Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Two Very Belated Updates from Last Summer (if you remember last summer)


Months and months ago—sometime in June 2015—we asked all of you to give us a few suggestions about a couple of different topics. And you, busy teachers that you are, responded big-time to two questions in particular:


  • What should we rename the blog then known as Making A Scene?
  • What is a must-read summer book for me?


As you head out to what I hope is a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I offer the following updates on these two pressing matters:

Blog Title.  The suggestions for blog titles were many and smart and hilarious, so much so that we sent a handful of them around to you for a vote. The two big winners:


  • Bloody Instruction (thank you, Catherine Loomis)
  • Methods for Our Madness (thank you, Davis Thompson)


We love, love, love them both. You may note, however, that the blog title featured in this lovely new banner just north of this text is neither of those . . . but a serviceable Teaching Shakespeare! instead.  That’s because we are learning all the time here, and around this issue, we learned late in the game—but not too late—about search engine optimization. “Hmmmm . . .,” our digital colleagues said, “do you want people who are interested in teaching Shakespeare to actually find this blog?” Thus Teaching Shakespeare!, and you can get to it directly this way: teachingshakespeareblog.folger.edu. Tell your department!

We remain giant fans of Bloody Instruction and Methods for Our Madness, however, so stay tuned for their emergence in another project. We have a slate of things that we plan to roll out in 2016, and if all goes right, those great titles will make an official appearance!

Summer Reading.  I was looking for five terrific books, and you suggested a fabulous slew of titles. The two that kept popping up more than any others were All the Light We Cannot See and Americanah. And here’s the place where I give myself a D; a great deal of life drama this summer meant that I only read All the Light We Cannot See. (Oh. How wonderful.) I have just started Americanah, in part because I just went to a terrific workshop at the NCTE conference in Minneapolis led by four teachers from Baltimore City College High School teachers: Jamie Massey, Mark Miazga, Amber Phelps, and Lena Tashjian. Mark and Amber are Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute alums, and I always learn a great deal from them! At their school, they teach Adichie’s work in the 9th grade (The Thing Around Your Neck) and in 12th (Americanah). I bought Americanah in the airport and read it all the way home, though not finished yet. If you want to check out their workshop materials as well as plans for teaching these works by Adichie, you can do that here.