How I Use It
This website should be the first one consulted when building a unit on Shakespeare, and his plays or sonnets. The site is huge and comprehensive, and will take some time to explore, but if you are a teacher wanting to learn more about Shakespeare or are trying to design a lesson on the sonnets or a particular play, there are a few places to start with.The DISCOVER SHAKESPEARE tab includes sections on Shakespeare’s Life, Work and Theater, which provide enough background knowledge when setting up a lesson that introduces Shakespeare. You can select what to include based on the level of your students. If you want something quick and concise, the link to Ten Cool Facts under Shakespeare for Kids is helpful.The TEACH AND LEARN tab will take you to Teaching Resources, which contains creative lessons and curriculum modules on the plays and sonnets. Even if you don't use the lessons or modules as is, you can use parts of them to supplement existing lessons, or get great ideas for new ones.
I think this site is best for teachers to create lessons. There really isn't much for students to do independently that will engage them for long. If a teacher wanted to direct students to particular areas of the site and have them complete a task she created, that could work. What I liked under the Shakespeare for Kids section (found under the Discover Shakespeare tab) are the quotations and scripts, which include sheets for insults, compliments, and and activity to “Try Your Hand at Shakespeare.” I usually do this kind of activity when beginning a unit on Shakespeare to make the students comfortable with the language and to show them the Shakespeare can be fun (and funny!). I also liked the primary sources that are included on the site. Students will be able to get a glimpse into the daily life of citizens living during Shakespeare's era. This can be a higher order activity by having students analyze how the document relates to the play. Teachers have included comments on how they have used the document in their classrooms.