Search form

About The Blogger

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...
Back to Blog

National Shakespeare Day is April 23rd

In Great Britain, Shakespeare Week is celebrated in the middle of the month of March!
The anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is April 23rd. It is called National Shakespeare Day. Trinity Church, in Stratford -upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born rings bells on this day and the mayor of the town leads a procession to the grave of Shakespeare where flowers are placed.
What do YOU know about this world famous writer?
Did You Know?  An estimated 1700 words which we use all the time were first used in the plays of Shakespeare.

Words such as eyeball, hurry, lonely, frugal, majestic and generous are just a few. 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”.

Another interesting fact about Shakespeare you may not know is he is the reason there are millions and millions of starlings in North America! Native to Europe and parts of Asia, the story goes that a person named Eugene Schiffelin really loved the work of Shakespeare. He was called a “bardolator”. He decided to bring the songbird to the United States. In fact, he was part of a group that wanted to bring all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, to North America, that weren’t native to this continent. The year was 1890. The place was Central Park, in New York City. Schieffelin released 60 starlings in the famous park. Today, there are over 200 million of the birds flying over the skies of North America!

Did you Know?

1.Shakespeare wrote the words found on his tombstone. At the time, it was common to remove buried bones in a cemetery to make room for new bodies. Shakespeare’s tombstone has a curse to anyone who would dare to move his bones. Shakespeare's bones were never moved! See his tomb(and read the curse) located inside the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.

2. Did you know that pencils were a new invention when Shakespeare was born? In one of his most famous plays,”Romeo and Juliet”, Shakespeare uses the word love 150 times.

3. It is thought(based on a 17th century portrait of him), that Shakespeare wore a gold hoop in his left ear.

4. During the time of Shakespeare, plays were only performed in the afternoon.

5. 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. See examples below in 3.  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. Go to this link:
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?
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.
Note: Other Reader's Theater Scripts on Famous Writers:
Note: Illustration from Photograph of Shakespeare’s home was taken by Gail Hennessey
*37 plays are what most believe Shakespeare wrote in his lifetime.