Teaching Shakespeare

The great bard would be 449 this year (23 April) and still the sound of his iambic pentameter beats out from pages in every English classroom. England’s most famous playwright continues to inspire and enthral with his worlds of tragedy, love and betrayal. We have hand-picked some of the best secondary Shakespearean content in celebration of the literary legend’s birthday.

TES English Bard’s Birthday Competitions Join @tesEnglish and celebrate the literary legend’s birthday with three, yes THREE, twitter competitions! And yes, there are prizes up for grabs! Click here for info.

Shakespeare – the man

In his memory

From birth to death, an extensive and interactive lesson plan collection to trace the scribe’s life.

Shaking it out

Kinaesthetic fun to will facts about William into students’ memory.

Shakespeare sleuths

Turn students into super sleuths with this fun Shakespeare treasure hunt.

The life and times of Mr. W. Shakespeare

A brief introduction to the life of the great playwright, from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A quiz for a man

How much do your students know about ‘the man’ of Jacobean theatre? Find out with this Interactive whiteboard quiz (PPT).

A Shakespearean web quest

Guide students from his birth to his theatre, his beautiful prose to his profound insults with this high pressure, race against the clock, research task.


Shakespeare’s theatre

The man and his theatre

Remember the bard and walk the boards with this beautifully presented introduction to the man, his style and his world.

Theatre tours

Get students writing to inform and writing to entertain as they become tour guides of the Globe.

Time travelling theatre

Go back in time to the Globe in its prime, what do students see, feel and hear?

The Globe, its friends and its foes

Introduction to the structure, companies and practices of Elizabethan theatre.


Shakespeare’s language

Learning the lingo

Extensive presentation on Shakespeare’s linguistic techniques from TESEnglish.

Gotham or Globe

A fun exercise to de-mystify Will’s words, is each quote from the caped crusader or the sonnet scribe?

Sonnets and similes

Understand his rhythm, rhyme and style with this guide to sonnet writing.

Shakes or fakes

Do your students know their Shakespeare from their Eminem? Check with this quick true or false quiz.

Creative cussing

Explore Shakespeare’s insults with some creative language fun.


Playing Shakespeare today

Specials’ Shakespeare

BBC Class Clips video exploring costume design for 1980s Romeo and Juliet: when skinhead meets rude boy.

Seeing one’s self in Shakespeare

Mirror metaphors are the focus of the set design in this production of Hamlet, from BBC Class Clips.

Words into actions

A performance scheme of work; sour faces, Shakespearean insults and stage fighting.

A Midsummer abridged

Shortened and simplified script of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for SEN students.

Modern way of thinking

Adaptation activity for higher ability students- how will they adapt one of Shakespeare’s plays for their contemporary peers?

Shakespeare by the RSC

Watch extracts of performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and interviews with members of the cast.

Shakespeare in film

Videos from looking at modern adaptations of Shakespearean classics Romeo & Juliet, and Coriolanus.


More Shakespeare related resources, lesson plans and activities