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English Language Arts teacher Julie Carroll – Ivy Prep’s longest serving educator – is teaching her students to appreciate the artistic genius of William Shakespeare by having them read and perform his play “Macbeth.”

Scholars from Carroll’s advanced and college prep classes are learning about the life and times of Shakespeare as they prepare for the play. They are tackling roles of the main charters in Macbeth from the “Three Witches” to “Macbeth” and his comrade.

“He has a lot of amazing plays,” sixth grader Kaylah Holton, who plays an apparition in Macbeth, said of Shakespeare. “The plays are interesting to listen to and to act out.”

Some of her classmates are taking on roles behind the scenes doing makeup for the play.  Others are taping the show for parents to view later.

“Shakespeare is one of those things you should start really early,” Carroll said. “The words don’t make any sense without the movements as well. This is one way to introduce great literature to them at an early age.”

All Ivy Scholars read Shakespeare. Sixth graders read “Macbeth.” Seventh graders take on “Hamlet.” Eighth graders devour “Othello.”

“It all prepares them to read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ when they reach ninth grade,”said Carroll, who is in her ninth year of teaching at IPA.

Macbeth is an exciting tale of political ambition and murder:

In the play, Macbeth plots to kill King Duncan after he is told by three sisters that he could be the next King of Scotland. After the assassination, the king’s two sons flee the kingdom, and Macbeth is crowned.

Macbeth has his comrade, Banquo killed. His old friend’s ghost comes to visit him at a royal banquet that evening covered in blood. The three sisters that predicted Macbeth’s rise as king console him.

Later in the play, the son of the fallen King Duncan leads an army against Macbeth with the help of a nobleman who sleighs Macbeth. Malcolm, the son of the fallen king, becomes Scotland’s next ruler

Carroll said performing Macbeth could encourage students to go to the theater to see other plays by Shakespeare.

“This is fun,” said Mykala Byrd, a sixth grader as she kneeled beside a cauldron in the classroom. “I like reading Shakespeare. I have never really done a play. In this class, I get to do what most people in other schools don’t get to do – read and do our own Shakespeare play.”


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