If you're looking for ways to incorporate classical drama into your spring classroom and remember "the Bard" on the day of his birth, April 23, you're in luck! These sites are among the best on the Web for integrating Shakespeare into your curriculum!
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Simple and straightforward, this site is exactly what it purports to be: an archive of Shakespeare's work. Here users will find the comedies, tragedies, and histories. Select an entire play, which loads as one incredibly long scrolling page, or click on one scene at a time from the prologue to the conclusion. Either way, the plain text is mercifully quick loading and easy to print. The links for Shakespeare's poetry and the interactive forum and search engine are currently down as the site sponsor repairs some technical glitches, but the catalogue of actual texts is up and running.
General Shakespeare Sites
Amanda Mabillard of About.com presents three pages -- close to 60 sites in all -- of great links for Shakespeare studies, including chronologies, concordances, and multimedia presentations. Sift through such titles as Counting Down toward the Ides of March, Quirky Shakespearean Words, and Transformations of Shakespeare to supplement the materials you already have on hand. Surf through dozens of pages on the plays, actors, festivals, literary criticisms, and much, much more.
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
This site states up-front that it strives to be the "complete annotated guide" to all things Shakespearean online. Along with a Shakespeare Timeline, look for a Shakespeare genealogy and biography quiz. The site also offers a selection of plays, poetry, and explanatory notes. Click on "Life and Times," which offers fascinating insights about Shakespeare. A total literary and historical experience.
Shakespeare's Globe Online
Any quality study of the Bard is going to include the Globe Theatre -- Shakespeare wrote his plays for the Globe. To understand the theater is to better understand the playwright. Founded by American actor/director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work, and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of education and performance.
Include paintings from throughout the ages based on Shakespeare's plays, and see how visual learners respond to the study of Shakespeare. Shakespeare Illustrated brings these images together in one place so that teachers and students can make use of them. The paintings are organized by the plays they are based on or by the artists who painted them. Some of the links are temporarily broken while Emory University secures permission to include images of certain paintings on the site, but the treasure of art collected here is truly invaluable for instruction.
Shakespeare is Elementary
Crichton Park School in Nova Scotia sponsors this page on Shakespeare for elementary school teachers and students. It presents his work from the unique view of young children; students built the site for other students. There are links, recommended works, a timeline of Shakespeare's life, a great PowerPoint presentation made by the second and third graders, and a list of ideas for teachers at the elementary level. If you've ever wanted to incorporate classic drama into your curriculum but needed a conduit to make it accessible for elementary students, this is your opportunity.
ClickNotes offers a complete study guide for Romeo and Juliet and "test drives" of guides for Othello, Hamlet, and Macbeth. Although these are free versions of a subscription product, they are full of information and highly useful for teachers and students wishing to analyze the works. For example, using the scene summaries, users can break down every scene by context, language, and plot. Through the character reviews, users can look up characters to learn more about them and see every instance in which they appear in the drama. Themes and motifs state specific themes in the work and back them up with citations from the play. There's a chronology of events, sonnets, and rhymes, and a word search allows users to look up any term or phrase in the text.
The Folger Library teams up with the National Endowment for the Humanities to bring teachers this wonderful collection of support materials for teaching Shakespeare in the classroom. There are more than 100 archived lesson plans, and two or three new lessons are featured every month. Thrill to such lesson titles as It's Elementary!: Stomping and Romping with Shakespeare, "I Will Hear That Play": Using Sound to Enhance the Text, and A Boxful of Character. The Teachers' Lounge requires registration (gratis) and serves as a discussion board for educators to share ideas and resources. Links lead to additional resources, including the Folger Library itself.
Article by Walter McKenzie
Copyright © 2009 Education World