Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

NCTE Session Spotlight: Romeo and Juliet in Your Classroom, for ALL Students

Today we’re shining a light on the first of our five (!) conference sessions at NCTE 2017. And get ready: in the next few posts we’ll be spotlighting the other four, too.

If you are heading to St. Louis for this epic celebration of teaching and learning, we hope you’ll join the Folger Education sessions. When you do, you’ll be right in the heart of some of the most joyful and useful professional development ever. Yep. It’s true. We’ve been bashful about saying this, but YOU, our teaching colleagues, tell us this all of the time, so we’re spreading your good words and spreading this Folger teaching love. Thank you for being an essential part of it!

What will happen in these NCTE sessions? It’s all about you and your classrooms—and in the most joyfully rigorous way. These sessions will focus on particular plays and be hands-on demonstrations of what to do in class, with you, our teaching colleagues, experiencing all the steps—and discoveries—yourselves. Walk away with teaching techniques and handouts that you can use right away, and also some key questions and ideas to ponder. Leave with new professional relationships with the full-time classroom teachers and Folger Education staff leading these sessions. Meeting all of you in person is the highlight of the convention!

First up: Make Romeo and Juliet Lively and Rewarding for ALL Students!

Read all about this session below, and please come join us for it in November.

Session A: Make Romeo and Juliet Lively and Rewarding for ALL Students!
When: 9:30 am – 10:45AM, Friday, 11/17
Where: Room 220
Who: Dr. Peggy O’Brien (DC), Mary Dea (MT), and Jillian Ratti (TN)

Learn wildly effective strategies for connecting all kinds of students to the language and characters of Romeo and Juliet. Practice active techniques that get ALL readers understanding and enjoying that tricky opening scene, Juliet’s soliloquies, and lots more in between. Students end up improving their abilities to read closely, ask good questions, cite textual evidence, collaborate with peers, and embrace new challenges with confidence.

Mary Dea is a currently a freshman English teacher at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, MT.  She has been teaching in the Great Falls School District for fifteen years in grades 7-11. As part of her graduate program, Mary worked with incorporating creative drama in to the English classroom, and this passion lead her to apply for and participate in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 Teaching Shakespeare Institute.


Jillian Ratti teaches high school English in Athens, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and three children. She attended the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute in the summer of 2016, and her classroom hasn’t been the same since. Thanks to the Folger method, she’ll always imagine Othello wearing a rainbow mohawk wig and Iago in a ninja mask. Reach her on Twitter @MrsRatti.


Peggy O’Brien is our fearless leader, the Director of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library. If you’re reading this blog and hanging out in the Folger teacher community, you know her well. She is a high school English teacher at heart who feels honored to collaborate with classroom teachers on this important work.



Next up: All about Teaching Thought and Action in Macbeth—Soliloquies, Cauldrons, and More!