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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Happy Birthday William Shakespeare (April 23rd)

William Shakespeare
The anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is April 23rd.
What do YOU know about this famous writer?
I though you may find the following information of interest to share with your students.
Photograph from Gail Hennessey of William Shakespeare's Home
Did You Know?
1. Did you know that there are actually many ways to spell his name? The estimate is that there are over 80 ways to spell Shakespeare’s name!
2. Considered to be the greatest writer of the English language, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays* during his lifetime. Probably, the three most famous works were Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth. Shakespeare introduced thousands of words to the English language and also wrote 154 sonnets. 
It is said that next to the Bible, his works are the most quoted!
3. Shakespeare also used lots of expressions that are common today.  Examples include: “Knock, knock, Who’s there?”, “green eyed monster”, “vanish into thin air”, “wild goose chase”, “makes your hair stand on end”, “so-so”, “good riddance”, “tongue tied”, “night owl” and “eaten out of house and home”.
Learn more fun expressions of Shakespeare and Kids Shakespearean Compliments - from Folger Shakespeare Library.
4. Did you know that pencils were a new invention when Shakespeare was born?
5. It is thought (based on a 17th century portrait of him), that Shakespeare wore a gold hoop in his left ear.
6. During the time of Shakespeare, plays were only performed in the afternoon.
7. Women were not allowed to participate in plays during the time of Shakespeare so all the roles were performed by men.

Your Turn:
1. Illustrate an expression of William Shakespeare.  Place three of his expressions into sentences.
2. What are 2 character traits you think a writer needs to have?
3. Select one of the quotes of Shakespeare and illustrate it. Write a short paragraph explaining what you think the quote is saying.
A. "Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."
B. "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."
C. " I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed."
D. "What's done can't be undone."
E. "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
4. Create a compliment using Shakespeare's words. Read more of Shakespeare's poetry
5. See the grave of William Shakespeare and what he had written on it:  Interestingly, recent scans seem to suggest that Shakespeare's skull is missing from his grave! Why do you think someone may have stolen it?

Check Out These Resources:
  1. Check out my Reader’s Theater Script on William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare is a guest on a talk show and the studio audience asks questions about his life. Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee's Talk Show Series. Comprehension/Did You Know?section, LOTS of extension activities/links/key.
  2. William Shakespeare: Possible Interactive Notebook Activity. Short reading, fun acts, comprehension questions and a few extension activities.
Note: Illustration from Photograph of Shakespeare’s home was taken by Gail Hennessey
*37 plays are what most believe Shakespeare wrote in his lifetime.