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This castle hath a pleasant seat…

February 25, 2010

I had a flashback to my schooldays yesterday.  I vividly recalled sitting in my A level English class some thirty years ago back in Manchester, England.  Mrs. Patrick was the teacher and she was guiding us, somewhat painfully, through a discussion of Macbeth.   I say painfully, because I was one of the few students in the group who actually seemed to like the play.   It wasn’t Mrs. Patrick’s fault, she was actually a very engaging teacher, who loved literature and the classics.   Rather, it was a group of students who were taking the class as a requirement, rather than as a choice, who were the problem.

Contrast that with the Macbeth seminar group I’ve been watching this week.   The seminar emerged after Scott and Bob started posting passages from the play around school, building up energy and excitement for a field trip to the Guthrie on March 17 to see a production of the play.   The twenty or so 9 through 12 graders who signed up meet in the Great Room three mornings a week to read and discuss the play.  Scott leads the group expertly, letting Shakespeare’s story and remarkable language guide the discussion.  It’s old-style, the students take turn reading parts.  And, it works.   The conversation is about the play and characters, the moral dilemmas encountered and  the complexity of the drama.  The discussions are rich and, unlike the students in my class, all present are engaged.   I’ve even been inspired enough to dig out my battered, high school copy of The Scottish Play, complete with embarrassingly bland penciled comments!

Theater is an integral part of the program here and staff collaborations form to support the process.   The middle school students and an elective group of high school students will attend a performance of Anne Frank on March 11.   This will support and inform the core class and project-based work happening this quarter.   On March 17, students will have the opportunity to go to the Guthrie to see a performance of Macbeth (follow this link to see a clip from the play).

On Friday evening, ARTech hosts it’s annual Particularly Short Play Festival at 7PM.   The theater theme pervades this week as groups of students practice their plays in various corners of the building.  Please join us to see the nine plays being performed in the Great Room.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lois Grave permalink
    May 21, 2010 10:40 pm

    your comments make my heart swell –Scott is deeply dedicated to the students, staff and mission of ArTech -and please excuse this Mom’s pride. Minnesota legislature is teetering near disaster with its blatant choice of working against instead of with the charter school mission. I had hardly heard of charter schools when Scott first became employed in one; but he has really opened my eyes to see the hard work the teachers are doing at this level.
    Please take a moment and accept this little pat on the back for all that you do.

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