Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Activity-idea

Three Ways to Have Fun with Shakespeare

Listening to students speaking Shakespeare is certainly my favorite part of teaching Shakespeare, but I also love watching them play games. We’ve often ended a semester with Shakespeare-based games. (Perfect for this sunny time of year!) Student favorites have been “Who am I?” and “Group Charades,” though “Who said that when?” can be good learning… Continue Reading »



A Scale of Morality in Measure for Measure

The juniors and seniors in my Shakespeare elective are exploring the flawed characters and twisted plot of Measure for Measure. By the end of Act 4, Angelo has offered an indecent proposal to Isabella, the Duke has countered by orchestrating the bed trick with Isabella and Mariana, the Provost has received orders to behead Claudio… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare: Text to Text

Teaching one Shakespeare play in a school year can be challenging enough, what with mandated curriculums, standardized testing, holidays, and school activities which take a cavalcade of kids out of class on a regular basis.  I choose to do two plays in a year with my senior classes, a tragedy and a comedy.  I want… Continue Reading »



Introducing Iambic Pentameter: Feeling Our Way

*Beware the ides of March…and join us for our live-streamed Master Class on teaching Julius Caesar! Since Caesar is in the air these days, we’re bringing you a special post on teaching meter in this play. Enjoy—and let us know how it goes!* With Julius Caesar, I introduce iambic pentameter to my students with a… Continue Reading »


A “Good Lesson” Indeed!

“I shall the effect of this good lesson keep As watchman to my heart.” (Hamlet 1.3.49-50)   From the wisdom shared by brilliant teachers and scholars (Michael Witmore, Gail Kern Paster, Kathleen Lynch, Amber Phelps, Jill Burdick-Zupancic, Mark Miazga, Josh Cabat, and more—wow!) during the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Master Class and Live Q & A… Continue Reading »


What Does Fun Have to Do with Lifelong Learning?

One thing I try to remain conscious of on a day to day basis is my students’ demeanor when entering the room. I try to greet them, smile at them, start a conversation, etc. However, inevitably everyday someone asks the question that I hate to answer: “Mr. Nissly,” chirps some well-meaning, enthusiastic student, “can we… Continue Reading »


Tossing Lines, With a Twist

  I first read about this go-to strategy in the Folger Library’s Shakespeare Set Free resources. Over the years, I’ve developed and personalized my own take on this interactive way of getting students to jump into Shakespeare’s language.   The basic “Tossing Lines” activity is to give each student a different line from the play,… Continue Reading »


Differentiating Shakespeare: Text Analysis with Crayons

In ten short years as an educator, I have taught every grade from sixth through twelfth, and every level of ability from AP to self-contained special ed.  I say this not to impress you with how many different preps I have tackled in ten years, but to highlight this fact: I teach Shakespeare to every… Continue Reading »


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