Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Tagged: TSI alum guest post

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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »



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 »


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