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William Shakespeare Activities

Its William Shakespeare week and we have some Shakespeare activities that you can do with your English class that are fun and educational. Enjoy!

1. Who am I?

Tell your students to imagine that you’re a very famous Briton! Get them to ask you ‘yes/no’ questions until they guess who you are. (You are Shakespeare!)

If you want to, play a few more rounds of the guessing game using other famous Britons, or use it in another class to practice question forms again.

Alternatively, write an anagram of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE such as MALILIW RAKESHAPEES on the board and have a race to see which student can find the name first.

2. Shakespeare Mind Map

Once you have established that Shakespeare is going to be the topic for the lesson, write the word Shakespeare with a little picture if you are artistic, inside a bubble on the board. Ask students what they know about him or what comes to mind when they think about William Shakespeare. This will help you to know how much or how little your students already know in order to gauge the level of input for the class.


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

3. Shakespeare Quiz

Here is the printout for the Shakespeare Quiz (make sure not to include the answers):


How much do you know about William Shakespeare? Try this quiz to find out.

1) When was William Shakespeare born?

a) 1498

b) 1564

c) 1895

2) What period in English history was it when Shakespeare was alive?

a) Elizabethan

b) Georgian

c) Victorian

3) Which of these plays was not written by Shakespeare?

a) Hamlet

b) Romeo and Juliet

c) The Taming of the Rat

4) Where was Shakespeare born?

a) Stratford Upon Avon

b) Cambridge

c) Oxford

5) How many plays did Shakespeare write?

a) 8

b) 38

c) 108

6) Which type of plays did Shakespeare not write?

a) Tragedies

b) Comedies

c) Musicals

7) What’s the name of the ‘Shakespeare theatre’ in London?

a) The World Theatre

b) The Globe Theatre

c) The Old Shakespeare Theatre

8) Who played Romeo in the most recent film version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’?

a) Leonardo Dicaprio

b) Johnny Depp

c) Brad Pitt

Quiz Answers:

1-b, 2-a, 3-c, 4-a, 5-b, 6-c, 7-b, 8-a

4. Information gap reading.

Put students into pairs to do this activity. It’s very important that your students don’t look at each others’ texts during the task so make this clear when you give the instructions. If this type of task is new to your students, demonstrate it with one of the stronger students before the class begin. Before students begin speaking they need to read the text carefully and prepare the questions that they are going to ask their partner. The first question is given as an example. You may need to help your students write the questions.

Here’s the complete text for you to check the students’ answers.

William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England, in 1564 and he died in 1616. His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines), and some other poems. He is best known for his plays which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

When William Shakespeare was 18 years old he married Anne Hathaway, and they had three children. Shakespeare went to London to work as an actor and a writer. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed. In 1613 the theatre was destroyed by a fire. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Here are the printouts for Student A and B:


Student A

Text adapted from Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in 1) _____________________, in central England, in 1564 and he died in 2)_______. His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines), and some other poems. He is best known for his 3) ______ which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

When William Shakespeare was 18 years old he married 4) ______________, and they had three children. Shakespeare went to 5) ________ to work as an actor and a writer. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed. In 6) _______the theatre was destroyed by a fire. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Prepare your questions here (the first one is done for you):

1) Where was Shakespeare born?

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)


Student B

Text adapted from Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright, and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England, in 1) _____ and he died in 1616. His surviving work consists of 2)____ plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines), and some other poems. He is best known for his plays which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

When William Shakespeare was 3) ______ years old he married Anne Hathaway, and they had 4)_______ children. Shakespeare went to London to work as an actor and a writer. In 5) ______ the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed. In 1613 the theatre was destroyed by a 6) ______. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Prepare your questions here (the first one is done for you):

1) When was Shakespeare born?

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

5. Find somebody who…

The aim of this task is to get students talking to each other. Your students may well be familiar with the classic ‘Find Somebody Who..’ task. First get students to complete the last row with something they’d like to find out about their classmates, then remind students how important the extra information column is. Demonstrate a few of the question forms or elicit these from students and if necessary write the questions on the board to support weak students during the task. For example, ‘Can you name three of Shakespeare’s plays?’ and ‘Have you ever seen a film of a Shakespeare play?’ etc. When your students are ready to start, make sure everyone is standing up and has something to lean on and a pen with them, and off they go. As students are speaking to each other and completing the table make sure you monitor carefully so you can offer some constructive feedback at the end.

Here is the printout for your students:Find someone who               Name                               Extra information           …can name three of Shakespeare’s plays.…has seen a film of a Shakespeare play.… likes going to the theatre.… likes going to the theatre. … would like to be a writer.… would like to be an actor / actress.

6. Complete the Shakespeare Quotes

This is a task for higher levels, as it’s quite challenging. Put students into small groups or pairs and give your students time to try and match the quotes. If you like, cut up a set of quote halves so students can move them around on a table to experiment with different combinations. Encourage your students to look for words that normally go together, such as ‘borrow and lend’ or ‘blind and see’. Then check their answers and ask them what they understand by them.

Here is the printout for your students (make sure not to include the answers):

Here are some famous quotes from Shakespeare. Can you match the two halves to make the quote? All the world’s a stage that I shall say good night till it be morrow. Love is blind never did run smooth that is the question Neither a borrower and lovers cannot see Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, what’s done is done To be, or not to be: and all the men and women are merely players Things without remedy should be without regard; wherefore art thou Romeo? The course of true lovenor a lender be O Romeo, Romeo!

Answers:

All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players

Love is blind and lovers cannot see

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

To be, or not to be: that is the question

Things without remedy should be without regard; what’s done is done

The course of true love never did run smooth

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

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