Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Tagged: Hamlet

Part I: The Play’s Not The Thing, After All…

My Google calendar tells me that it’s been exactly 193 days since I said goodbye to my Folger Summer Academy cohort on a Friday afternoon filled with DC humidity, wine, conversation, and a palpable sense of loss.  Having spent nearly 60 hours together in less than a week, working at Hamlet, meant that I had… Continue Reading »


5 Soliloquies to Teach in This Month of Resolutions

Happy New Year, colleagues! This time of year, there’s a tendency to look inward. We reflect. We resolve. And, if you’re anything like me, you wrestle with your resolutions, too. What better time to take a close look at the most introspective moments in Shakespeare: characters’ conversations with themselves? Today we’re highlighting 5 soliloquies—some of… Continue Reading »


Differentiating Shakespeare: Text Analysis with Crayons

In ten short years as an educator, I have taught every grade from sixth through twelfth, and every level of ability from AP to self-contained special ed.  I say this not to impress you with how many different preps I have tackled in ten years, but to highlight this fact: I teach Shakespeare to every… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare and NTLive’s Hamlet: Rallying a “Distracted Globe”

Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat In this distracted globe. Remember thee? Yea, from the table of my memory I’ll wipe away all trivial, fond records, […] And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter. (Hamlet 1.5.103-110)   Last Thursday, October… Continue Reading »


How to Make ALL Students Fall in Love with Close Reading

This summer I had the privilege of participating in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute: Summer Academy. During this week-long intensive program, I was given multiple strategies for teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet and other Shakespearean works.   I learned that I should allow the students to perform scenes according to how they interpret the language…. Continue Reading »


Shakespeare in the classroom: What’s the teacher’s role?

  This past July, I had the great fortune of attending the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Summer Academy in Washington, D.C.   There, I attended lectures given by master teachers and scholars; I played the part of the Ghost in a performance of Act One of Hamlet; I held—in these two hands—Walt Whitman’s copy of the… Continue Reading »


Instagram + Hamlet = Instagr(H)am-let!

At the end of TSI 2014, I made a pledge that I would not read the syllabus to my class on the first day of school.   After a summer collaborating with some of the most innovative teachers in the country, it did seem a shame that I would return to my classroom and fall… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare Clubs: What we are and what we may be

“Who would you choose?  Benedict Cumberbatch or Michael Fassbender?” “Cumberbatch!” “But have you seen the new Michael Fassbender trailer?  It looks amazing!”   It is the first meeting of the school year for my Shakespeare Society’s Executive Board.  Although it has been months since we all met, our table is brimming with enthusiasm, excitement, and… Continue Reading »


Talking to a Piece of Writing

By Casey Christenson   “Yeaahhhhhh, a close reading.  So, liiiikkkkkeeeee, what do you mean?”   Inevitably and understandably this is a strategy I must visit and revisit with my students each year. This time it’s while I’m handing out photocopies of Barbara Ascher’s “On Compassion,” and it has only been about twenty-four hours since the… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare? On Day One?

By Jill Burdick-Zupancic   As summer (too quickly) comes to a close, I’m filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety. What will my students be like? Will what worked last year work again this year? What can I do to make this year a successful and engaging one? Big questions. No easy answers. But, here… Continue Reading »