Monthly Archives: December 2012

Suggestions for using Champlain Theatre’s spring plays in class…

Suggestions for using Champlain Theatre’s spring productions in the classroom…

The plays:

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Hamlet has returned home from graduate school for his father’s funeral to discover his mother already remarried to his uncle who has usurped the throne.  Suspecting treachery, Hamlet sets on a journey of revenge. But how can he be sure his cause is just? Should he strike or stand down?  Directed by Joanne Farrell, the play’s the thing in this contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s towering revenge tragedy that promises to be fast-paced, fresh and engaging.

PERFORMANCES:  February 13-16 and 20-23 at 8:00 P.M.

ALUMNI AUDITORIUM, Champlain College – Tickets at the door: $10.00/ Champlain Faculty and Staff; Students free with Champlain College ID

Closer than Ever

by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire

Directed by Sarah Gibson with musical direction by Nate Venet, Closer than Ever is a beautiful, funny, and poignant revue in two acts. It is, in short, about life – reality – the things we all can relate to and understand: the good, the bad, and at times, the hilariously ugly.  The opening number, “Doors,” begins a journey of emotions and musical genres that show us the paths we choose and those chosen for us as we transition through each stage of our lives.

PERFORMANCES:  April 3-6 at 8:00 P.M. & APRIL 7 at 2:00 p.m.

ALUMNI AUDITORIUM, Champlain College – Tickets at the door: $10.00/ Champlain Faculty and Staff; Students free with Champlain College ID

Suggestions for using these plays in the classroom…

Concepts of Community:

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How does the manner in which the other characters seem to define moral behavior and to judge the rightness or appropriateness of revenge affect Hamlet’s choices and self-image?
  • How would you define Hamlet’s conflict or dilemma?
  • How do Hamlet’s choices affect those around him?
  • In what ways is Hamlet a product of his environment or community?
  • In what ways is Hamlet a renegade?
  • How might Hamlet’s dilemma or choice be different if his community were different?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play showcase:

  • the tension between individual and community needs?
  • the different ways in which individuals feel as if they “belong” within a community?
  • the choices that individuals make within a community based on what they do and do not have control over in their lives?
  • the multiplicity of different individual personalities and needs within a community AND the similarities among them?

Rhetoric II:

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • Does Hamlet argue the same way with himself as he does with those around him?
  • Who is Hamlet’s most difficult audience?
  • What is Hamlet trying to persuade himself to do or not to do?
  • Why is Hamlet engaged in this struggle?
  • What makes this play a tragedy, not classically but in your opinion?
  • What could possible alter Hamlet’s dilemma or choices – how would the play have to be different in order for this to happen?
  • How do you define noble – how could you effectively convey this definition to others?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play illustrate:

  • the words different individuals use to convince a given audience to see their situation as they do?
  • the way musical tone and phrases mirror rhetorical strategies?
  • transition and cohesiveness among the various parts of an entire work?

Democracies

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How do the choices of one individual affect the collective?
  • Does it matter that this play takes place in a monarchy?
  • Does it matter that Hamlet is a prince?
  • In a democracy can the decision of one individual have more impact than that of another?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play showcase:

  • the effect of choices contemplated and made in life?
  • the expectations of what each individual sees as their “rights” (what they deserve) in life?
  • freedom and the responsibilities that come with choice?
  • opportunities versus lack of choices?
  • actual versus implied or assumed rights?
  • rights versus privileges?

The Secular & the Sacred

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • What is sacred to Hamlet?
  • Is Hamlet clear about what is sacred to him?
  • Do the people around Hamlet (in his immediate world) seem to hold the same things sacred as he does?
  • Is Hamlet’s dilemma secular or sacred in origin?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play illustrate:

  • the individual’s need to make meaning of their lives and circumstances?
  • the individual’s need to place hope and/or trust in a force or deity outside themselves?
  • how certain societal goals/conditions (being in love for example) are revered or treated as next to sacred?

Heroines and Heroes

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • Is there a hero in this play?
  • Are any of Hamlet’s actions heroic?
  • How do you think Hamlet would define the term hero?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play showcase:

  • the tension between wanting to be the heroine of hero of one’s own life and feeling like the powerless victim of circumstances?
  • the heroic aspects of everyday life?
  • the heroic characteristics we are drawn to in others and expect of ourselves?

Global Studies: Human Rights

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • Is Hamlet a victim? If so, of what?
  • What right do we have as humans to justice? to peace? to closure?
  • What is the difference between revenge and justice?
  • Identify Hamlet’s rights in this situation and any correlating responsibilities.

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play showcase:

  • the rights beyond basic needs that individuals might believe they are entitled to have?
  • the guilt of wanting more?
  • the pain or confusion of feeling you have less than others?

