TeachingEnglish
Shakespeare

Age range: 12-adult
Theme: William Shakespeare

Instructions for language assistants in Italics

Introduction:

Language Assistants have mentioned that they are sometimes asked to give lessons about Shakespeare. This lesson may help you to get started when planning a lesson based on Shakespeare. Feel free to pick and choose the tasks that are appropriate for the age and level you are teaching. If you need encouragement to bring Shakespeare into your classroom in the first place (!) read this article by Jo Bertrand before you begin your lesson planning:

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/shakespeare-teens

There are more materials available on Shakespeare on the Teaching English website which would work well in combination with some of the tasks here. The links are:

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/try/activities/shakespeare-extracts

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/try/lesson-plans/much-ado-about-nothing

Tasks one and two introduce Shakespeare as the topic for the lesson. Task three is a quiz which will help you to discover how much, or how little your students already know about the great man. Task four is a short reading activity for students to do in pairs and task five is a speaking activity to get students talking a little about the world of theatre. The final task is aimed at higher levels and asks student to complete the famous Shakespeare quotes.

1. Who am I?

Tell your students to imagine that you're a very famous Briton! Get them to ask you ‘yes/no' questions until they guess who you are. (You are Shakespeare!)

If you want to, play a few more rounds of the guessing game using other famous Britons, or use it in another class to practise question forms again.

Alternatively, write an anagram of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE such as MALILIW RAKESHAPEES on the board and have a race to see which student can find the name first.


Task 1 Who am I?

 

Listen to your teacher.


2. Shakespeare Mind Map

Once you have established that Shakespeare is going to be the topic for the lesson, write the word Shakespeare with a little picture if you are artistic, inside a bubble on the board. Ask students what they know about him or what comes to mind when they think about William Shakespeare. This will help you to know how much or how little your students already know in order to gauge the level of input for the class.


Task 2 Shakespeare Mind Map

What comes to mind when you think of William Shakespeare? Work in groups and write your ideas below.

 

 

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

 

3. Shakespeare Quiz

1-b, 2-a, 3-c, 4-a, 5-b, 6-c, 7-b, 8-a

 

Task 3 Shakespeare Quiz

 

How much do you know about William Shakespeare? Try this quiz to find out.



1) When was William Shakespeare born?

a) 1498

b) 1564

c) 1895


2) What period in English history was it when Shakespeare was alive?

a) Elizabethan

b) Georgian

c) Victorian


3) Which of these plays was not written by Shakespeare?

a) Hamlet

b) Romeo and Juliet

c) The Taming of the Rat


4) Where was Shakespeare born?

a) Stratford Upon Avon

b) Cambridge

c) Oxford


5) How many plays did Shakespeare write?

a) 8

b) 38

c) 108


6) Which type of plays did Shakespeare not write?

a) Tragedies

b) Comedies

c) Musicals


7) What's the name of the ‘Shakespeare theatre' in London?

a) The World Theatre

b) The Globe Theatre

c) The Old Shakespeare Theatre


8) Who played Romeo in the most recent film version of ‘Romeo and Juliet'?

a) Leonardo Dicaprio

b) Johnny Depp

c) Brad Pitt

 

4. Information gap reading.

Put students into pairs to do this activity. It's very important that your students don't look at each others' texts during the task so make this clear when you give the instructions. If this type of task is new to your students, demonstrate it with one of the stronger students before the class begin. Before students begin speaking they need to read the text carefully and prepare the questions that they are going to ask their partner. The first question is given as an example. You may need to help your students write the questions.

Here's the complete text for you to check the students' answers.

William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England, in 1564 and he died in 1616. His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines), and some other poems. He is best known for his plays which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

When William Shakespeare was 18 years old he married Anne Hathaway, and they had three children. Shakespeare went to London to work as an actor and a writer. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare's plays were first performed. In 1613 the theatre was destroyed by a fire. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare's plays.

Task 4 Information gap reading.
 

