Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Shakespeares-plays/romeo-and-juliet

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 »


What My Students Really Think About Studying Shakespeare

At the start of our Romeo and Juliet unit, I had my students begin a Digital Shakespeare Portfolio: a blog account that would house all of their annotations, as well as a place to discuss their thoughts on the interactive approach we’ve been trying out in class. So far, engagement has been high and responses… 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 »


Shakespeare for All?

This year, I joined the Folger-DCPS professional learning cohort, a group of DC Public Schools teachers working in 9th grade ELA and Special Education classrooms—all implementing the new unit on Romeo and Juliet developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library for our district. This experience meant new curricular materials, new approaches to teaching and learning, new… Continue Reading »


Begin Anew: Notes from a Folger Teacher Workshop in New Jersey

On Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016, forty teachers from five New Jersey counties met at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. As the nation turned toward the primaries, this group focused on strategies for teaching Shakespeare. The Folger undoubtedly gives us the tools and strategies to attempt new teaching methods and collaborate with… Continue Reading »



5 Soliloquies to Teach in This Month of Resolutions

Happy New Year, colleagues! This time of year, there’s a tendency to look inward. We reflect. We resolve. And, if you’re anything like me, you wrestle with your resolutions, too. What better time to take a close look at the most introspective moments in Shakespeare: characters’ conversations with themselves? Today we’re highlighting 5 soliloquies—some of… Continue Reading »


Walking the Walk: How DC Public School Teachers Get Inside the Language of Romeo and Juliet

  “Can’t we cut the first two lines? We still know what’s going on if we start with Lady Capulet’s ‘Evermore weeping…’”  “Cut out that whole speech. It’s interesting but it’s not essential.”  “So you’re saying that Juliet says the word ‘dead’ like it’s damage recovery? Then she should say it quickly, like she’s catching… Continue Reading »


How to Make ALL Students Fall in Love with Close Reading

This summer I had the privilege of participating in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute: Summer Academy. During this week-long intensive program, I was given multiple strategies for teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet and other Shakespearean works.   I learned that I should allow the students to perform scenes according to how they interpret the language…. Continue Reading »


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