Global Studies: Tech & Development

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • Have do individuals, corporations, institutions, and political groups use technology to exact retribution or justice?
  • What is the impact of a rogue tech user who doesn’t take the consequences of his or her actions on the collective?
  • Is Hamlet’s dilemma one that would not be relevant in an underdeveloped country?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play illustrate:

  • examples of life stages and relationships that can be hindered or aided by technology?
  • examples of issues that many who live in undeveloped countries or cultures do not have the luxury of complaining about?
  • examples of issues which are more important within certain “underdeveloped” cultures – an example being a culture in which relationships weigh more heavily than material wealth?

Make Films not War; War and Identity

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How would you capture both the individual and societal impact of this type of dilemma on film?
  • How might a dilemma such as this that involves conflicted “self” and “community” identities, especially involving an individual in a power position, promote or cause a war?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play remind us of how:

  • what we as individuals and as cultures/countries judge to be important determines what we are willing to fight for or against?
  • we choose to obtain what we feel we have been denied?
  • the intended and unexpected consequences of choices we make as individuals and communities?

Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Broadcasting, Brand and Account Management

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How would you design a political campaign for Hamlet?
  • How would you broadcast the soliloquies in a powerful and effective manner over radio?
  • What would the Hamlet brand look like?
  • How could you use “to be or not to be” as a brand?
  • How would you use the concept of noble as part of a brand or campaign?

Closer than Ever –

How well does each of the characters/singers communicate their needs and/or experiences to their intended audience?

Create a campaign to “win” a particular character/singer what he or she most seems to want?

What tagline would you create to communicate the overall life “message” from this musical?

How would you advertise this play to different segments of the U. S. population?

Middle East Courses

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How would Hamlet’s situation and his response to it be different if it happened in a middle eastern culture?
  • What would be the same about Hamlet’s situation and his response to it if it happened in a middle eastern culture?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play remind us of the:

  • differences in acceptable relationships in the East and West?
  • reality of an individual’s actual experience versus the expected or condoned societal expectations of that experience?
  • the similarities of the human experience across all cultures?

Electronic Media Writing & Publishing

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How might you create an online abbreviated version of Hamlet for a younger audience?
  • Write a query letter pitching Hamlet as a new book that you are currently writing.
  • Create a TV and radio ad to promote the play.

Closer than Ever –

How would you use the concept of “doors” to make an interactive introduction to this play online or on video?

How might you provide an introduction to and/or transition between songs from this play to publish them as a book?

How would you use lyrics or an entire song from this play to promote a particular cause?

Media and Society, Film/Film History, Video Storytelling, & Audio Production

Hamlet –

Consider the following after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • Imagine Hamlet as a love story, a mystery, a comedy – how would it look?
  • How does this play compare to other classic film tragedies?
  • How would you capture the power and effects of stage actions in a radio performance of Hamlet?
  • How do you think different socio/economic groups reacted to watching Hamlet during Shakespeare’s time? How do you think various groups respond to it today?

Closer than Ever –

How would you present an audio only broadcast of this play?

What experiences portrayed within this play would strike a “common” chord with particular audiences?

You have been given an unlimited budget to produce the movie version of this play; what does it look like?

Create an internet trailer for this play?

What place do musicals hold in our media history and experiences?

Human Communication &Small Group Communication

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • What are the different ways in which Hamlet interacts with the other characters in the play?
  • Is there a difference in how characters communicate with each other based on gender? power? rank?
  • How do individual comments or silences affect small group dynamics within the play?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play showcase:

  • common miscommunications?
  • those things that remain unspoken and the consequences of silence?
  • the imbalances in relationships that affect communication?

Game Design, Game Development, & Art & Animation

Hamlet –

How could Hamlet be used to design a puzzle game?

What animals would you use for the characters in Hamlet if you were hired to create an animated version of the play for children? Would it occur on a farm, in the woods, in the sea?

What would the challenges be in a game designed based on Hamlet?

Closer than Ever –

How could you use doors within a game environment to demonstrate the difficulty of moving from one place to another?

How might you create an entire game that revolves around the concept of doors?

What effect could height, width, and materials have on the perception of doors within a game environment?

Brainstorm multiple ways for doors to open within a game that go way beyond the usual side-hinged approach.

Drawing, Art History, Sculpture

Hamlet –

How has Hamlet been depicted in Art? Which depiction seems most appropriate to you?

What would /should Hamlet’s defining physical feature be?

How would you sculpt Hamlet in order to best show his true nature? his inner conflict?

How would a modern day Hamlet look?

Closer than Ever –

How have doors been used as symbols in Art throughout history?

How might you represent a “difficult” door – either to open or to close – in 2D?

How might you represent a “difficult” door – either to open or to close – in 3D?

