Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Shakespeare/teaching-shakespeare-2

CrossTalk Featured Lesson: The Power of Asides

Editor’s Note: Over the next few months, we’ll be highlighting individual lessons from our CrossTalk education project, Essential Everyday Bravery: Thinking and Talking about Identity and Difference in Your Classroom. To learn more, check out the CrossTalk webpage. Today’s lesson comes from Baltimore teacher Amber Phelps, who gets students thinking deeply about identity and vulnerability… Continue Reading »


The Big “R” Question: Relevance

In the teaching world, there’s a lot of talk about making texts relevant for today’s students. With Shakespeare, who asks the big, human questions, I have had success letting my students make their own connections to Shakespeare’s words, find and construct their own relevance. The Folger offers tons of active, performance-based approaches to connecting students… Continue Reading »


Teaching King Lear in Times of Grief

It was the start of term 2 in 2016 and I was preparing the Grade 12 students for our study of King Lear. We read an excerpt from The Little Prince. It was meant to introduce big questions around blindness, appearance, and reality. We used the line, ‘It is only with the heart that one… Continue Reading »


Folger Ed Goes to College

Teacher educators: we have some exciting news! Folger Education has partnered with the Saint Mary’s College Education Department for a symposium aimed at those college folks who do the heavy lifting of preparing students to be effective English teachers. The Teacher Educator Symposium will be held September 21-23, 2017, at Saint Mary’s College in Notre… Continue Reading »


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 »


“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 »


Hamlet Remix: A Teaching Idea, with Student Work Samples

Last week, my classes were right in the middle of two tragedies–Othello and Hamlet. My Senior English class had just finished Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech and my Junior Dual Enrollment class had just read the temptation scene in Othello (3.3). I wanted to do an activity that had some novelty in… Continue Reading »


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