Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fighting cyberbullying with Shakespeare ? Yes !

credits; Flocabulary

This week we celebrated the Bard's birthday William Shakespeare (April 23).

And suddenly I found on Facebook this interesting project. In honour of Shakespeare's birthday, an adaptation of a classic play to help nurture the emotional experiences of young people, specifically around bullying. 

"A Shakespeare play on Facebook? Yes! It's true! And it's happening NOW! You can be a part of Shakespeare's classic comedy as we present it in real time over three days."

The project explores social media as an educational tool and will send a powerful message about cyberbullying to today's plugged-in students.

"In Much Ado, the villainous Don John destroys an innocent girl's impending marriage by conspiring with others to make her appear unfaithful. The girl, Hero, fakes her own death to escape the scorn of her fiancĂ© and family until the truth can be revealed and the lovers can be reunited. 
Much Ado also features the memorable characters of Beatrice and Benedick, who start the play at each other's throats and learn to love each other through some clever trickery on the part of their friends."
(about the play)

Much Ado About Nothing is presenting on a special page through status updates, posts, pictures and videos.
The students helped create separate pages for their characters complete with pictures, in-character bios and likes. 

It’s a great way to make Shakespeare more comprehensible to teenagers, kids, and especially kids who don’t enjoy Shakespeare right away.

A hip-hop introduction to "Much Ado About Nothing" is an original animated adaptation, written and performed by FlocabularyFlocabulary, a hip hop education resource, turned out a surprisingly entertaining and useful video (watch it below) to help explain the plot. 

Reviewing Much Ado About Nothing has never been more fun. Shakespeare is stumped about what to write for his next play. Good thing he asks Peter the janitor for some ideas. Together they weave the plot of Much Ado About Nothing, from Beatrice and Benedict's unlikely romance to Don John's evil scheming. Quickly review the hijinks of one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies with this song.

Illustration of Much Ado About Nothing, N. Rowe, 1709
Much About Nothing
by Shakespeare


It's a creative project to include into Literature and Civics curricula. And students love social media in the classroom.

The project is meant both as a digital educational resource and a tool to combat cyber bullying at school.

And that is a fantastic idea to motivate students to learn about Shakespeare in the school curricula and fight cyber bullying.

Much Ado About Nothing deals with the damage caused by false information and pain of bullying in the Internet (images, films, rumors) between teens.

Facebook has been the site of much cyber bullying. But Facebook is making efforts to provide a slew of tools and resources available to report abuse. 

The project was hosted on Facebook, where many students are already present!

The performance is in full swing (it began yesterday), but you can catch up on the action by reading everything that has happened so far. 

Weekly Reader has teamed up with the Ophelia Project and White Plain’s High School. 

Of course, don´t forget to visit the Shakespeare website. There's a lot of good information and activities to include into your courses about Shakespeare.

Music fighting bullying
a project in school

Some thoughts:

I have developed cross-curricular projects with my students to fight bullying at school, some years ago, based on literature, music and civics.

Believe me! The students were very excited and they developed awesome activities.

Cyberbullying came after. But it begins always at school. Educators can do an incredible job helping teenagers to understand how dangerous it is for both sides cyberbullying the classmates.

I am sure your students will love developing some similar projects learning Shakespeare and fighting cyberbullying.

"Cyberbullying is a serious issue for today's youth, so we're very excited to bring this message into their territory and language," said Jessica Semler, program coordinator for The Ophelia Project. "From a literary standpoint, it is great to show how relevant and spot-on Shakespeare still is."


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