 

 

Student A

Text adapted from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare

 

William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in 1) _____________________, in central England, in 1564 and he died in 2)_______. His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines), and some other poems. He is best known for his 3) ______ which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

 

When William Shakespeare was 18 years old he married 4) ______________, and they had three children. Shakespeare went to 5) ________ to work as an actor and a writer. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare's plays were first performed. In 6) _______the theatre was destroyed by a fire. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare's plays.

Prepare your questions here (the first one is done for you):

1) Where was Shakespeare born?

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

 



 


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Student B

Text adapted from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare

 

William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England, in 1) _____ and he died in 1616. His surviving work consists of 2)____ plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines), and some other poems. He is best known for his plays which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

 

When William Shakespeare was 3) ______ years old he married Anne Hathaway, and they had 4)_______ children. Shakespeare went to London to work as an actor and a writer. In 5) ______ the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare's plays were first performed. In 1613 the theatre was destroyed by a 6) ______. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare's plays. 

Prepare your questions here (the first one is done for you):

1) When was Shakespeare born?

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

 

5. Find somebody who...

The aim of this task is to get students talking to each other. Your students may well be familiar with the classic ‘Find Somebody Who..' task. First get students to complete the last row with something they'd like to find out about their classmates, then remind students how important the extra information column is. Demonstrate a few of the question forms or elicit these from students and if necessary write the questions on the board to support weak students during the task. For example, ‘Can you name three of Shakespeare's plays?' and ‘Have you ever seen a film of a Shakespeare play?' etc. When your students are ready to start, make sure everyone is standing up and has something to lean on and a pen with them, and off they go. As students are speaking to each other and completing the table make sure you monitor carefully so you can offer some constructive feedback at the end. 

Task 5 Find somebody who...

Find someone who                Name                   
           Extra information          
...can name three of Shakespeare's plays.    
...has seen a film of a Shakespeare play.    
... likes going to the theatre.    
... likes going to the theatre.    
 ... would like to be a writer.    

... would like to be an actor / actress.

   

 

6. Complete the Shakespeare Quotes

This is a task for higher levels, as it's quite challenging. Put students into small groups or pairs and give your students time to try and match the quotes. If you like, cut up a set of quote halves so students can move them around on a table to experiment with different combinations. Encourage your students to look for words that normally go together, such as ‘borrow and lend' or ‘blind and see'. Then check their answers and ask them what they understand by them.

Answers:

All the world's a stage and all the men and women are merely players

Love is blind and lovers cannot see

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."

To be, or not to be: that is the question

Things without remedy should be without regard; what's done is done

The course of true love never did run smooth

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-quotes.htm

 

Task 6 Complete the Shakespeare Quotes

Here are some famous quotes from Shakespeare. Can you match the two halves to make the quote?

groups.

 All the world's a stage  that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
 Love is blind  never did run smooth
 that is the question  Neither a borrower
 and lovers cannot see  Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
 what's done is done  To be, or not to be:
 and all the men and women are merely players  Things without remedy should be without regard;
 wherefore art thou Romeo?  The course of true love
 nor a lender be  O Romeo, Romeo!


Internet links

The BBC Newsround website has some great information about Shakespeare here.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/find_out/guides/showbiz/shakespeare/newsid_3539000/3539058.stm -

A biography and list of Shakespeare's major works from Britain Express.
http://www.britainexpress.com/History/bio/shakespeare.htm

the BBC's ‘historic figures' section.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/shakespeare_william.shtml

By Jo Budden

 

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Comments

jvl narasimha rao's picture
jvl narasimha rao

Dear Jo Budden, I think this will make an interesting lesson at the secondary or even at the intermediate level in india. This is a very good example of how literary subjects like Shakespeare can be taught as language in language classes.The lesson slowly and surely lead the students to the classics of the immortal, inimitable dramas of Shakespeare. the exercises are very interesting and useful.I would like to frame lessons on this model.Being a student English language and literature and one who has specialised in the immortal creations of Shakespeare i have found the lesson very very interesting. i have really become a student again. After all we are all student teachers of English only.How fascinating it is to learn about Shakespeare, the bard of STRATFORD-UPON-AVON. WITH KIND REGARDS, Yours sincerely, JVL NARASIMHA RAO