How have bees been used in art? What do bees represent in art in different cultures?

Graphic Design, Typography

Hamlet –

What font screams Hamlet?

Create a poster for Hamlet for sophisticated theatre goers; for school children; for seniors; for new Americans.

You get to create Hamlet’s family coat of arms.

Hamlet needs a brand to represent his inner conflict – design it.

Closer than Ever –

Design a poster for this musical.

Design a public service poster which utilizes a door to represent either promoting stepping into or out of a particular behavior.

Psychology

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • Why is Hamlet conflicted?
  • We hear a lot of Hamlet’s inner story; what do you think he is not telling us?
  • What are the environmental factors that have/are affected/affecting Hamlet’s behaviors and helping to form his views?

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play showcase:

  • possible driving forces behind behaviors within relationships.
  • possible driving forces behind an individual’s perception of self?
  • possible driving forces behind an individual’s perception of how they are viewed by others?

Education

Hamlet –

Create a lesson that makes Hamlet accessible to K-3 or some other school-age group.

Create a learning activity that helps young students to explore conflict and choices.

Find picture books and early chapter books that depict/explore revenge.

Closer than Ever –

How might you use doors in a classroom as a learning metaphor – an example would be to use a door in math 5 plus two equals how many?  Students would go through or open a door to reveal the answer. How else might you use doors to design a learning activity?

Design a unit on expressing emotions both positive and negative ones in an acceptable manner.

Writing, Creative Writing, Creative Non-Fiction, Journalism, & Interactive Storytelling

Hamlet –

Consider the following questions/suggestions after witnessing the characters’’ actions and words on stage and inferring any implied meaning:

  • How might you tell this same story from another character’s point of view?
  • How would you alter the story to make it a “choose what happens next” version of the script?
  • What type of theme song could be written for this play?
  • Use some of Hamlet’s words to introduce a piece of creative non-fiction about personal conflict.
  • Change one important aspect of Hamlet’s personality – describe how this would affect the words and actions within the play.
  • Rewrite the play as you would image it to be if it happened in the old West, during the Dark Ages, or some other period of history.

Closer than Ever –

Use the various life experiences and relationships sung about in the play to:

  • craft a poem to capture the emotion and conditions of one of the songs
  • create the beginning scenario of a short story
  • write a news report of a possible  “gone wrong” outcome of the story related in one of the songs
  • create an interactive story that retells one of the songs but add an unexpected twist

Human Sexuality

Hamlet –

Discuss how conflict can affect drive and rationale.

Discuss how peer pressure can influence choices.

Discuss how pressure to act in certain ways can come from within, from society, or from both.

Closer than Ever –

How do the various life experiences sung about in the play highlight:

  • the cultural/societal expectations that might influence certain sexual decisions?
  • the angst, uncertainty, fears, or hopes that can result from relationship interactions?
  • the power dynamics in relationships?
  • the effects of relationship interactions on self-image?

CIPs Teaching Tips – Fall 2012 #13 “now and then”

Happy it’s-officially-the-last-day-of-class for fall 2012. Here are a few tips about now – finals week – and then – getting ready for next semester.

now…

If you have the luxury of enough time during your final meeting to review the semester with your students consider asking them to do the following: Create a method for capturing student responses to the prompts suggested below that allows students to see each other’s’ responses. You could use poster-sized “Post Its” or have students write on the board. (You might choose to capture responses with a phone or digital camera.) Online instructors can use a wiki type document or ask students to post and then respond with comments and examples in a discussion forum.

Prompts:

*What was the best thing about this class?

*What was the most challenging thing about this class?

*What was your favorite thing you learned in this class?

*What do you think you’ll use most in the future from this class?

Process:

Ask students to walk around and write their responses on the board or large papers – more than one student can respond at once. Afterwards, discuss the responses as a group – who agrees or feels differently; examples of what was said. Use the opportunity to help students “own” what they’ve learned, to become aware of it in a way that enables them to use it outside of class. Also, take note of your students’ experiences – what worked and didn’t work and make note of it for the next time you teach the course.

***Take a moment to read this article in “Faculty Focus” if you’d like a little confidence booster about how much learning continues AFTER the semester is over. Think about what you’ve taught your students as being similar to something you remove from the microwave and put on the counter – it continues to cook a little more even though it’s no longer in the cooking environment.

later…

Once classes are over and finals are graded and you begin to think about next semester, consider the following suggestions for areas you might want to tweak. Intentionally create an improved semester by altering your instructional design.

