William Kidd: 17th Century pirate – Rhinegold Publishing

William Kidd: 17th Century pirate


When I started teaching a few years ago, the GCSE and A-level students often complained that they didn’t know any dramatic techniques other than mime and, if I was lucky, still images. In the last few years, our department has worked to use KS3 as a launching pad for GCSE and A level, and the results have improved accordingly. So in trying to find a framework to deliver or consolidate as many techniques as I could, I struck upon pirates as a theme. KS3 boys love it, the girls like it too, especially since the release of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. It also works as a fun way to drop in some gruesome bits of history along the way.

We currently deliver this unit to Year 8, who have a solid year of work behind them but have perhaps forgotten a few ideas. We also use this to introduce them to the idea of essence machines. As a word of advice to anyone thinking of teaching this module, I’d put a veto on any Pirates of the Caribbean references after lesson one.

This scheme of work loosely follows the life of William Kidd. As previously mentioned, it is designed as a skills-based scheme of work, to either introduce key skills at KS3 or to refresh and consolidate knowledge. It contains opportunities for links to history, PSHE, English and art. The scheme of work will utilise both group and individual methods of creating and performing, with opportunities for responding, both in character and as part of a formalised assessment.

Learning objectives:

  • To refresh or introduce students to dramatic techniques, within the framework of the life of William Kidd
  • By the end of the unit, students will have had experience of: Split focus, flashback, essence machines, conscience alleys/thought tunnels, whole class tableaux, mime, creating and sustaining character and atmosphere, forum theatre, thought tapping
  • There is also potential to use teacher-in-role during lesson 5, depending on time, and written techniques such as role on the wall during the written lesson

Number of lessons: 7

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