Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Macbeth Witches

On the day we talked about Macbeth, of course we had to make homemade root beer and pretend to be the Weird Sisters. The children walked around the cauldron chanting the "Double double, toil and trouble" speech. Very eerie, it was.
These three are such scary witches! Eeek!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Globe Theater paper models

We like making paper models, so we were happy to find this printable model of the Globe Theater! Here is the link: http://www.papertoys.com/globe.htm

First we printed them out on single sheets, as they are shown in the .pdf. At that tiny size, they were quite hard to make! The cutting of the little tabs was way too hard for Daisy and Malachi, so I had to do all of that, and it wore out my scissor-hand too! As we were finishing the models, it occurred to me that we could have made the printout bigger. So, I put the picture into photoshop, divided it into four quadrants, and printed out each quadrant on a separate piece of paper (thus increasing the scale of the theater by four). It wasn't a perfect solution, as there was some cropping on the edge of the pages, but we were able to overlap and draw in the missing parts, and it worked out fine. And making that big size was MUCH easier! Sebby made the big theater, and it turned out great, and was much less tiring to cut and fold. We also find that using tape causes much less frustration than using glue on this type of model, though of course it doesn't look as neat. But we don't mind.
It's really a cool model. Very detailed. The children loved putting their tiny animals inside the theater and pretending to put on plays.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Shakespeare passages for children to memorize

Shakespeare has so many great speeches for memorizing---and many are good even for children. My children especially wanted to learn the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, but all of these passages are good ones to have in your memory, or at least to recognize and be familiar with. Yes, they're all well-known, but I picked these specifically because they are just parts we all really liked. Some are funny, some are stirring, and some are sad, but all are so beautiful! I think having lines like these going around in your head is one of the most enjoyable things about reading Shakespeare! (And the shorter ones are just things the children love to quote whenever they get the opportunity. You'd be amazed how often that is. Even Junie's always spouting off "Alas, poor Yorick!" at the drop of a hat.) Sometimes I put the line numbers on these and sometimes I just didn't bother. They're all easily look-up-able, though.

And I linked this earlier, but don't forget to watch "A B, or not a B?" from Sesame Street. :)

From A Midsummer Night's Dream:

(Flute, as Thisbe, in the "play-within-a-play" section):
Asleep, my love?
What, dead, my dove?
O Pyramus, arise?
Speak, speak. Quite dumb?
Dead? Dead? A tomb
Must cover thy sweet eyes.
These lily lips,
This cherry nose,
These yellow cowslip cheeks,
Are gone, are gone!
Lovers, make moan
His eyes were green as leeks.

Jack shall have Jill,
Naught shall go ill,
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.

I go, I go, look how I go!
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.

From Twelfth Night:

Act I Scene 1, lines 1-8
If music be the food of love, play on.
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, 
The appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again! It had a dying fall.
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor. Enough; no more.
’Tis not so sweet now as it was before,

Act II Scene 3, lines 48-53
What is love? 'Tis not hereafter.
Present mirth hath present laughter.
What's to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty.
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

Do you think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

From Sir Andrew's challenge to Cesario. I include this because the children think it is the funniest thing in the world. They LOVE this section of the play.
I will waylay thee going home, where if it be thy chance to kill me, thou killest me like a rogue and a villain.
Fare thee well, and may God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine, but my hope is better, and so look to thyself. 
Thy friend, as thou usest him, and thy sworn enemy, 
Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

From Macbeth:

Act V Scene 5, lines 18-28
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Is this a dagger which I see before me?

Out, damn'd spot! Out, I say!

If it were done, when 'tis done
'twere well it were done quickly.

From As You Like It:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

From Hamlet:

Act II Scene 2
     I have of late, but wherefore I know now, lost all my mirth, forgone all my custom of exercises, and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestically roof, fretted with golden fire—why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
     What a piece of work is a man; how noble in reason; how infinite in faculties; in form and moving how express and admirable; in action how like an angel; in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Horatio: my lord, I came to see your father's funeral.
Hamlet: I prithee, do not mock me, fellow student.
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.
Horatio: Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.
Hamlet: Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage table.

O that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!

