Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Shakespeares-plays

The (Love and) Hate U Give: Teaching Angie Thomas and William Shakespeare

I teach high school English in St. Louis, Missouri, just miles from Ferguson, Missouri. Three years ago, after the Black Lives Matter movement started, I tried to bring the conversation about power and injustice into my classroom with the classics. Shakespeare raises tough, nuanced questions about identity, difference, community, and violence. His language is a… Continue Reading »


Digital Humanities with 8th Graders? Of Course!

Distributing copies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream fills me with a bit of hope, but also a little anxiety. There’s always a risk of losing student engagement when teaching a text students perceive to be beyond their level and interest, especially as they are developing their analytical thinking skills. While students may be skeptical (but… Continue Reading »


Lincoln & Macbeth: A Surprising Tale Told Through Primary Sources, Continued

Teaching Colleagues: As promised, we’re following up with the surprising conclusion to our Macbeth-Lincoln “story.” Special shout-out to friends at Ford’s Theatre, the home of this last primary source. Check out Part 1 also. — Primary Source #3: Page of John Wilkes Booth’s Diary (Ford’s Theatre) After assassinating Lincoln, Booth was on the run for… Continue Reading »


Lincoln & Macbeth: A Surprising Tale Told Through Primary Sources

Last year, as part of the Wonder of Will exhibition extravaganza to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Folger presented America’s Shakespeare. This exhibition took a look at the Bard’s influence on American thought and popular culture from the “Be taxt, or not be taxt” political cartoons at the dawn of the Revolution,… Continue Reading »


Hamlet Remix: A Teaching Idea, with Student Work Samples

Last week, my classes were right in the middle of two tragedies–Othello and Hamlet. My Senior English class had just finished Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech and my Junior Dual Enrollment class had just read the temptation scene in Othello (3.3). I wanted to do an activity that had some novelty in… Continue Reading »



What My Students Really Think About Studying Shakespeare

At the start of our Romeo and Juliet unit, I had my students begin a Digital Shakespeare Portfolio: a blog account that would house all of their annotations, as well as a place to discuss their thoughts on the interactive approach we’ve been trying out in class. So far, engagement has been high and responses… Continue Reading »


Throwback Thursday: Recognizing Shylock’s Humanity in The Merchant of Venice

Today we’re re-posting one of our favorite throwbacks: an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent meditation on language, identity, difference, and community—and a teaching idea getting at those big ideas, too. Thank you to Folger family member and high school English teacher Amber Phelps for sharing this powerful blog post with the world. “I don’t have to… Continue Reading »


A Scale of Morality in Measure for Measure

The juniors and seniors in my Shakespeare elective are exploring the flawed characters and twisted plot of Measure for Measure. By the end of Act 4, Angelo has offered an indecent proposal to Isabella, the Duke has countered by orchestrating the bed trick with Isabella and Mariana, the Provost has received orders to behead Claudio… Continue Reading »


List, list, O, list!

While still teaching high school, I responded to a Call for Proposals from a publisher that had an idea for a book: a book about Shakespeare lists. I contacted them and was told to submit a Table of Contents and a sample chapter. My sample chapter was “Shakespeare’s Language,” a topic with which I felt… Continue Reading »


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