Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Tales-from-the-classroom

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 »


Connections Through Writing: Boosting Students’ Projects and Performances through Close Reading and Writing

Any good teacher knows that there are a variety of ways students can demonstrate their understanding of a reading. Projects that prescribe students to create original posters, board games, models, etc. based on a class reading are all great methods to get students to engage with literature. As many teachers who use Folger’s performance-rich curriculum… 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 »


Shakespeare and NTLive’s Hamlet: Rallying a “Distracted Globe”

Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat In this distracted globe. Remember thee? Yea, from the table of my memory I’ll wipe away all trivial, fond records, […] And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter. (Hamlet 1.5.103-110)   Last Thursday, October… 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 »


Shakespeare in the classroom: What’s the teacher’s role?

  This past July, I had the great fortune of attending the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Summer Academy in Washington, D.C.   There, I attended lectures given by master teachers and scholars; I played the part of the Ghost in a performance of Act One of Hamlet; I held—in these two hands—Walt Whitman’s copy of the… Continue Reading »


TBT: Fighting With Truth

This post originally appeared on Making a Scene on December 13, 2012   ~by Gina Voskov My first experience with Shakespeare was in 4th grade. I was asked to play the part of Celia in As You Like It for a Shakespeare festival. I can safely say that at the time I had no idea… Continue Reading »


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