English: The ultimate Shakespeare toolkit

Nicola Davison
08th March 2017
English, secondary, Shakespeare, resources, display, lesson, unit of work, life, play, sonnet, KS3, KS4, GCSE, post-16, A-level, Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11, Year 12, Year 13

Get ready to celebrate Shakespeare’s anniversary with this extensive collection of display packs, units of work and one-off lesson ideas

Whether or not Shakespeare intended for his plays and sonnets to be studied in quite as much depth as they are in schools across the country, there’s no doubting that the themes within them are as compelling today as they were back then. So why not jump on the bandwagon and embrace all things Shakespeare in the month of his birth (and death!) with this mammoth collection of resources?

General display packs

Visually highlight the important personal events in Shakespeare’s life using this well-designed infographic. Or, put them in the context of wider historical happenings with these comprehensive timeline cards*.

When discussing Shakespeare’s major plays, make sure you’ve got these circular posters displayed around you classroom for easy reference.  Alternatively, these eye-catching newspaper covers are an incredibly engaging way of introducing key characters or plot points.

Encourage students to feel comfortable around Shakespeare’s language using these illustrated quotes posters*, or by framing them as a tweet like the quotations included in this social media-themed pack*.

Investigating the Bard’s life

Help pupils get to know more about Shakespeare’s life with this short unit, which also includes an introduction to some of his most popular plays.

If you’re looking for one-off lessons to do a similar thing, why not try using this biographical comic* as a stimulus? Alternatively, this active lesson, which will need adapting for secondary classes, sees students hunting for facts about the Bard’s life around the school site, while this classroom-based version includes some more unusual facts.

Develop older students’ contextual understanding of Shakespeare’s works by watching the videos included in this concise presentation*. Meanwhile, pupils of all ages can demonstrate their newly-found contextual knowledge using this Monopoly-inspired board game*.

Exploring Shakespeare’s work

This short video is a great starting point for discovering the words and phrases that were supposedly invented by Shakespeare. Take this further in this stimulating lesson by getting your classes to analyse some of his classic insults for both humour and offensiveness, before prompting them to create their own.

In terms of more substantial units of work, these popular schemes on Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth offer interesting routes into two very well-known plays for KS3 students. GCSE-level classes will most certainly benefit from the ideas featured in this blog post, tailored to the demands of the new specifications.

And let’s not forget Shakespeare’s sonnets! This complete lesson allows students to delve deeper into the structure and themes of Sonnet 130, in order to give them the tools to compose their very own.

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*This resource is being sold by the author

For even more inspiration, visit our Teaching Shakespeare collection. And if we've missed your favourite resource for engaging pupils in the life and times of Shakespeare, let us know!

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