Monday, July 2, 2007

Ali: “At 7:00, we traveled to the Arts Theatre to take in a performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged….What an entertaining glimpse into the almost endless amount of work that Shakespeare produced. Three hilarious men proved to be all the show needed to keep the audience involved for 97 minutes. I think it would be quite the experience to purchase front row tickets for high school students and let them be surprised with the actors speaking right to them throughout the entire show!”

On to Abby Road...

Jen: “Today, our free day, was open with possibility and it took us all week to plan and agree upon a schedule. We started the day in line for half price tickets, then moved on to pay homage to the Beatles by visiting Abby Road. This visit was a lot of fun, and it was quite humorous to time a picture while waiting for a lull in traffic. Abby Studios looked on from behind, and I had to pause and reflect upon the spectrum of history, events, and sights London has to offer from groundling territory to Henry VIII’s court, to the Beatles. I feel like I only got a taste of all that London encapsulates!”

On to Kensington Palace

Janine: “After leaving Hampton Court, we took a trip out to Wimbledon and then visited Kensington Palace. While I was a bit disappointed in the Palace overall, the tribute to Princess Diane was nice. The gardens here were beautiful also. Finally, the weather was cooperating, and it was a great day to be walking around…This has been an amazing trip on both an educational and personal level. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity. It is something I will never forget, and I will enjoy sharing it with generations of students to come.”

Redesigning the Entrance to Stonehenge

Adrienne: “Today Elise and I had the opportunity to go to Stonehenge. I was so very excited because I had been learning about this place for the past six years as part of my studies for architecture. I was so excited the entire bus ride, but sadly when I got there I was very disappointed with the entrance. Stonehenge was just next to the road and there was just a loop in the grass to walk around the monument. I would like to prepare a lesson in which students re-design the entrance to the monument…that has more [respect for] history.”

Exploring Hampton Court II

Nicole: “Today we traveled the tube to Richmond Station and then hopped on a bus to Hampton Court Palace. We crossed the Thames on a footbridge, and the sight of the river is still fascinating to me. Despite its brown color, it still seems beautiful and peaceful. I enjoyed learning about the residence, particularly the modifications by Sir Christopher Wren. It would be so extraordinary to take our students from Liberty High School to see the Great Hall where Shakespeare performed for the King and Queen. The tapestries, woven with real gold and silver, portrayed beautiful scenes of the king and queen and mythical stories. I believe the students would enjoy the tapestries because they displayed so many different stories. We then ate like the king and the queen in the mess hall. I tried sausage with leeks. I would encourage my students to try different foods representing the time period and cultures. We then traveled through the rose garden which was, by far, the best part of the palace.”

Exploring Hampton Court I

Elise: “Exploring Hampton Court Palace today was a lot of fun. I love how great it was to explore this grand place at your own pace. It was really cool how you can walk through each section of the palace that each owner added. The sections were so different and so unique. It was great to be able to explore!”

Exploring the British Museum

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Nicole: “We then traveled to the British Museum and accidentally ran right into the Rosetta Stone. The building itself is so beautiful with its pristine white floors and walls and glass ceiling. The museum is so large that we became distracted and lost direction. How ironic to run right into the Rosetta Stone, the epitome of a key and guidance…We then traveled through the ancient Egypt section. Ali and I were fascinated by the rolls of papyrus that still existed…I was mesmerized by the tombs and burial boxes. The CAT scans showing the artifacts left inside the bodies, including internal organs and memorials to Gods were also amazing. I saw the burial wrap with the body of Cleopatra inside!”

Changing of the Guard

Janine: “I was looking forward to seeing the changing of the guard all week. This is really the quintessential London event. We see it depicted on TV, and this immediately comes to mind when people envision London. I even heard someone say that this is London’s version of Disney World. Although this spectacle did not live up to what I imagined, I am glad I witnessed it. It really is a London must see, and I will enjoy sharing the pictures.”

Oxford in the Rain

Jen: “From sunny skies we went on to monsoons in Oxford—the frustrating, damp part of our journey. Oxford was nice, but I would have skipped it altogether for more time in Stratford. And just when we thought our tour guide had run dry, he went on to report his observations on the English language and his nostalgic need to hold onto a refined and outdated version of the living and ever-evolving language that we still speak. His reciting of Shakespeare’s verse was rather enjoyable and pleasing to hear.”

A Brief Visit to the Bard's Birthplace

Ali: “Upon arrival in Stratford, I found myself liking the small town setting much better than the big city atmosphere of London, and the fact that it was Shakespeare’s birthplace makes it all the more thrilling to be there. I could hardly contain my excitement as we were driving in and walking to his actual birthplace—talk about chills! Shakespeare’s house gave a good glimpse into the history of his family, which helps me to get a better perspective on what happened before Ol’ Will was born. I usually only tell my class about Shakespeare’s life, but I was glad to learn more….After viewing Shakespeare’s birthplace and purchasing some Shakespeare paraphernalia, we hightailed it to his statue and then speed walked to his grave at the Holy Trinity Church. Much to our surprise, we were allowed to take pictures. I can make quite the Shakespearean slide show or framed collage of pictures when I get home, which will be quite the teaching tool.”