When it comes to teaching William Shakespeare, there’s no need to start from scratch! There are incredibly rich resources waiting for you online, but it can be a bit exhausting to wade through them. That’s why today I’m sharing my top six with you. You’ll find a great option for the full text of the most popular plays, a treasure trove of helpful videos from the Royal Shakespeare company, The Folger Library’s fabulous Shakespeare podcast, John and Hank Green’s fast-and-furious informational videos, a compendium of acting games to help inspire your student actors to greater heights, and my top Ted Talk pick, featuring Akala and his take on hip hop and Shakespeare.
Online Shakespeare Resource #1: My Shakespeare
With full linked digital texts of Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, My Shakespeare is an amazing resource!
Each play has linked popouts to help with understanding key moments, audio and video clips, and more. It’s a digital Shakespearean wonderland. While you can create an account for some additional features, the linked texts of the play are all available WITHOUT the account.
Online Shakespeare Resource #2: The Shakespeare Learning Zone (Royal Shakespeare Company)
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Learning Zone has a wealth of resources available for 15 Shakespeare plays. The resources for each play are divided into three levels, beginning with help for those new to the play and advancing through more complex information. There’s help for understanding big theater concepts, photos and clips from RSC performances, actor discussions on video, character maps, story outlines, and much more.
Online Shakespeare Resource #3: The Shakespeare Unlimited Podcast (Folger Shakespeare Library)
With dozens of intriguing episodes like “Shakespeare and Game of Thrones,” “Shakespeare and YA Novels,” and “Pop Sonnets,” The Shakespeare Unlimited Podcast is a great way to bring in modern connections and relevancy to whatever play you’re studying. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite episodes in another blog post soon, but I’m sure you’ll find many of your own if you go exploring!
Visit The Shakespeare Unlimited Podcast
Online Shakespeare Resource #4: John and Hank Green’s Shakespeare Crash Course Channel
John and Hank Green have collaborated with PBS Digital Studios to create these fast-and-furious looks at Shakespeare’s life, his sonnets, and three of his plays – Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. They’re a fun complement to a Shakespeare unit on any of these plays, though be careful of showing the play-specific ones before reading the plays, as they are full of spoilers.
Visit The Crash Course Playlist
Online Shakespeare Resource #5: Acting Games from The ArtsLiteracy Project
No matter what Shakespeare play you’re teaching, if you’re doing any read-alouds or acting, spending time throughout the unit on community building and acting games to help students warm up as actors and ensemble members will really help. This amazing list of options from Eileen Landay and Kurt Wooton’s ArtsLiteracy Project will give you tons of ideas. And while you’re there, take a look at some of the other amazing resources shared on this incredible site.
Visit The ArtsLiteracy Project
Online Shakespeare Resource #6: Hip Hop and Shakespeare – Akala’s Ted Talk
Akala’s incredibly popular Ted Talk connecting Hip Hop and Shakespeare examines the connection between Shakespearean language and Iambic pentameter and the language and rhythm of hip hop. It also explores questions about who owns education and artistic heritage, and how Shakespeare has come to be associated with the “elite.”
Giving students a sketchnotes template to sketch and write on as they watch can help them focus and remember more from the talk. Click here to make your copy of the templates below.
I hope you’re excited to dive into all of these fabulous resources! I know there are many more out there, but these are the chocolate chips in the cookie as far as I’m concerned, and I hope they’ll become go-tos for you as well.
Hey, by the way, want to get your students making creative connections between Shakespeare and modern life with hexagonal thinking? Make it easy on yourself when you sign up for my free hexagonal thinking digital toolkit. You’ll find complete instructions and templates you can quickly adapt to any play (or any text for that matter). Click here to get signed up for this free resource.