Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Folger-library

Letting Shakespeare Speak for Himself

By Mike Klein Year after year kids in my classroom have strikingly similar reactions to my announcement, “Tomorrow, we’ll be starting Shakespeare.” That reaction is usually a series of “Ughs,” or “Oh nos!” or “Whys?” The most dreaded by English teachers everywhere is, of course, “I hate Shakespeare!” Perhaps I am different, perhaps I’m a… Continue Reading »



Exploring "King Lear" as a Reader, Teacher, and Audience Member

By Dan Bruno King Lear, in its embodiment of the horrors of human existence, is the black hole at the center of the Shakespearean tragic universe, drawing in any sense of light and hope and keeping it from escaping. The big questions at the center of this play challenge us as human beings to confront a… Continue Reading »


Field Trip for the Future: A First Folio

Just how important is the First Folio? Well, the First Folio is the only source for eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, and As You Like It, all of which would otherwise have been lost. Imagine taking your students to see one of these books! The Folger holds 82 copies of… Continue Reading »


Translating Shakespeare

What happens when Shakespeare’s work is translated into foreign languages? Is it still Shakespeare? Or does something fundamental to the original evaporate in the process? “Bless Thee! Thou Art Translated,” a podcast in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Shakespeare Unlimited series, raises these thought-provoking questions. A translator can retain the story, characters, and ideas of a play, but the intricate wordplay… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare and Performance-Based Assessment

As you may have guessed, we never get tired of reading about the creative ways teachers are using performance-based learning techniques to teach Shakespeare. Sarah Goodis-Orenstein, a middle school language arts teacher and department head in a public charter school in Brooklyn, recently shared in a blog post on Education Week how she’s experimented with the Folger’s Shakespeare… Continue Reading »


Listening to Shakespeare's Plays

  Performance helps bring Shakespeare alive, and listening to his words being spoken brings them off the page and into a new relevance for students. With the Folger Shakespeare Library launching a new series of Shakespeare audio editions, teachers now have access to unabridged texts from the gold standard Folger Editions performed by a full… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare in American Life: Bringing American History into the English Classroom

[getty src=”167447077?et=_yXIZdIbRb507qdWa7nV9A&sig=O8Gp4Zd3wQ0kD41Bmk7N8RuHpYNfaBB7EJ5m-vZAtaw=” width=”507″ height=”387″] With the Fourth of July holiday weekend behind us, many teachers are turning again to the task of curriculum-building for the upcoming school year and thinking about ways to get this fresh batch of students interested in studying Shakespeare. Consider how it came to be that Americans over the centuries have so heartily… Continue Reading »


My Maya Angelou Moment

[getty src=”74252590?et=LJRSUf9wRjxD_IXai2puKA&sig=BLSqP2TLiybg-JAw03dtid3Cs19qqQjPcxwnrC80vZs=” width=”479″ height=”643″] On a lovely spring afternoon in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, I was sitting on one of the marble benches in front of the Folger Library. I was the Library’s head of education then, a high school English teacher from DC Public Schools creating and running the Library’s work for… Continue Reading »


Teaching Shakespeare Institute: A 30-Year Milestone

In 1984, the National Endowment for the Humanities funded the first Teaching Shakespeare Institute, a month-long summer program at the Folger for high school and middle school teachers from across the country. Thirty years later, TSI is still going strong. This summer we’re commemorating three decades of tradition and celebrating how TSI has transformed the… Continue Reading »