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How to Teach Shakespeare So Your Students Won’t Hate It

Some even hate it! In each act, I generally choose to read the scene with the events most important to developing the plot. I may choose one other scene per act to read that highlights another important aspect of the play, i. Simply provide summaries for the scenes you skip to fill students in on the less important events.


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Shakespeare was a wordy guy. Cut to the important parts of scenes and summarize the less important parts.

How to Read Shakespeare!

I sometimes cut lines in the middle of scenes to shorten them, like the back and forth of the Montague and Capulet servants in Act I, Scene I of Romeo and Juliet. I keep the most famous lines, figurative language I want students to analyze, and enough of the scene for students to get the feel of it.

Introducing Ten Strategies for Teaching Shakespeare

Use a mix of the original text, modern translations, and side-by-side texts like No Fear Shakespeare. All's Well that Sells Well: A Creative Introduction to Shakespeare. Students compare attending a performance at The Globe Theater with attending a modern theater production or movie. They then create a commercial for an Elizabethan audience promoting a modern product.

After reading The Tempest or any other play by William Shakespeare, students work in small groups to plan, compose, and perform a choral reading based on a character or theme.

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Filled with teacher-tested classroom activities, this book draws on often-taught plays, including: Free Sample Chapter Table of Contents. Related Resources back to top. Dress up in a costume, memorize a small speech or have it on a piece of paper , and hit the stage. Need a little support?


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Convince another teacher who is on prep during your class to join you in a dialogue scene. Break out the costumes: Ask the drama teacher if you can borrow some costumes for your unit. It is amazing what a few hats, coats, dresses and props can do to the atmosphere in your classroom! Ask students to bring something in from home to make a costume pile.

Teaching Reading Shakespeare

Asking students to perform in front of their peers is stressful enough. Throw in an antiquated language, and you have a recipe for a panic attack. Remember that performance is meant to be fun! Make the process safe and comfortable by building confidence with a good amount of rehearsal time. Use a scaffold approach: Typically, students are given roles and the whole-class performance of a scene begins immediately. This can be very intimidating for students. Take the pressure off by using a scaffold approach to make the idea of performing in front of the class less daunting:.

Be careful not to jump into analysis too early.

teaching-reading-shakespeare

Students need time to grapple with the text before discussing characterization, conflict, theme etc. The first read-through should solely be for understanding the plot. Once they have a strong understanding of the narrative, they will be more equipped to discuss and interpret the elements and structure of the play. As students become more comfortable, have them read the original text first a few times, and refer to a summary after reading to make sure they are understanding correctly.