Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Tales-from-the-classroom

All the World’s a Stage

~by Jessica Lander (re-printed with permission) How does one translate “All the World’s A Stage” into the ancient language of Khmer? Once again I have found myself teaching Shakespeare in an unusual environment.  Last year in Boston, I explored the elements of the story with 6th graders and probed the emotional transformation of the bard’s characters… Continue Reading »


Play, Play, Play

~by Kevin J. Costa Sometimes I wonder if the performance-based approach to teaching Shakespeare, which we promote at the Folger, is seen only as an “entry-level” tool for students and teachers intimidated by Shakespeare. For sure, this is a major audience. But performance-based work on Shakespeare doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, I think… Continue Reading »


Osmotically Speaking: Shakespeare as Writing Teacher

On more than one occasion, students in my Shakespeare class have told me that studying Shakespeare has made them better writers. That thought pleases and intrigues me, and it also inspired me to offer my students a writing challenge. I asked each one to write in a genre of his/her own choosing and to allow… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare Education: Warning! Wanted Side Effects May Apply

~by Holly Rodgers In 2010, I endeavored to have my students take on the challenge of performing the works of William Shakespeare.  While this might not be much of a feat if I were a high school English or theater arts teacher, my students have the added encumbrance of being non-native English speakers and all… Continue Reading »


"You Shall Piece it Out With a Piece of Your Performance"

There are parts of my middle school English curriculum that I find to be really boring to teach.  For example: grammar.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m as much a geek for grammar as the next – but teaching it can be a drag… explaining rules, drilling through sentences, fighting the wavering attention spans… When… Continue Reading »


The Bard is Alive and Well

Ben Jonson once wrote of Shakespeare, “He was not of an age, but for all time.”  Now, almost 400 years after Shakespeare’s death, we live in a world where it gets more difficult every day to convince students of the Bard’s relevance. Cell phones, iPads, and video games seem to have taken center stage in… Continue Reading »


Your Children Shall be Kings

During a particularly bad Idaho winter in 1996, my 10 year old niece visited me for the weekend.  She accompanied me to a meeting of my Shakespearean troupe, Stage of Fools.  Only one other brave soul dared to trek through the snow to rehearse that day, so we abandoned our show and read a scene… Continue Reading »


Filming the Text

~by Rick Vanderwall My fall semester Introduction to Literature students were a great group. This course is a required, entry level lit course for first year students.  Everybody takes this course and instructors are encouraged to develop unique, engaging themes for the course. I came up with “Journeys through Danger, Temptation, and Violence”. Although this… Continue Reading »


"Shall we go draw our numbers, and set on?"

~by Julia Perlowski (title quote from Henry IV, part 2) In my high school honors English class, my well-meaning teacher decided to have us read Macbeth.  I was thrilled.  I had been in classes where teachers played records of famous Shakespearean monologues read by famous people with thick British accents.   Who can forget “Oh, pardon… Continue Reading »


Is Shakespeare Literature?

~ By Kevin J Costa Late this fall, at McDonogh School where I teach drama and run the Institute for Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies, my Institute students and I were talking about AP exams. And then one junior asked, “would it be acceptable to write about Shakespeare on an English AP exam?” You just smiled while… Continue Reading »