Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

“But then begins a journey in my head”: Stepping into Sonnets

I was on the train when I began this blog, heading home from a Shakespeare competition where students performed monologues and recited sonnets. It was a terrific event. All of the participants were surefooted, and no one froze in the headlights of competition. The students had every reason to be proud of their work, for… Continue Reading »


Thirteen Reasons Why Not: Shakespeare, Netflix, and a Teachable Moment

As a participant in the four-week Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2016, I undertook academic research that took me deep into Shakespeare’s language and the Reading Rooms of the Folger. I was intrigued by the role marriage played in two of the plays we studied, Othello and The Merchant of Venice—especially the manner in which particular women… Continue Reading »


The (Love and) Hate U Give: Teaching Angie Thomas and William Shakespeare

I teach high school English in St. Louis, Missouri, just miles from Ferguson, Missouri. Three years ago, after the Black Lives Matter movement started, I tried to bring the conversation about power and injustice into my classroom with the classics. Shakespeare raises tough, nuanced questions about identity, difference, community, and violence. His language is a… Continue Reading »


Digital Humanities with 8th Graders? Of Course!

Distributing copies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream fills me with a bit of hope, but also a little anxiety. There’s always a risk of losing student engagement when teaching a text students perceive to be beyond their level and interest, especially as they are developing their analytical thinking skills. While students may be skeptical (but… Continue Reading »


Lincoln & Macbeth: A Surprising Tale Told Through Primary Sources, Continued

Teaching Colleagues: As promised, we’re following up with the surprising conclusion to our Macbeth-Lincoln “story.” Special shout-out to friends at Ford’s Theatre, the home of this last primary source. Check out Part 1 also. — Primary Source #3: Page of John Wilkes Booth’s Diary (Ford’s Theatre) After assassinating Lincoln, Booth was on the run for… Continue Reading »


Lincoln & Macbeth: A Surprising Tale Told Through Primary Sources

Last year, as part of the Wonder of Will exhibition extravaganza to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Folger presented America’s Shakespeare. This exhibition took a look at the Bard’s influence on American thought and popular culture from the “Be taxt, or not be taxt” political cartoons at the dawn of the Revolution,… Continue Reading »


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