20 February 2013

Shakespeare for Students

Have you ever come across a student who has never heard "to be or not to be, that is the question"? Throughout my many moons and classrooms, Shakespeare was an author that the majority of students had heard about, even though perhaps, they had never read Shakespeare themselves.

Whether you teach Shakespeare in your educational context, or would like to have a lesson on the well known bard, here are some resources you may want to consider using.

Interactive Folio: Romeo and Juliet  is media rich, interactive edition of Romeo and Juliet which engages and appeals to a digital youth.

MindConnect produces Shakespeare in Bits and now has an app as well.

Shakespeare , an app by Readdle, includes plays, sonnets and poems.

Shakespeare.com is a wonderful classic, offering a poetry machine , (similar to poetry magnets) for learners to write their own poems.

Shakespeare: Subject to Change includes notes for teachers and lessons,  while the site itself is interactive, explaining the  journey from pen to print, of Shakespeare's work.

Shakespeare Animated is a collection of videos with Shakespearean plays, while Shakespeare High includes tips on how to begin studying Shakespeare.

Lastly, there is 101 Incredibly Useful Links for Teaching and Studying Shakespeare published by Online College.

Further references:

Cambridge Launches Two New Explore Shakespeare iPad Apps

Hamlet: The Shakesperience - on iTunes

(Note: I learnt about this iBook from Patrick Jordan)

Cliff Notes Videos on Shakespeare (an animated approach to Shakespeare)

Student Crossword - Shakespeare

What is your favourite Shakespearean play, sonnet or poem?


  1. I find my students enjoy it most when I let them play with the language first. For instance, I let them pass a note and then turn it into English like you may see in Shakespeare (Didst tho hearest that?). Next, Horrible Histories has a video with an argument between Shakespeare and another person. To add to that, Scholastic has a script of essentially two people arguing - so I let the students act that out with a partner and then a few perform it for the class. The kids love that! I throw around teasers words like magic, romance, duels, and rebellion before we begin to spark their interest - just enough to hook without explaining. Just before beginning, we go over essential vocabulary and historic / mythological references for the upcoming act. For our first story, we are actually reading from the "No Fear Shakespeare" series that offers the text as original and modern side-by-side so that it is not so daunting. The students each have parts and they read the modern version. Then we listen to a recording of the original version so that they can become more familiar with that language. Eventually we will begin with the original version recording to let students see how much they can follow and then move into the modern text to check comprehension. I do teach gifted/honors ELA to 8th graders, so my modifications may be different that what you would choose. It's my first year teaching a full Shakespeare story, but the kids really love it, so I'm excited too.

  2. Hi Tiara,

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas! Scholastic is definitely a rich resource to dip into and Horrible Histories is one of my favourite collections for young learners - just love the way history is portrayed!

    I particularly like your use of audio as the activity adds depth and emotion to learning. Thank you again!