In October 2014 all staff attended an learning and performance network training day to study The Tempest.
As a result, we decided that the whole school would study a Shakespeare play every year during the spring term, and the first one would be The Tempest. Each class studied a scene from the play, resulting in a range of cross curricular work. This was supported by Theatre Royal staff through visits to the classroom.
Reception children listened to storm music and moved blue material to the beat. They used this as part of their final performance for the rest of the school and parents.
The children were excited to create an ideas carpet to capture the main elements of their scene. Some children responded with words like 'sad', 'frightened', and 'howling wind'.
The Year 1 classroom was transformed into an island to introduce the play. The class created Prospero's 'Cloak of Words' and in other cross curricular work designed and made costumes.
Year 1 and 2 studied the opening scenes of The Tempest. They wrote character descriptions, continued the story and made their own predictions of what they thought would happen next.
Year 3 and 4 created a display with writing based on The Tempest. This included diary entries, storm descriptions and letters. After this work, one child reflected:
I really enjoyed The Tempest. The story line was exciting and interesting. At first the language was difficult; however through drama activties I was able to understand it. I enjoyed playing the character Caliban. I felt sorry for him as he was treated unfairly. The Tempest taught me never to treat people with disrespect.
Year 5 used a range of musical instruments to create the sound of the storm. They explored how to create the sound of the storm. They explored how to use a crescendo in music, and experienced how the characters felt in the storm.
Year 6 studied a range of storm images to produce their own painting. They used circles loops and waves to create a 3D ocean effect.
The topic ended with a whole school performance from Reception to Year 6 where each class performed their part of the play, appropriate to their age. They also included music and the use of simple props which they created themselves.
School governors and parents were invited to watch the performance. In order to support parents, Year 6 children created a 'crib sheet' giving a brief synopsis of the play. Parents responses included:
The play was really good, the children were fantastic in remembering their lines.
It was great to see drama in our school children. The children worked hard together.
I was so impressed with how they remembered their lines. I loved the music accompaniment and the children's enthusiasm.
I was most impressed with the standards of both the performance and behaviour of the children. I appreciate the hard work of both the staff and the children to make this possible