Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Tales-from-the-classroom

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 »


An Alternative to the Traditional Literary Essay

*This piece originally appeared as “Teaching Shakespeare (And Literary Analysis!) with Prompt Books” on the blog Moving Writers and is cross-posted here with permission.* This April, English teachers, Anglophiles, all buddies of the Bard will commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Museums, libraries, schools, and theater companies are marking the occasion with special… Continue Reading »



Part 2: Is the Play the Thing?

Part IIa: A Brief Narrative Interlude: Other Inspirations and a Metaphoric Preamble On January 21st, I left you with a promise that I’d be back to talk about specific and pragmatic plans for applying the student-centered learning credo I learned, or at least had recharged, this summer at the Folger… but because I’m an English… Continue Reading »


Debating Ophelia’s Death—and Becoming a Better Teacher

I am an English teacher because of my English teachers.   What dedication I have I learned from a man who had Paradise Lost taken off of his syllabus but came into work an hour early, each day, to teach it to a small group of curious readers. What patience I have I learned from… 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 »


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