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Professional Development

It's safe to say many students do not share their teacher's enthusiasm for the plays of William Shakespeare. Creating a welcoming environment for Shakespeare's plays can therefore often be a frustrating task for many educators.

The Folger Shakespeare Library devised six broad themes around which the educators featured here have developed and classroom-tested innovative strategies for teaching Shakespeare. Whether your interest is film adaptations, performance or teaching Shakespeare to elementary students, these articles, case studies and quick tips (for those who are preparing a Shakespeare unit "on the run") offer tools to help make an Shakespeare an exciting learning experience in your classroom.

Shakespeare for Elementary Students

Quick Tips
Quick and easy ideas to help get you started.

Scrappy Scrapbooks
How can students connect to Shakespeare's characters? A case study by Lauren Kane, fourth grade teacher.

The Love of the Language
Elementary students "play" with Shakespeare's language. A case study by Lynne Streeter, Folger Shakespeare Library.

To Perform or Not to Perform? That is the Question
The keys to a successful play with children. A case study by Paria M. Akhavan, fourth grade teacher.

Elementary, My Dear Shakespeare
There are many ways to help children explore Shakespeare. An in-depth article by Janet Field-Pickering, Head of Education, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Shakespeare on Film

Quick Tips
Quick and easy ideas to help get you started.

Shakespeare's Wars Meet Star Wars
Films should motivate student interest in the plays. A case study by Anne Turner, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Director for a Day: A Middle Schooler's View from the Balcony
Let students call the shots. A case study by Rebecca Field, sixth and eighth grade teacher.

Adapting Shakespeare
Even Shakespeare "borrowed" plot lines once in a while. A case study by Ron Clark, twelfth grade teacher.

Putting Out the Light
Students dissect a scene from a film version of "Othello." A case study by Sarah Kirkpatrick, 10th grade teacher.

Shakespeare on Film
Trace the evolution of film adaptations of the Bard's best works and how educators have used them in the classroom. An in-depth article by Michael LoMonico, editor, Shakespeare magazine.

Teaching Shakespeare with Technology

Quick Tips
Quick and easy ideas to help get you started.

Performance and Digital Video
Technology is an ideal tool to support performance of Shakespeare. A case study by Christopher Shamburg, Jersey City University.

Lights, Camera, Action!
Bring "Henry IV" into the 21st century. A case study by Kurt Broderson, seventh and eighth grade teacher.

Technology in the Shakespeare Classroom
It doesn't take a large effort to integrate Shakespeare and technology in the classroom. An in-depth article by Jeremy Erlich, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Shakespeare's Language

Quick Tips
Quick and easy ideas to help get you started.

Rare Words vs. the Facts
Demonstrating to students how special Shakespeare is can be a challenge. A case study by Judith Elstein.

Soliloquies Buster
Help students feel the powerful emotions behind Shakespeare's language. A case study by Janet Field-Pickering, head of education, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Juliet Trumps Laura: Shakespeare and the Petrarchan Sonnet
Students see Juliet as a model for 21st century women. A case study by Louisa Newlin, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Taking Chances in the Classroom, Taking Shakespeare at his Word
To engage themselves in Shakespeare's works, students need not fully understand the language. An in-depth article by D. Kay Johnston, Department of Educational Studies, Colgate University and Margaret Maurer, Department of English, Colgate University.

Teaching Shakespeare with Primary Sources

Quick Tips
Quick and easy ideas to help get you started.

Shakespeare "for all time": Using Primary Sources in the Present-Day Classroom
Making a connection with the past. A case study by Julie Kachniasz

"O, Wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?": The Art of Wooing in "Romeo and Juliet"
Examine the mysteries of love in the 17th century. A case study by Rebecca Rufo, eighth grade teacher.

Primary Sources: The Window Into Shakespeare's Plays
Primary sources can help students recognize important themes in Shakespeare's plays. A case study by Robert Hiles, high school teacher.

Shakespeare and Primary Sources in the Classroom
Most of Shakespeare's plots can be traced to contemporary works of narrative fiction, historical chronicles, and other plays. An in-depth article by Stephen Dickey, Department of English UCLA.


Quick Tips
Quick and easy ideas to help get you started.

"Hamlet" for English Language Learners: The Photo-Performance Project
Performance doesn't necessarily have to be "live." A case study by Mary Ellen Dakin, high school teacher.

"A Hit, a Very Palpable Hit": Stage Combat for Student Performers
Incorporating stage combat into performance can be fun and safe. A case study by Jeff Schober, high school teacher.

It's All in the Concept: The World of the Play in Middle School
Inspire performance by promoting a sense of "ownership" of the scene. A case study by Stacie Beard, middle school teacher.

Discovery Through Performance
There is no "right" way to perform Shakespeare. An in-depth article by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, professor and director of Theatre/Music Theatre at American University.

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Shakespeare for elementary students
Shakespeare on film
Teaching Shakespeare with technology
Shakespeare's language
Teaching Shakespeare with primary sources
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