April 23rd is the generally accepted date of birth (and coincidentally, death) of Shakespeare! This is based off of his baptism date.
Whenever I have taught Shakespeare my students have been intimidated, so why not make it fun and throw a party in his honor?
There ain’t no party like a Shakespeare party ‘cause a Shakespeare party don’t stop.
Here are some ideas:
Decorations:Hang posters of Shakespeare’s plays. Print up famous quotes and hang them as well! Make the front of the classroom look like a stage with fancy curtains! The ideas are endless!
Games:Have your students have a battle of wits throwing Shakespearean insults at each other! Here’s a list of insults via Buzzfeed! Want a lesson plan to follow? This one from the Stratford Festival is great! Shakespearean Insult Game directions and insults from Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet.
The Stratford Festival also suggests a great pre-reading game of Tossing Lines to familiarize students with lines from a play and allow them to make inferences about what type of play it is! Choose from several classic plays: Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, to name a few!
For more awesome materials from the Stratford Festival go here.
Food: Serve some snacks! Examine these quotes about food from Shakespeare and challenge students to come up with snacks they can bring in based off of them! Just hope no one brings in a Titus Andronicus themed pie.
A cake is always a good choice too!
Shakespeare Across the Curriculum: Shakespeare isn’t JUST for English teachers. Check out some ideas here, on Folger’s website about how other teachers can get in on the fun too. When I did an adapted version of Hamlet with my cognitively delayed emotionally disturbed students we had them sew their own costumes in their life-skills class and they created sets in their art class. It was a lot of fun to incorporate some other teachers into the lesson!
Have you ever celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday before?
Sara Fuller is a 5 year veteran English teacher with an MA in literature who has experience teaching students ranging from the middle school to college level. She blogs about her teaching adventures at Ms. F’s Teaching Adventures and young adult books at YA Lit, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly!