Top tips and engaging lesson ideas to help you to introduce the life and work of William Shakespeare to primary pupils
To paraphrase a famous saying: Shakespeare is for life, not just for Shakespeare Week. And now that particular celebration has come and gone, it's time to look ahead to the Bard's anniversary and beyond.
It can be hard to dispel the myth that Shakespeare can be tricky to access, but teachers up and down the country have found creative ways to do just that. Take Tes author, H4nn4hWW, for example. She shares her tips and resources for using a cross-curricular approach to teaching classic plays in this practical post.
And we've got even more ideas below! With everything from teacher guides to planning packs, there's no excuse not to showcase the Bard's impressive legacy in your primary classroom.
Resources for teachers
This comprehensive education pack contains lots of handy advice on teaching Shakespeare, including objectives for each year group and activity ideas, while this short video neatly demonstrates a variety of possible teaching approaches.
Alternatively, explore how Shakespeare’s work has been translated on screen into films such as Gnomeo and Juliet and The Lion King with these useful discussion guides.
Resources for the classroom
This interactive introductory presentation, including basic facts about Shakespeare and a mini quiz, is ideal for an assembly or as the start of a unit of work.
Engage younger learners with abridged versions of some of the Bard’s most famous works, such as this sensory retelling of Macbeth and this pictorial interpretation of The Tempest. Additionally, this Shakespeare’s hat activity is a great starting point for discussion about classic characters.
For older students, this complete planning collection contains everything you need to teach The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing to any KS2 class. Or, this detailed Henry V teacher pack offers support and activities for classes reading, performing or watching the play.
For something a bit different, this Shakespearean insult kit is guaranteed to delight pupils of all ages.
Don’t forget to check out the wealth of resources available on our Teaching Shakespeare site.
This post was originally published on 3 March 2016, and was refreshed on 28 March 2017.