A Collection of Shakespeare Lesson Plans

Help Students Understand the Bard's Verse, Themes, and More

Actors in old-fashioned costumes on stage

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Students often find the works of Shakespeare intimidating, but with this collection of free lesson plans about the Bard's plays, teachers can make the subject matter easier for kids to digest. Use these resources to devise workshop ideas and classroom activities specially designed for teachers looking to breathe new life into Shakespeare’s plays. Altogether, they will provide practical exercises and tips to help teachers and students rediscover Shakespeare in the classroom.

The First Shakespeare Lesson

It's very important for teachers to make their first Shakespeare lesson practical, accessible and fun. All too often, students put a wall up where Shakespeare is concerned because they find the archaic language in his plays daunting. This is doubly true if your classroom includes English language learners who struggle to understand contemporary English terms, let alone archaic ones.

Thankfully, the "Teaching Shakespeare Columnist" shows you how to introduce Shakespeare in a way that interests your students rather than makes them fear reading his works.

How to Teach Shakespearean Words

Shakespeare’s words and phrases are easier to understand than one might think. Quell your students' fears about Shakespearean language by using the “Teaching Shakespeare Columnist.” It is designed to translate Shakespeare’s words for newcomers. Once students get better acquainted with the Bard, they tend to enjoy the insults and comedic language found throughout his works. Heck, they might even try to use his wittiest words on each other. You can even devise a three-column list of descriptive words from Shakespeare's plays and have your students use them to craft compelling and adjective-rich put-downs.

How to Prepare a Shakespeare Soliloquy

Our “Teaching Shakespeare Columnist” shows you how to develop the perfect Shakespeare soliloquy. Teach your students the importance of the soliloquy in Shakespeare's plays and other dramas. Point to examples of soliloquies not only in stage productions but in contemporary motion pictures and television shows. Have them practice writing a soliloquy about an important issue in their life or in society today.

How to Speak Shakespearean Verse

Our “Teaching Shakespeare Columnist” provides a practical approach to an old question: How do you speak Shakespearian verse? This resource will be a great help as you read Bard's works aloud in class. Eventually, you can have students (who feel comfortable doing so) practice taking turns reciting the Shakespearean verse. Be sure to model the proper way to recite the verse to the class as well. After all, you're the expert!

In addition, you can screen a production of actors reciting a Shakespearean verse in film adaptations of his plays, such as 1965's "Othello," starring Laurence Olivier, or 1993's "Much Ado About Nothing," starring Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, and Emma Thompson.

Develop Your Shakespeare Interpretation Skills

Students will truly feel confident tackling Shakespeare once they've learned to interpret his works. With this "Shakespeare Interpretation Skills" resource, you can help them achieve this goal. Before long, they will grow accustomed to taking lines of Shakespearean verse and describing what it means in their own words.  

Have them divide a piece of notebook paper into two columns. One column will feature a line of Shakespearean verse and the other, their interpretation of it.

Top Tips for Teaching Shakespeare

If you're a new teacher or working at a school with little support from your colleagues, review these tips for teaching Shakespeare from English and drama teachers from around the world. All of these educators were once in your shoes, but in time, they grew comfortable teaching students Shakespeare.

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Jamieson, Lee. "A Collection of Shakespeare Lesson Plans." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/shakespeare-lesson-plans-2985149. Jamieson, Lee. (2020, August 27). A Collection of Shakespeare Lesson Plans. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/shakespeare-lesson-plans-2985149 Jamieson, Lee. "A Collection of Shakespeare Lesson Plans." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/shakespeare-lesson-plans-2985149 (accessed June 3, 2023).