Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Tales-from-the-classroom

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 »



Recognizing Shylock’s Humanity in The Merchant of Venice

“I don’t have to condone it to understand it. The pain that people feel is real.”   While most watched DeRay McKesson, Baltimore native and #blacklivesmatter activist, deliver these words in April 2015 (describing the unrest that occurred shortly after Freddie Gray’s funeral through the screens of their television), my students and I watched it… 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 »


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 »


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