Date to celebrate - June 24 Midsummer's Eve

5th June 2009 at 01:00

What is it all about?

Midsummer's Eve is the celebration of Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year. In northern Scandinavia it is light all night long, and people dress up and dance around a pole dressed in flowers. The European tradition dates back to pre-Christian times when one of the rituals was to pick flowers on this night since they were believed to have healing powers. Bonfires were also lit to protect against evil spirits.

Assembly ideas

Midsummer's Eve gives you the perfect opportunity to bring in Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream to your assembly. It could focus on drama and English, where the pupils can analyse the play and make their own modern "take" on it.

Introduce it by explaining the plot, draw in the pupils by creating a Shakespearean rhythm when reading a few lines of the play. Set in Athens, it reminds us of how complicated love can be. The characters include the Duke of Athens, who is preparing to marry Hippolyta, and Hermia, who will not agree to marry Demetrius, as she's in love with Lysander. Lysander and Hermia then express their love for each other to Helena, who is in love with Demetrius - he, on the other hand, hates Helena and loves Hermia.

A great way for pupils to engage could be for them to take on one of the characters in the play and write a speech based on how romantic love is portrayed in popular culture. Invite them to discuss how it may influence young people. Instead of performing a speech, pupils could create a cartoon strip of their favourite scene from the play in art lessons.

Help, I've got no time to prepare

You can find an assembly by visiting Classzone.com http:tiny.ccKwEZc. There is also a downloadable assembly on The TES website http:tiny.ccIVnLc

Where do I get more information?

www.shakespeare4kidz.com has a range of free resources.

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