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"Let's get physical!"

Teachers' Rating:
  2 ratings

October 2009
Kristin Pollack teaches at Smyrna High School, Smyrna, TN

Plays/Scenes Covered
Richard III, 1.1.1-42
What's On for Today and Why

Performance activities bring the text to life. Through physicalizing the language (finding images, sounds,movements and gestures that illuminate the meaning), students will form a deeper understanding of the words and will feel more engaged in the language through their individual or group contributions and suggestions. There are no wrong answers.

Richard III 1.1
What To Do

1. Have students read the the opening soliloquy of Richard III chorally.


2. Have students circle the following words from the first 5 lines.

  • winter
  • discontent
  • glorious
  • summer
  • son
  • clouds
  • house
  • ocean
  • brows
  • victorious wreaths

3. Ask students about the images conjured up by these words. Follow this by asking students how they would convey winter to someone who did not understand English.


4. Have students create gestures, movements or sounds to convey the meaning of the words extracted from the first 5 lines of the soliloquy. It is important for the teacher to be  engaged in making suggestions so as to make the activity as non-threatening as possible.


5. Have students continue this exercise in small groups working through the rest of the soliloquy so that they have created an "image " for each key word.


6. Have students view all the gestures/poses/movements, etc from around the class and collectively pick a particular one for each "image". As there is no wrong answer, the teacher should ensure that the final selection represents a good cross section of the class. Have all students use these selected movements and recite the soliloquy together.

How Did It Go?

Were students actively engaged in physicalising the language?Did they find new meanings through listening to the suggestions of others? Did students find that the language became easier to understand through this execise? Did they find that physicalisation helped them to memorise the text more easily?


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
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