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This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details. Few people can get through high school English class — or life, really — without hearing of the beautiful words written by William Shakespeare. While Shakespeare was no stranger to comedysome of his most famous and long-lasting works were deep tragedieslaced with nuanced layers, beautiful love stories, and incredible sadness. William Shakespeare, who lived from tois widely considered to be the most famous and important playwright, poet, and writer of all time.


Introduce shakespeare’s language with a sonnet

Hooking students into Shakespeare can be a daunting task. But here are ten engaging ways to introduce a Shakespeare unit that will hook them from the first day. Be sure to check out the related 20 activities in the Ultimate Shakespeare Introduction Kit for even more ideas and activities! This is probably the golden standard for beginning any unit on Shakespeare. In fact, there are handouts available all over the Internet for this activity, and you can even find a free copy of my version in the Freebie Library.

I like to have my students take this activity one step further and translate the insult into modern-day language, using the dictionary as needed. Simply have students craft three insults to share with a group and then work together to translate them into modern-day English. I like to use either Sonnet or 18, but any sonnet should do the trick.

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Have students work in groups to paraphrase the sonnet using a dictionary and then discuss the sonnet as a class, including the challenges students faced while translating the poem. By beginning with a famous soliloquy from the play, students can begin to characterize the tragic hero before they begin reading, and they can make predictions either about how the character became that way or what the character might do next.

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They will realize that he is 1 going to kill someone 2 conflicted about it 3 does it for ambition. This sets up the major theme of the play— that ambition le to corruption but also guilt— and can inspire a class discussion about the consequences of ambition. Students can also make a prediction about how Macbeth became so ambitious and what might lead to his tragic end— all before they ever read the play.

I find that this strategy helps both with comprehension and character analysis as students begin to read the play. Using a WebQuest will enable students to research information about Lessons on shakespeare life, times, and works of Shakespeare. In fact, I like to have my students get into groups and create their own WebQuests with questions, websites, and answers— and then have them swap WebQuests with another group to complete.

I find that having them do the work to create the WebQuest takes them through the research process while taking ownership of their learning. At the end of the WebQuest, students can then write key words, phrases, facts, and ideas from their research on the board to create a collective Graffiti Wall that other classes can use as a Gallery Walk.

30 shakespeare activities & printables for the classroom

This makes for a nice, no-prep Shakespeare lesson— as long as you have computers! They can use infographic templates from Canva. You can give them some guidelines that they must include:. Students can then either agree or disagree with each statement and then write their rationales for their side of the argument.

7 leadership lessons from shakespeare

Alternatively, you can have students complete this activity as a four-corners lesson. Here are some statements to get you started:. After all, Shakespeare was never meant to be read sitting in a desk.

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It was meant to be seen as a performance. Show students clips of the most important scenes from the play and have them summarize what they think happens in each scene and then discuss.

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Beginning this way will help dispel comprehension issues as students read. Students will have fun with this performance, and it will get them into the spirit of drama right from the start. With this activity, students begin at the end of the play with the final death scene of the tragic hero. By beginning with the end in mind, students can read with a purpose to uncover the story of how the tragic hero was driven to such a tragic ending.

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As an extension activity, have students translate the final death scene into modern-day English using a dictionary and then have them act it out using their translations. What other activities do you use to introduce a Shakespeare unit? Share in the comments below.

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Meredith is the founder and creator of TeachWriting. She has always had a connection to the written word-- through songwriting, screenplay writing, and essay writing-- and she enjoys the process of teaching students how to express their ideas. Meredith enjoys life with her husband, daughter, and sweet pups. Best Practices.

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5 lessons we learned from shakespeare’s tragedies

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10 life lessons you can learn from shakespeare quotes

Technology Tips. TpT Tips. Writer's Notebook. Common Core. Teacherpreneur January 23, Fun Stuff! The Golden Standard- Shakespearean Insults This is probably the golden standard for beginning any unit on Shakespeare. Begin with a Famous Soliloquy. Shakespeare WebQuest Using a WebQuest will enable students to research information about the life, times, and works of Shakespeare. Phrases We Owe to Shakespeare. Here are some statements to get you started: Mistakes in life occur because of hubris. Everyone lies.

2. “go wisely and go slowly. those who rush stumble and fall.” – romeo in romeo and juliet

Keeping secrets is always wrong. Famous Last Words With this activity, students begin at the end of the play with the final death scene of the tragic hero. Related Resource. About the Author. Address. Up. Thank you for subscribing! The password to the Freebie Library is: JaneAusten

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Shakespeare, arguably the most celebrated writer who ever lived, died on April 23 in


High school students have the opportunity to learn a great deal by studying Shakespeare.


Think teaching Shakespeare is all toil and trouble?


Explore this free selection of teaching modules, lessons that help every single student unlock a range of texts.