Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

4 Reasons to Use the Web in a Shakespeare Unit

(Image: Folger Shakespeare Library)
(Image: Folger Shakespeare Library)

Don’t get us wrong. We love—like, love—paper. We’re a rare book library, after all. We’re crazy for the codex!

At the same time, we’re excited about all that the digital realm is doing for readers, teachers, students, and lovers of language.

Here are 4 reasons to integrate technology in your language-based, performance-rich Shakespeare unit. Teaching colleagues all over the country are using these resources to connect students with Shakespeare and get students asking and investigating good questions, citing textual evidence, and synthesizing words and ideas.

Try these out and tell us how you’re using them in class!

  1. Folger Digital Texts – The #1 classroom editions of Shakespeare are online for free—yes: all of the plays and sonnets! Search them for specific words and trace how a specific word works across a text—or texts. Jump to specific scenes or lines. Download the plays as Word documents or PDFs. Copy and paste passages. Have students work with them to make edited scripts, promptbooks, and performances. How else are you using the digital texts?
  2. Digital First Folio – It’s the year of Shakespeare and the big book that gave him to us—the 1623 First Folio! Let students learn firsthand about the printing of Shakespeare’s texts and the wild world of textual variants (check out the early printed texts of Hamlet for an example). Have students compare and contrast the same scene in the Folio text and the Folger edition. And let us know how you’re using the First Folio to teach and learn!
  3. Shakespeare DocumentedA groundbreaking partnership among UK institutions and the Folger, Shakespeare Documented is the largest and most authoritative collection of primary source materials that document William Shakespeare’s life and work. Once your students have befriended Shakespeare’s language and done some language-based performance work with a play, you can get them doing research in this exciting online exhibition.
  4. Pinterest – Images from the Folger collection, carefully—and playfully—curated! Use these play-specific images in gallery walks, reading and writing prompts, and more. Enjoy, and please share your Pinterest teaching ideas with us.