…don’t always work well together. I’ve found that until you help kids make that connection with his language, themes, characterization, etc., many dread pulling out their books to read Shakespeare.
With this in mind, I’m always looking for new ideas to help liven up Shakespeare lessons. It is through these great teaching strategies and my passion for reading his work (and again, helping show kids the connections they can make with his work) that I have found teaching Shakespeare can be a LOT of fun for both me and the kids.
One resource that I have found VERY helpful is Mary Ellen Dakin’s book Reading Shakespeare with Young Adults. There are so many helpful topics in this book (ranging from understanding the language to reading strategies to acting out to hear [and see] the words) that my kids have really enjoyed participating in and that have truly helped bring Shakespeare’s work alive.
[note: a favorite activity is the “living pictures” (pg 158) assignment that I modified to fit in with our Othello reading. We record the groups “spins” and enjoy watching them together to add to our discussion (with some even taking it a step farther to create a video in which all of the spins are brought together to ultimately define the complexity of the characters, specifically Iago).
Also, as many of you probably already know, the Folger Shakespeare Library has TONS of resources, too!
If you’ve had success teaching Shakespeare to high schoolers (or if you are a high schooler who has found something that works for you or you have enjoyed doing!), feel free to share! 🙂