RSC education practitioners extraordinaire Virginia Grainger (left) and Rachel Gartside, who led the five days of intensive leadership training for our Ohio group in Stratford-upon-Avon, finished up the week with Romeo and Juliet. The pair led the group through a variety of active learning sessions exploring the text, which the teachers can take into their classrooms next year. And, on the last night in Stratford, our Ohio troupe had the incredible opportunity to see the RSC production of Romeo and Juliet, which Stage magazine has called a "mind-blowing production" and the Evening Standard said it "positively bristles with invention and bold ideas".
Following the production, the Ohio group had a farewell reception at the Dirty Duck (below), and a few of the cast members stopped by to say hello, including David Carr (further below, second from right), who played Escalus.
In mid-July, the group of teachers and MFA actors will come together for a second week of intensive leadership training in Columbus, and Virginia and Rachel will fly in to town to help facilitate those sessions. In the meantime, it's a little hard to say goodbye to Stratford-upon-Avon. After all, who can't love a town that has its own Baguette Boat? And...ugly ducklings?
"Kids are so focused on the 'right' or 'wrong' of their answers instead of concentrating on the process, the 'whys' and the 'hows.' The activities we've learned this week will have them learn without thinking about what might be the right answer, by working together and immersing themselves in the text. The ensemble-building games are great -- every classroom should do some sort of these activities to start out the day. It only takes a few minutes and makes a huge difference. I think they'd change the whole climate of the school."
Jill Sampson, 8th grade special education, reading & social studies, Hilltonia Middle School
"This experience has reminded me what it's like to be a student. When we've been embracing new things, sometimes it's a little scary. It's a good reminder that my students can feel that way too. It's good to reflect on that so I can find ways to help them through it. The ensemble-building is so important. Last year, at the end of the school year, I had a student tell me she did not know the names of all the students in our class. . . and there were only 19 kids. So, how can I expect them to share the text, participate with each other and ask questions if they don't even know each other? Now I will do ensemble building first."
Jessica Sharp, 12th grade English, Reynoldsburg High School