10th November 2006 at 00:00
Ages 7 to 11

Shakespeare's language is often an enormous barrier. I used an online "Shakespearean insult generator" to help children find Elizabethan English interesting and inspiring.

This term's cross-curricular theme for Years 5 and 6 is the Tudors. We are studying A Midsummer Night's Dream, culminating in a visit to a Shakespeare4Kidz production.

We began with three short extracts (two or three lines) from a scene in which Lysander, Helena and Hermia are quarrelling. I read this as dramatically as possible, then asked for volunteers to do the same. Then pupils practised in pairs before being invited to act in front of the class.

I then gave out the insult generator: a three-columned list of nouns and adjectives from Shakespeare which the children could combine and preface with "thou" to produce phrases such as: "Thou droning, hell-hated foot-licker."

In pairs, they then chose favourite phrases and could stand up and choose another pupil to insult. This pupil then retaliated with his or her own phrase - again, with feeling.

Finally, the children created written phrases which they extended into sentences or short paragraphs, using the extracts from A Midsummer Night's Dream as models


www.pangloss.comseidelshake_rule.html for an online Shakespearean insult generator.

Shakepeare4kidz at


Shakespeare and the Young Writer by Fred Sedgwick (Routledge, ISBN 0415174694) is a superb book

Joanne Jones is literacy co-ordinator at Gipsey Bridge primary, Lincolnshire

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now