INCREASE interactive learning

  • design a learning activity that:
    •  provides a metaphor or a concrete abstract for a new concept
    • makes students aware of a concept’s connection to them
    • prompts students to explore their views
    • requires students to weight in or participate

CREATE NEW assignments

  • design an assignment that:
    • requires higher level of thinking (more rigorous)
    • is more interactive
    • integrates a greater number of concepts
    • uses a new or several new delivery methods

MANAGE expectations

  • design a plan to communicate expectations:
    • early in the semester
    • repeatedly over the semester
    • in multiple ways over the semester
  • design a response for when students do not meet expectations
  • design instructions that increase clarity but do not decrease expectations
  • design the flow and format of each class and how you will make students aware of it
  • design a mid-semester or other periodic check-in with students
  • design easily accessible instructions on the LMS

IMPROVE grading

  • design a cycle of grading that takes all of your courses into consideration
  • design a rubric or other method for identifying and evaluating an assignment’s criteria
  • design assignments that cover multiple outcomes in order to reduce the amount of grading
  • design a plan for only grading what an assignment has been designed to demonstrate

Here’s to good endings AND good beginnings,

Cinse

CIP, Center for Instructional Practice

Cinse Bonino, Director

Located on the second floor of the Miller Information Commons (the library) across from the printer – MIC 205

Contact Director Cinse Bonino for a one-on-one CIP instructional design session:

Email: bonino@champlain.edu or CIP@champlain.edu Phone: 802 651 5965 Skype: cinse.cip

Lois Price: “Opening Ears To Music” series and performances to attend

What I’m working on:

“Opening Ears To Music” series at the South Burlington Community Library, 550 Dorset Street (in the high school building), Thursday, October 18, 7:00 pm.  I will be featuring composers Robert and Clara Schumann, whose prodigious musical abilities and romance loom large in 19th-century music history.  Come listen to music by both of them.  This event is FREE and open to ALL.

Burlington Civic Symphony Orchestra, Saturday, November 3, 8:00 pm at the Elley-Long Center, 223 Ethan Allen Avenue in Colchester (home of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Assn.).  Program includes Overture to Semiramide by Rossini, Dances from West Side Story by Bernstein and Symphony No. 2 by Sibelius.  Admission is $15/adult, $12/senior and $5/student.

“Opening Ears To Music” series at the South Burlington Community Library, 550 Dorset Street (in the high school building), Thursday, November 15, 7:00 pm.  I will feature composer Camille St.-Saëns and his music. This event is FREE and open to ALL.

Endangered Alphabets: International Recognition and the Smithsonian

My Endangered Alphabets were the central item at two conferences over the summer, one in Cambridge (England) on endangered cultures, one in Barcelona on the book and the future of the written word. Since then they have been on display and/or the subject of lectures at the Burlington Book Festival and three library venues. In November they will be featured at Will Shortz’s Wonderful World of Words, a weekend for bibliophiles and word-gamers led by the puzzle editor of the New York Times. Next June they will be on display at the Smithsonian.

-Tim Brookes

CIPs Teaching Tips – Fall 2012 #12 “an educated response”

“an educated response”

The final weeks of the semester are a good time to remind students about what it means to be educated. It is also the perfect time to help them to be cognizant of what they are carrying out the door of your classroom to use in future courses, their upcoming careers, and in their daily lives – which hopefully will include lifelong learning.

So how can we communicate what it means to be educated to our students? Below is one model to use.

There are three levels of response to new information, concepts, and experiences:

The emotional response – This is our first reaction. Our emotions are engaged; we find the new information, concepts, or experiences we have encountered to be comforting or disturbing. We might be enticed or perhaps our fight or flight response is aroused. This is normal. It is also necessary in order to progress to the second and third stage. Some people do this internally and process very quickly. Others externalize these reactions. Staying in this stage and not continuing beyond it is not an educated response.

The intellectual response – This is our second reaction. Our mental process is engaged. What we know, or think we know, based on our knowledge and experiences to date, is used to analyze and evaluate the new information, concepts, or experiences we have encountered. We are using our minds and perhaps even  new meaning that was created during our education; however, we are not yet exercising an educated response.

The educated response – This is our goal, to respond in an educated manner. This means that we progress beyond the intellectual response and build upon it. We do this by seeking to evaluate our intellectual assumptions and conclusions. We ask ourselves if we need more information. We attempt to uncover relevant information we are unaware that we do not know. We explore the conclusions of others where appropriate. We then combine these new discoveries with our intellectual response and create an educated response. This response by its very nature is temporary; it is our current response and as such is open to revision when we encounter new information, concepts, or experiences.

Here’s an interesting post on Forbes about what it means to be educated: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/07/31/what-does-it-mean-to-be-educated/

Again, this is a wonderful topic to discuss at the end of the semester; it’s also a nice way to frame the beginning of a course. What does being educated mean to you? to your students?

I’ll leave you with my favorite definition of being educated from the Forbes piece: “a desire as well as the means to make sure that learning never ends”

Keep on learning,

Cinse