In Molly Gotwals’ C period senior English class, Shakespeare’s Hamlet was about to come to an end. In the final pages, Hamlet and Laertes fence in a competition that ends in Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, and Laertes deaths. So what is a creative way to help students understand this final scene? Joyce Bolaños, a Suffield Spanish teacher, came in to class and gave the students a short lesson in fencing! Joyce owns the Enfield Fencing Club and has an international career in both the administration of fencing championships and in competing in fencing competitions around the globe.
Ms. Gotwals noted that Leelee Sammis “showed her stuff and had a ‘very palpable hit’ on Henry [Harding].” In addition, Jack Caron “did work hard on his foot work.” She concluded, “The lesson gave the students lots to talk about as we wrapped up the play. [They] benefitted from learning how fencing works and then applying this to their understanding of the text. I think the bottom line is that it is great when students get so excited about Shakespeare!”