Session title Cambridge iGCSE Literature Course Date N/A Location My classroom
Learner group Year 11: mixed ability but demographically selective Duration 1 hour Group size 12-20
Learning aims

A statement which provides the scope of the subject and the overall intent of the course

See the attached notes:

Preparation for an essay analysing the impact of Act 1. Emphasis is on appreciating the form of drama through recognising and evaluating possible choices of stagecraft.

Learning objectives

What are learners expected to learn after completing the lesson? These should be specific and able to be assessed.

At the end of the lesson students will:

All students: Will articulate understanding about the prologue; comprehend the events and some language choices of Act 1:1; make acting choices and offer some evaluation of them.

Most students: The above, plus will make wider structural points about the scene in itself and in its dramatic importance for the rest of the play.

Some students: Extend their learning outside the classroom by viewing multiple versions of act 1 and listening to podcast on Early Modern politics.


How will you make your lesson inclusive?

All the materials are available to the students prior to the lesson. Verbally weak and socially awkward students can prepare responses in advance of the lesson.
All PowerPoints are uploaded to OneNote so that students are able to write questions and responses on the OneNote for inclusion in the class discourse.

Key vocabulary has been integrated in context for students to include on vocabulary sheets.

Key moments of the lesson are screencasted and saved so students can return to either on the same day or for later revision.

Time What are you doing? What are your students doing? Learning materials and resources
0-5 Guiding students to respond to the questions, ensuring students Recapping, articulating and debating key questions from previous lesson on the prologue PowerPoint slide with guided questions formed partly from previous lesson.
5-15 Framing the lesson: Act 1:1. Asking closed questions to encourage students to remember what happens through non-verbal feedback. Frame the dramatic importance. Listening and responding to whole-class closed voting questions of what happens. Students to discuss dramatic significance of the scene briefly. Knowledge of key moments, scenes. Possibly prompted by visuals on PowerPoint.
15-25 Guiding students to demonstrate knowledge of 1:1 Students to listen to the scene. To identify what they think is important/unusual. Respond to questions about the scene. Audio of Act 1:1 word-perfect for the Auden Shakespeare edition. Excerpts of Act 1:1.
25-35 Guide students to make stagecraft choices – push for editing. Frame difference between plot knowledge and aesthetic appreciation (e.g all repetition of the bawdy language necessary?). Students to decide what to cut, and what stagecraft to be aware of Appropriate writing implements to indicate what is cut and what is kept (different coloured highlighters?)

Modelled example of how to indicate choices.

35-45 Prompt students to watch the scenes. Prompt recognition of praxis, use of silence, and of non-diegetic sound. Ask direct questions of perceived effect. Students to watch and compare two version of Act 1:1. To evaluate the choices made and compare to their choices. Link choices to perceived effect. PowerPoint slide with embedded clips of two version of Romeo and Juliet at Act 1:1.
45-55 Make explicit reference to language choices identified earlier and stagecraft choices made now: go-to examples framed around masculinity but encourage other forms of framing. Students to consider how stagecraft choices link to language – prompted by ideas of masculinity Framed PowerPoint slide that guides linking of stagecraft choices to language choices. Possible visuals relating to masculinity.
55-60 Model possible prompts for next lesson verbally before students record. One student to record their prompts onto the OneNote to move into next lesson. Students to create Cornell note plenary: 3 prompts to prepare them for the next lesson, and for revision later. Cornell note template with question stem prompts.

Use as many rows in the table as applicable – add rows if necessary

Lesson Evaluation: Include what you feel went well and what you would like to improve.

The act of planning a single lesson plan for review is a necessary but problematic element of teaching. Geoff Petty, an educationalist whose consequentialist approach influences contemporary thought, says expert teachers do not necessary focus their planning on one-off lessons, but rather on the ‘bigger picture’. That bigger picture can include ideas for outside the class, adult-needs models of education, wider elements of cultural capital, and even just the assessment that the students are building towards.

To demonstrate this wider thinking in the context of a single lesson plan, teachers may begin to pack too much in. Like a student writing a creative writing exam, if they do not include the impressive embedded-clauses-via-brackets, or even the elusive semi-colon-or-colon, then the examiner can only presume the writer does not know such punctuation exists.