That he is mad, 'tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity
And pity 'tis 'tis true.

I am but mad north-northwest; when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!

Polonius: Though this be madness, there be method in't.
Will you walk out of the air, my lord?
Hamlet: Into my grave.
Polonius: Indeed, that is out of the air.

Polonius: My honorable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Hamlet: You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal—except my life, except my life, except my life.

A hit, a very palpable hit.

(This is an especially great speech taken all the way to the end, but my children only learned this section of it):
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause…

From Romeo and Juliet:

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Juliet:  O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? 
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name; 
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, A
nd I’ll no longer be a Capulet. 
Romeo [Aside]:  Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? 
Juliet: ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy; 
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague. 
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, 
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name: 
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose 
By any other word would smell as sweet; 
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, 
Retain that dear perfection which he owes 
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name; 
And for that name, which is no part of thee, 
Take all myself. 
Romeo: I take thee at thy word. 
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptiz'd
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Sampson: Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson: I do bite my thumb, sir.
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson: [Aside] Is the law of our side, if I say ay?
Gregory: No.
Sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir.
Gregory: Do you quarrel, sir?
Abraham: Quarrel sir! no, sir.
Sampson: If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Renaissance Fair

Abe in Chain Mail

Our friends told us about a Renaissance Fair happening nearby, which just happened to fall right during our Shakespeare Unit! How lucky for us. It was a gorgeous (HOT!) day and we had such a fun time wandering around and enjoying Renaissance-y things (although, I must say, much of the stuff we saw there seemed more Medieval than Renaissance-themed–maybe the lines between the two are more blurred than I thought?). Also, I refuse to call it a "Renaissance Faire."
A couple weeks before we went to the Renaissance Fair, we watched some maypole dances on YouTube. Daisy was really fascinated with them, especially this video of little girls dancing the maypole in their school uniforms. After watching that video, she could not WAIT to go see the maypole dance, and she vowed to wear her tan jumper so she could be just like the little girls in the video! She thought about it all through the ensuing weeks, and when she woke up the morning of the Renaissance Fair she reminded me immediately: "Remember, I'm wearing my brown jumper today!" She was SO happy when we got there and she saw the big maypole…
and even MORE thrilled when she got to do the maypole dance herself! (I was happy they had a little maypole they were allowing people to dance around, since I wasn't sure they'd be letting just anyone do it, and I knew Daisy would be really sad if she didn't get to!)
More maypole-ing (you can see Daisy watching in the foreground to our right)
The birds of prey show was cool. I love owls.
We looked around at a few of the booths, but I was too afraid someone would break something to really want to browse around much.
Jousting Show. My friend said she was underwhelmed by the jousting, but I thought it was awesome. Probably my favorite thing we saw. I've never seen real jousting at all before, so I guess I was just impressed they were really doing it! Their lances broke every time, but no one got knocked off his horse. I loved the thundering horses' hooves and the flags flying in the breeze. It was so hot, but that breeze made it bearable.
My poor, sad children in the stocks. (Looks like Junie didn't get the memo about being sad.) I think they are trying to re-create this picture I showed them:
of me in the stocks while visiting Stratford-upon-Avon in England. So sad.
Darling Emeline. Such a sly smile. She looks like a little fox here, with her red hair.
Adorable Harriet in her Scottish garb, and sweet Junie. I'm not quite sure why there was face painting going on here? But, the little girls loved it.
Queen Elizabeth with the girls
Junie was SO proud of herself when she got to dance around the maypole. She couldn't stop beaming.
Malachi did the maypole with help from this lovely girl. I think he was quite taken with her, as he kept mentioning how pretty and how nice she had been with her "beautiful dress." I love his shy little smile in this picture.
Malachi must have done this sword-fighting game 30 times. He loved it so much.
There were such cute little ponies giving rides! They cost money, so we didn't ride, but we loved the little ponies.
Junie got to pet one of them! So cute!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Proportion Drawings

I asked Sam to give us a lesson on proportion, and how artists' understanding of it changed during the Renaissance. As usual, he gave an awesome lesson. One really interesting thing he showed us was this video comparing different styles of female figures in Western Art over 500 years. Fascinating to see how proportions and styles change over time!

