Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts By: Mike LoMonico

Orson Welles and Macbeth

Orson Welles had a love affair with Macbeth.  Many teachers know him from the 1948 feature film which he both directed and played the title role. Sure it’s in black & white, and yes he rearranges scenes, seems to make up bits of dialogue , and even leaves the witches out of act 4, scene 1… Continue Reading »


Thou Know'st 'tis Common…Ay, Madam, it is Common

The Hot News among English Language Arts teachers this summer (it’s been a slow news cycle) was the initial publication of the Common Core State Standards. Originally announced on June 1, 2009,the initiative’s stated purpose was to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare 2.0

It didn’t take teachers too long to realize that they could access all of Shakespeare’s plays in places other than books. In the early days of computing, that meant loading a play from a floppy disk: although it took lots of them to upload the Complete Works. Later they were available on smaller disks: but… Continue Reading »


Baseball Fever: Shakespeare had it too.

Despite the sudden interest in World Cup Soccer right now, Major League Baseball  is in full swing (sorry) so here are a few Shakespearean tidbits: In the 1950s, the Canadian comedy team of Wayne and Shuster were regulars on the Ed Sullivan Show.  In 1958, they created a wonderful script called The Shakespearean Baseball Game for… Continue Reading »


Lord, what fools these mortals be!

The first of April, some do say Is set apart for All Fool’s Day; But why the people call it so Nor I, nor they themselves, do know, But on this day are people sent On purpose for pure merriment. – Anonymous What better day to discuss Shakespeare’s Fools than April 1. So here are some… Continue Reading »


Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Once again, there seem to be several new Shakespeare films in the pipeline. Since these films are not generally Blockbusters, their fate is often in limbo. And some of these will appear on television rather than in theaters. But here are a few that we’ve heard of, in no particular order. Michael Radford, who previously… Continue Reading »


Teaching with the Folger Macbeth DVD

We’d like to learn what you early adopters of the DVD think about it and more importantly, we’d like you to tell us how you might use the play and the Special Features in teaching Macbeth. Try to be as specific as you can. We’re really curious how you might teach the play if every one of your students had the book WITH the DVD.


We Need a Little Shakespeare

So ’tis the season to be jolly and maybe think about Shakespeare.  Here are a few tidbits for your holiday pleasure. LETTERS TO SANTA WRITTEN BY SHAKESPEARE CHARACTERS At the end of act 2, scene 7, Shakespeare gave us a lovely song, “Blow, blow, thou winter wind” with the great line “”Heigh Ho, the Holly.”… Continue Reading »


Columbus Day

Teachers often ask me how to justify teaching a Shakespeare play in an American Literature class. My answer is simple: Teach The Tempest. Many scholars believe that The Tempest was inspired by the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture off the coast of Bermuda in 1609 on its way to Jamestown. The account of that incident written in a… Continue Reading »


Start me up…

One of the most difficult parts of teaching a Shakespeare play is simply getting started. For generations, we began by teaching all the biographical facts about Shakespeare that exist–when he was born, when he married, how many children he had, the missing years, etc. Then we discussed Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, what London was like at… Continue Reading »