Even worse, in order to ‘’engage the students’’ (or even just impress the observer), unduly novel tasks might be set by the teacher. This is not in itself a poor thing because novelty can instigate thinking. The question must always be asked, however, as to whether the learner is thinking about the concept in hand, or whether they are instead thinking more about the novelty of the task. Thinking creatively and repeatedly about something directly seems likely to lead to learning.

So, believing this, my lesson plan is based on a Year 11 class and the kind of lesson they would expect on a daily basis. They are analysing Romeo and Juliet (originally for the AQA curriculum but with the A02 assessment objectives). The learning intentions over several lessons involved the following concepts:

1)     Accessing knowledge of Greek Tragedies and The Greek Chorus with a focus on the prologue.

2)     Accessing knowledge of iambic pentameter and its subversion with a focus on the language of the men versus the language of Romeo

3)     Accessing knowledge of stagecraft, particularly with implied audience interaction in the opening fight scene

4)     Accessing knowledge of plot sequencing in Romeo and Juliet with a focus on the presentation of masculinity of the boisterously entertaining men as set against the ineffectually self-indulgent Romeo.

5)     Looking towards writing an essay based upon the perceived dramatic effectiveness as led by ideas

The students will have analysed the prologue, considering its ideas and resonating them across the play. The students would have begun the module by having already watched the entirety of the play and taking plot quizzes, demonstrating at least a sufficient knowledge of key events.

The focus of this lesson is on stagecraft, understanding how the text operates as a blueprint for perceived action and interaction. The students will analyse language, form and structure in the following approaches:

a)     The violent language is sexualised and bawdy. This not violence that intends to overwhelm but rather instead attempts to entertain. The language also intends to reveal to the audience both the place and the stakes of the insults without appearing too contrived.

b)     The structure needs to be considered both in terms of the dramatic movement of the scene itself, and in terms of what comes immediately before and afterwards.

c)      The form of the play needs to concentrate on its stagecraft – the presentation of masculinity here can be the situated consideration.

The focus of this lesson will therefore be on:

Recapping the previous scene: Sonnet form; expectations of the play; tension between wanting the couple to die yet wanting them to live; references to fate vs free-will. Questions will be in the form of Bloom’s and to be answered as students comes into the room.

Prior to watching the scene, students to consider points of stagecraft… what is needed, what is not? Students can listen to the play being acted in its entirety…

Apply: make judgements as to what is included and what is missed.

Refer to the ‘’your ears shall strive to mend’’ reference in prologue, and how Early Modern drama is an aural rather than visual experience.

Then students can watch the Baz Luhrmann vs Zeffirelli versions … to judge what was contained and what was missed…

Students will consider how the stagecraft and language work together to create an impression of masculinity…

Then use Cornell Notes plenary in order to create three prompts, preferably on the basis of presentations of masculinity. The class will then analyse the presentation of Romeo as a Petrarchan lover before matching that and the prologue to analyse the dramatic effectiveness of Act 1 Scene 1.

Thank you for your response Sarah: it’s very interesting to consider the extent to which we should teach stagecraft as part of the CAIE syllabus. Arguably it should expected under the ‘form’ component of AO3. However, exemplar essays in study guides often underplay(!) analysis of stagecraft. Wider forms of stagecraft are especially important as students might simply take stage directions as their go-to analysis of a play’s form.

I think the best analysis of stagecraft for KS4 would perhaps be acting choices, and analysing those in terms of a comparative choice. So, analysing how alternative acting choices could emphasise different tones of a line can also lead to useful evaluative analysis where the most likely acting choice could be selected. For example, ”You Kiss By The Book” in R&J could be evoked as either joy or satisfaction depending on acting emphasis. To do this, I find that showing than one version of the slips in two different clips embedded on the same PowerPoint slide helps. I also model paragraphs that reference how different acting choices could change meaning. I have not often seen this in exemplar essays but it seems to please examiners and engages with actual play elements.

How much to prior teaching of stagecraft terms is a great question. I think that getting students to recognise what the stagecraft technique might be, and then providing the label afterwards, is a favoured pedagogy. In practice, a knowledge organiser prior to teaching is most ideal. Does anyone use those in their classrooms?

Finally, I think that understanding that drama operates as conflict, and preferably internal conflict, is tremendously important. That could also be seen as form, and moves students away from action-driven analysis and the (sometimes fruitless) search for figurative language.