"The Play's the Thing"
Shakespeare Activities
Hamlet writing
Ophelia in Art
"Terrence and Phillip:
Beyond the Blow"

South Park Season 5, episode

(originally aired 7/18/01)
Doubt thou the stars are fire ...
An Ophelia Gallery

a web page of all things Ophelia
The Curse of Macbeth
Hamlet Death Bingo
Hamlet Rap and Cadence lyrics from the movie Renaissance Man

(shhh...don't SAY it!)
Brit Lit page
All high school students LOVE Shakespeare, right?  If you think that's true, try enthusiastically telling them that you'll be studying Shakespeare and his work for a month and see what happens--I predict a response similar to the groundlings' reactions to bad acting.  But, this doesn't have to be true; there are a lot of ways to make Shakespeare both FUN and INTERESTING.
The Scottish Play (Macbeth) Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets
Second, find some references to Shakespeare's works in modern television shows (South Park does the death scene of Hamlet) and movies (Renaissance Man).  Also, make sure students know that some modern movies they already like --  O, 10 Things I Hate About You, and She's the Man -- are just modern adaptations of Othello, Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night.
Finally, remember that, even though Shakespeare has been dead for almost 400 years, we don't have to continue teaching his work the stale, old way it's been taught for the last 400 years.  His work is still relevant to today's teens (I mean, hello, incest, insanity, love, greed, jealousy, murder, magic, what's not to like?), we just need to get them engaged.  Don't be afraid to have fun and get creative!
Puck, that Shrewd and Knavish Sprite Called
Robin Goodfellow
Sample A Midsummer Night's Dream text set
A Midsummer Night's Dream in Art
Third, incorporate fun, offbeat exercises:
    * Engage in a Shakespearean Insult war--the
          object is to get your opponent to laugh. 
     * Play
Hamlet Death Bingo--create a bingo
          card to predict which characters will be
          killed first .
     * Learn about the curse that has surrounded
Macbeth since its first performance.
     * Take the online quiz "
What is Your
         ShakespeareanTragic Flaw?".
Shakespeare Power Point
Book List of Shakespeare, Shakespearean characters, or Shakespearean references
in YA Lit
No Fear Shakespeare from Sparknotes
(original text side-by-side with modern text)
Shakespeare's Den-- Smart Gifts for Intelligent People
Return to
First and foremost, let's stop assigning roles to students and having them read aloud.  Shakespeare's plays were meant to be viewed, not read, so roll in the VCR/DVD player and let them watch and listen to people who actually KNOW what the lines mean.  Instruct students not to get distracted by the language, but focus on clues like body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.  Before you know it, they'll be laughing at the jokes.
Shakespeare on Film
(a one-man show of Macbeth featuring the voices of characters from The Simpsons)
Hamlet website
"The Regina Monologues"
The Simpsons Season 15, episode
(Originally aired 11/23/03)
Click Here to
Watch My Shakespeare Playlist on YouTube.
Thy Father is a Gorbellied Codpiece: Create Over 1,000 of Your Own Shakespearean Insults
by Barry Craft
The Elizabethan Insult and Curses of an Elizabethan Nature, or How to Cuss Like an Elizabethan Sailor
Shakespearean Insulter
by Chris Seidel