Then Sam had the children draw, using our little bendy guy from IKEA. It was cool to see how much better their drawings got as they worked on using relationships (forearm:upper arm, torso:leg, etc.) to draw the figure.

The children also, for some reason, really really liked the part of the lesson where we had people stand up on the table and then measured to see how many "heads" tall they were. They wanted to do it again and again.
Daisy's drawing
Abe's drawing
I really like how Junie's drawing turned out. She worked really hard on it.
Ky's drawing
Seb's drawing (he added in shading as well). He spent a ton of time asking Sam, and erasing, and trying again, to get this right. The angle of the arms as they faced away from him was really tricky to draw, but I think he did a great job with it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Renaissance Ruffs and Shakespeare Masks

We got the idea of making ruffs from this site. (There are a bunch of other fun ideas on there too.) Once we put on the ruffs, they were so itchy and uncomfortable that everyone immediately wanted them off again. "That's probably just how Queen Elizabeth felt!" I said, and from then on whenever we looked at pictures of Renaissance people wearing ruffs, the children all tsk-ed and made sympathetic noises. Bringing the past to life, that's what we're doing here! :)
Ruffs are easy to make. You just get a really long strip of paper, fold it accordian-style, and punch holes through it so you can thread a string through the holes. We really should have made ours longer/more full. But they sufficed.
We also printed out these funny little Shakespeare masks. The pdf is here.
Daisy made a tiny one, of course. (Junie is the one holding it in the picture, though.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Renaissance Music and Making Lutes

Abe's lute: the classic style

If there's one thing I know about, it's Renaissance Music! Ha ha. Just joking, but if there's one thing I certainly learned more than I ever wanted to about, it's Renaissance Music. I fell asleep to the soothing strains of motets and madrigals during plenty of late-night study sessions in college. I tried to learn to hear the difference between Josquin des Prez and Pierre de La Rue. Oh how I struggled through that class, Music 301. I really do have a hard time liking such early music (give me Debussy or Rachmaninoff!) but I did learn to appreciate it. Some is quite beautiful. Anyway, I broke out the dreaded NAWM [said by me in a fearful tone, like a lion would say "Raaar!"], as my teacher lovingly referred to it (Norton Anthology of Western Music) and the children actually quite enjoyed listening to samples of music and talking about polyphony, text painting, and so forth. They certainly got excited for the next few weeks every time they ran into a sackbut or a lute (which you do, occasionally, when studying the Renaissance).

Here are some good things to listen to if you want to hear some Renaissance music (and you aren't lucky enough to own NAWM):

This little video was great. Shows several period instruments: what they look like and how they sound. 
Famous Art Song by John Dowland
This article talks specifically about some Shakespearian songs. It's fun to hear some of the words from the plays set to music–the same music they may have used for them while Shakespeare was still alive!
This article has links to three versions of "O Mistress Mine," a song from Twelfth Night. Very interesting.
Another Shakespeare song: Full Fathom Five.
Very basic information on Renaissance Music
You can just search for "Renaissance motet" or "Renaissance madrigal" online and you'll get a bunch of stuff, too.

After this lesson, we made our own lutes from various stuff we found around the house. You just need rubber bands and something hollow that you can cut a hole in. Some of our attempts worked better than others! I thought the milk-jug lute had the nicest sound, and was a bit sturdier. We didn't have a pattern for this, but just cut a hole in the jug, stuck rolled paper in for the neck, and stretched rubber bands around over a cardboard bridge. Daisy enjoyed decorating her lute with marker.
The tissue box lutes we tried just crumpled from the pressure of the rubber bands! We didn't really follow these instructions, which maybe is why they didn't work. We should have cut our rubber bands–but that makes the sound not as nice!

This version probably looked the nicest, and was pretty easy to make, but again, the sour cream containers or plastic cups (we tried both) were very prone to being squished by the rubber bands. It was really easy to make a lute shape with this one, though!
Seb was never really pleased with his. It didn't meet his standards for musicality. :) He didn't even want me to take a picture of it, but I liked it!
Malachi's was really nice too.
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