Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Macbeth Set Free

Folger Education entered  new territory on Tuesday February 15 with the beginning of Macbeth Set Free, an online course for teachers. With the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and New York Institute of Technology, we are able to reach teachers across the country with some solid approaches for teaching Shakespeare.

When we planned the course, we were careful to keep it as interactive and lively as possible.  We are using Moodle as the course management system for discussions and posting handouts and lessons. The eight live sessions will use Elluminate and feature prepared video of students demonstrating some activities and video from the highly praised Folger Macbeth DVD. Those teachers who are participating will use their webcams and microphones to ask questions and participate in some of the activities.

When we announced the course in January, we had a flood of requests, but we had to halt the registration to 30 participants. Those who enrolled represent 23 states, and each teacher received a copy of the Folger Toolkit.

A different instructor will lead each class in the coming weeks. Here are the teachers who are presenting:

Week 1–Bob Young and Mike LoMonico, Folger Shakespeare Library

Week 2–Chris Renino, Scarsdale (NY) HS

Week 3–Kevin Costa, McDonough School, Owings Mills, MD

Week 4–Sue Biondo-Hench, Carlisle (PA) HS

Week 5–Jaime Wong, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional HS, Sudbury, MA

Week 6–Chris Shamburg, New Jersey City University

Week 7–Amy Ulen, Tumwater (WA) HS

Week 8–Bob Young and Carol Kelly, Folger Shakespeare Library

While the class is closed, here is a recording of the first session.

This is the first of what we trust will be many more Web-based professional development sessions. If you have any suggestions for future Webinars or courses, please add your comments below.


  • This looks fantastic, Mike! I hope the resources I’m developing as a part of the KSU Hamlet project and events like Cafe Elsinore can merge with this kind of program in the future.

  • I’m so excited to see you offering online courses! I’d love to see courses on teaching some of the plays not covered in the “Shakespeare Set Free” series. Also, I’d be extremely interested in something on directing student Shakespeare productions. Most schools only offer the standard Spring musical. I know there are interested teachers out there (especially us musically inept ones), but the idea of directing a Shakespeare play can be daunting.

  • This class has been so inspiring- I’ve already adapted some lessons for another class because the instruction is just so solid and engaging for students. Can’t wait to start MacBeth in my own classroom next week. The kids are looking forward to it as well (unbelievably!) because they know how excited I am. Thank you and please offer more!

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