Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Tales-from-the-classroom


Throwback Thursday: Recognizing Shylock’s Humanity in The Merchant of Venice

Today we’re re-posting one of our favorite throwbacks: an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent meditation on language, identity, difference, and community—and a teaching idea getting at those big ideas, too. Thank you to Folger family member and high school English teacher Amber Phelps for sharing this powerful blog post with the world. “I don’t have to… 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 »



What’s the Prime of Life?

I had taught English 9 for eight years straight when my teaching assignment changed and there followed a five-year hiatus in which I didn’t teach it at all until this year. Fortunately for my students this year, in the intervening years I attended the Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute. Our English 9 curriculum includes the classic… Continue Reading »


Students Performing Nonfiction? Yes—Share with Your History and Science Colleagues!

Dale Dworak, an alum of the Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2016, teaches history at a public high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After spending four intense weeks at the Folger, he rethought how he’d been teaching primary source documents and informational texts. We’re sharing with you one of his brilliant ideas for connecting students to the words… Continue Reading »



Shakespeare in the First Week of School—Yes!

  Shakespeare’s language is so rich and rewarding that many of our teaching colleagues choose to start the year with it. Are you looking for some literacy-boosting, joy-inspiring activities for the first days of school? Or maybe you’re already planning to start off with a Shakespeare unit? Whatever the case, here are some ideas for… Continue Reading »


Reflecting on Our Luxurious Shakespeare Elective

On April 23rd 2016, while the whole world seemed to be celebrating the life and work of William Shakespeare for the 400th anniversary of his death, I was in mourning. I did not expect to be. After all, experiencing grief for the four-century-dead is certainly what Claudius would call, “obsequious sorrow.” However, I wasn’t so… Continue Reading »


Moving Beyond Explaining – Part 2

Every year, Wildwood School, the independent progressive school in Los Angeles where I teach, hosts an event called Hamlet Night put on by the current junior class. It’s the culminating project of the junior year, the apotheosis of the three months the students have put into reading, performing, studying, and writing about the Bard’s most… Continue Reading »


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