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The Hobart Shakespeareans


The lesson plan that accompanies this film, The Hobart Shakespeareans, is actually the overview and daily lesson plan used by this 5th grade teacher. In addition to the many unusual elements he incorporates into standard classroom subjects, each year some of his fifth-grade students present a Shakespearean play. The lesson plans and video present his teaching philosophy, and are valuable resources for an Education Academy preparing elementary teachers.
Curriculum Link: Author: Mel Stuart. A co-presentation with Thirteen/WNET New York

Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives

Students will view an example of one phenomenal teacher and his eager students who together demonstrate the power of high expectations in education.

This resource is useful for discussions of:
• Creating a classroom culture which maximizes student achievement in a safe and nurturing environment
• Quality of public education
• Standardized teaching/testing
• Classification/promotion of students
• Arts education in school
• Extracurricular activities/field trips in schools
• ESL/LEP education
• Providing challenging and/or unconventional content for students

Description of Activities

This is a resource for Education Academies. The discussion guide that accompanies the video includes questions for discussion and quotes from some of the people in the film, useful as thoughtful discussion starters.

Teacher Rafe Esquith has a point of view — a very strong one — about educating children of immigrants. Teaching in Los Angeles at one of the nation's largest inner-city grade schools, Hobart Elementary, Esquith leads his class of fifth graders through an uncompromising curriculum of English, mathematics, geography and literature. He inspires them with cross-country trips to learn history first-hand. And at the end of the semester, every student performs in a full-length Shakespeare play: in this case Hamlet, with advice from actors Ian McKellen and Michael York. Despite language barriers and poverty, these Hobart Shakespeareans move on to attend outstanding colleges, motivated by a teacher honored with a National Medal of Arts.

Instructional Materials Provided

DVD and discussion guide, plus further reading list.

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Additional criteria

Cost: Discussion guide is free; Price of DVD will vary

Curriculum type: Other

Academic subject areas: English; Career-Technical Education

States' Career Clusters: Education & Training

California Industry sector(s): Education, Child Development, and Family Services

Duration: Varies

Grade Targets: 11, 12

Level of Expertise for CTE: All

Standards Addressed: Not yet assessed for alignment with new standards

Keywords: teacher, high expectations, teacher education, teacher training

Source: Organization/Publisher-developed

Curriculum Link:

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