakespeare Festival This will be a timely review of last year’s study of her story. We should have new perspectives after gaining a year of maturity and reflection.

Presently, we are involved in a deep review of grammar and slowly, deliberately adding verbals to the repertoire. The use of participles, gerunds, and infinitives can greatly enhance writing skills. In addition, spring’s erratic appearance has led us to examine several poets’ views of nature. Scott Momaday and Gerard Manley Hopkins led us to see the results of training our writer’s eye as their words provide new vistas for our imagination. We will continue these studies to enhance our spoken and written skills.

Jacqueline Warfel

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