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Shakespeare in Bits
Pros: Effectively supports independent, group, and whole-class work. Lesson plans extend learning.
Cons: Animation is a little outdated. Not all plays have the same features. Emerging readers could use support for summary and analysis.
Bottom Line: This is a great starting place for students to connect with these challenging texts.
How Can I Teach with This Tool?
Shakespeare in Bits is a website with interactive versions of several Shakespeare plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Teachers can use this site as an intro and first reading of the plays. Given the interactive features built into the site include things like animation, voice audio, and highlighted text, Shakespeare in Bits can be a good way to build students' confidence in analyzing the text (and maybe serve as the perfect emergency sub day plan!).
Use the scene-by-scene lesson plans (available on select plays) to support independent, small-group, or whole-class work, especially if access to tech isn't a concern. The lesson plans' comprehension, text analysis, and character analysis could also be assigned as homework in a flipped classroom model, saving the critical thinking questions for whole discussion and the extension activities for small group and independent work. Older students and more confident readers could be challenged to create their own extension activities to demonstrate their ability to understand the play's universal themes. Just be sure to round out your students' study of the play by sharing videos of theatrical interpretations and movie versions so that they can more fully appreciate the various ways these plays can be interpreted and performed.
The site also features quizzes (for select lessons) that can be customized to focus on either a specific act or the whole play, assessing students' grasp of the play's vocabulary, key quotes, or general knowledge. You can select either all or one of the specific categories for each quiz or opt for a mix (i.e., some vocab, some quotes, and some general knowledge).
While most of the site's content is accessible for all reading levels, expect to provide some of your own vocabulary support for emerging readers, younger students, and ELLs when assigning each scene's Notes and Summary sections.