Think teaching Shakespeare is all toil and trouble? Methinks thou dost protest too much! These Shakespeare activities and printables will help you screw your courage to the sticking place and remember that the play’s the thing!
1. Solve a Cold Case
Ripped from the headlines! Set up a crime scene and challenge your class to find the motivation behind Caesar’s murder. Who says Shakespeare has to be boring?
Source: Ms. B’s Got Class
2. Craft Bumper Stickers
This works for any play. Have your students design bumper stickers! Simple concept but lots of room for creativity.
Source: theclassroomsparrow / instagram
3. Build a Globe Theatre Model
Knowing about the theater where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed is essential to understanding the plays themselves. Have your students build this simple paper model as you learn about the Globe Theatre.
Get it: Papertoys.com
4. Design a Mask for the Ball
Have students create a mask for a specific character to wear to the Romeo and Juliet masquerade ball. They must justify their color and style choices for that character—a fun way to do character analysis.
Source: Lily Pinto / Pinterest
5. Transl8 a Scene 2 Txt
The language may be archaic, but the stories are endlessly modern. Have your class re-write a scene or sonnet in text, tweets, or other social media for a fun twist.
Source: fifteen eightyfour
6. Replace Words With Emojis
Take things a step further and remove words from the equation entirely! Have students devise book covers or re-write a scene or sonnet using only emojis to tell the tale. Discuss the difficulty of encapsulating some concepts in brief images and compare them with Shakespeare’s word choices.
Source: For Reading Addicts
7. Design a Book Cover
Combine art and graphic design with literature when you have kids originate book covers for a Shakespeare play. They make a fun classroom display too!
Source: Small World at Home
8. Dress the Part
Dramatic readings are much more fun with a few props and costumes! This easy DIY paper ruff is made from coffee filters, and younger kids will love dressing up while they learn.
Source: Red Tricycle
9. Make Shakespearean One-Pagers
Challenge students to represent a play visually—all on one page. Templates are available at the link below to help get you started.
Source: Spark Creativity
10. Generate Word Clouds
Use a computer program like Tagxedo or Wordle to build a word cloud identifying important words from a play or sonnet. (Tagxedo allows you to create word clouds in a variety of shapes.) Discuss these words and their importance.
Source: Mrs. Orman’s Classroom
11. Try Running Dictation
Get kids up and moving with “running dictation.” Print out a sonnet, prologue, monologue, or other important speech. Cut it up by lines and hang the sections up around a room or other area. Students find the lines, memorize them, report them to a scribe, and then put them in order.
Source: theskinnyonsecondary / Instagram
12. Fashion Upcycled “Laurel” Wreaths
Need some impromptu costumes for Julius Caesar or Coriolanus? These clever “laurel” wreaths are made from plastic spoons!
Source: A Subtle Revelry
13. Write a Scene in Comic Form
Like storyboarding, writing a scene in comic form helps capture the essence of the action. Kids can use the actual text from the scene or add in their own sense of humor. (Mya Gosling has re-written most of Macbeth in this form. For inspiration, check it out at the link below.)
Source: Good Tickle Brain
14. Write Concrete Poems
Turn pivotal quotes from a play into concrete poems, using shapes that represent the concept. Students can do this by hand or using the computer.
Source: Dillon Bruce / Pinterest
15. Stage Scene Snapshots
Performing an entire play takes a lot of time. Instead, have student groups stage scene snapshots capturing key moments from the play. Assemble them into a storyboard that covers the whole play.
Source: The Classroom Sparrow
16. Enjoy a Musical Interlude
Compile a playlist for the play, act by act. Have students explain their song choices and listen to some of them in class.
Source: Cal Shakes R + J Teacher’s Guide
17. Write in Style
Get younger kids excited about Shakespeare when they write with their own “quill” pens. Color, cut out, and tape around a pen or crayon for old time fun!
18. William Shakespeare Coloring Page
Meet the Bard! Use this coloring image to introduce Shakespeare to young readers or as an anchor for other creative activities.
Get it: Super Coloring
19. Cheer Up, Hamlet! Paper Doll
Have a little fun when teaching Hamlet. This free printable paper doll collection includes standard costumes but also hilarious extras like Captain Denmark and Doctor Who.
Get it: Les Vieux Jours
20. Shakespeare Mad Libs
Remove key words from scenes or sonnets, fill in some new ones, and let the fun begin! Hit the link below for several pre-made games. You or your students can also make your own.
Get it: Homeschool Solutions
21. Shakespeare Lettering Sets
Download these free letter sets (one for general Shakespeare, one for Macbeth) to create bulletin boards or other classroom displays.
Get it: Instant Display
22. Elizabethan Language Terms
Print a copy for each student to keep handy as they tackle Shakespeare’s works.
Get it: readwritethink
23. A Midsummer Night’s Dream Coloring Pages
Introducing younger students to A Midsummer Night’s Dream? These printable coloring pages and finger puppets are just the ticket.
Get it: Phee Mcfaddell
24. Phrases We Owe to Shakespeare Poster
Shakespeare’s language becomes much more relatable when you realize how many of his phrases are still in use today. Hang this poster to introduce your students to some of these phrases.
Get it: Grammar.net
25. Shakespeare Notebooking Pages
Keep students organized with these free printable notebooking pages for a variety of Shakespeare plays.
Get it: Mama Jenn
26. Shakespeare’s Life Poster
Hang this tongue-in-cheek timeline of the man himself to give students an overview of his life.
Get it: Imgur
27. Shakespeare Plays Word Search
Print this simple word search to familiarize your class with Shakespeare’s plays.
Get it: Word Search Addict
28. Vintage Shakespeare Quote Printables
These pretty vintage images with Shakespeare quotes will add a touch of class to your classroom.
Get it: Mad in Crafts
29. Shakespeare Plays Flowchart
Wondering which Shakespeare play to see? This flowchart has got you covered! You can print your own version for free or buy a full-size poster.
Get it: Good Tickle Brain
What are your favorite Shakespeare activities and printables? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.