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'The play's the thing'.

All the resources mentioned in this article are freely available on the special NATE Classroom page at The title of each resource (here in bold) links directly to the file for you to download.

Or is it? When I started teaching, Shakespeare was my Achilles heel. Language was a concern, assessment was a concern, as was the huge size of the task ahead. Should I approach the text as a whole and drag my class though it from start to finish or should I focus on specific scenes and fill in the rest by way of plot summaries? And how on earth was I going to train my students to pick out relevant quotations when some of them couldn't sound out the words? Without any drama training or experience, it simply didn't occur to me that I was dealing with plays, not prose texts and that a few drama approaches might have provided a more painless (not to mention fun!) way in.

With this in mind, I've selected a few of Teachit's best drama/Shakespeare resources in the hope that others might be inspired by some of the ideas, find security in experienced teachers' tried and tested methods, and be able to see beyond some of the stumbling blocks that affected me.

'For my part it, was Greek to me'-- introducing your class to Shakespeare

You've read the play, you've got to grips with the characters, the plot twists and turns and the language (up to a point), but how on earth are you going to introduce your class to Shakespeare?

33 things to do with a playscript

An accessible list of simple but effective ways of working with a script. This includes the usual suspects such as hot-seating and role-play, but also champions ideas such as forum theatre, the balloon debate and fast-forwarding characters' lives. At the very least, this resource will provide a good jumping-off point.

Approaching Shakespeare

This is a teacher-focused list of ways into a Shakespeare text. Concentrating on the text as a script, it contains a number of appealing and simple ways to help bring the play to life. The most attractive aspect of this resource is that it encourages a holistic approach and steers away from painstaking, word-by-word analysis.

'My salad days'---pre-teaching activities, warm-ups and starters

Pre-Shakespeare drama---dramatic monologue (Much Ado About Nothing)

A fun activity in which students are asked to imagine attending a wedding in which the husband-to-be accuses his bride of infidelity and storms off. Students consider how they might react and whether or not they'd be thirsty for revenge.


Thought tunnel (Much Ado About Nothing) Students provide Leonato's thoughts on the disastrous 'almost wedding'.

Shakespearean insults

A simple, one-sided resource consisting of the foulest insults imaginable. This is a great warm-up activity and focuses on actions, positioning and tone and generates a level of enthusiasm unusual in Shakespeare lessons!


'We split! We split!'---accessing The Tempest

If you want to start The Tempest off with a bang, then simply round up your class and herd them towards the drama studio. Handy props include a whistle and the Teachit resource cited below.

Performing Act 1 Scene 1

This introduces a class to The Tempest by taking an ensemble approach to the shipwreck scene. It includes a list of actions and words, and a useful, cut-uppable sheet of vital quotations. The accompanying Tweakit suggests applying some of the techniques to Ted Hughes' poem 'Wind' by way of an extension activity.

'Like a dull actor ...'--it's not just about acting

Students sometimes assume that drama is solely about acting. The director or producer role is often left to the teacher who dutifully doles out parts and directions.

Act 1 Scene 3--Directing the three witches (Macbeth) and Act III Scene 1: The fight (Romeo and Juliet)

Both of these resources encourage students to take an overview of a specific scene and consider how it might be directed.

'A healthful ear to hear of it'--drama/speaking and listening crossover activities

You know the play inside out, your students have got the basic gist (well, enough to have written a coursework essay on it). The trouble is, in the midst of all the frenzied quote finding, PEEing and redrafting, you haven't done any speaking and listening activities. Fear not! Just cast your eyes at the following ...


Macbeth coursework for oral assessment

A role-play in which students take on the part of eyewitness and coroner. This is a supportive resource containing tips for beginning the role-play, language, themes and some examples of questions.

Romeo and Juliet: The Trial

This is a flexible, detailed resource which meets various GCSE speaking and listening criteria. How you assess the trial is up to you---the activity works for both group discussion and individual extended contribution.

'Nothing can come of nothing'---the complete text

It's logical to want to pursue the drama as opposed to the English route for whole play study. So, with this in mind, I've listed the best of Teachit's whole scheme approaches to Shakespeare.

Hamlet: a scheme of work, and Hamlet: resources

This pair of resources is geared around developing particular skills. These include improvisation, diction and voice projection, mime skills, characterisation and plot analysis. Starting with an insult hurling session and moving on to staging a Shakespearean Jerry Springer show, this is sure to get the creative juices flowing.


Much Ado about Drama

A whistle stop drama tour of, yes, you guessed it, Much Ado About Nothing.

Three ghosts visit Macbeth

This is a conscience alley activity in which students take on the roles of Duncan, Lady Macduff and Banquo.

Study pack for the complete play (The Tempest)

A resource that incorporates a combination of English and drama approaches, making it ideal for anyone without blanket access to a drama studio.

Romeo and Juliet takes the prize for the best-resourced play in terms of schemes. Two focus specifically on GCSE Drama, albeit with an Edexcel twist. These are: Romeo and Juliet scheme for Edexcel GCSE Drama Paper 1, Unit 2 and SoW for Edexcel scripted piece.

Scheme of work---Romeo & Juliet

This third Romeo and Juliet scheme works equally well with either Key Stage 3 or 4 students. Skills covered include choral speaking, role play, stage fighting and mime.

'The game is afoot'---games and decision making

There's nothing wrong with a game or two. With this in mind, take a look at some of Teachit's more playful Shakespeare/Drama resources.

Much Ado taboo

A great way to start or finish a lesson. Use the Teachit Timer (the sheep setting is my favourite) to ensure that there's no cheating.

Desert island decisions / Desert island decisions take two

Both of these resources revolve around the scenario of being shipwrecked on an island. Although not directly related to a specific play, you could use these in conjunction with either Twelfth Night or The Tempest.


'Your charm so strongly works 'em'--magical ICT whizziness

Create your own Shakespearean insult

A wonderful, whizzy DIY insult generator. The possibilities are (almost) endless.
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Title Annotation:TEACHIT
Author:Hewitt, Lucy
Publication:NATE Classroom
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 22, 2008
Previous Article:We know it's a story--but what if it were true? Using drama and nursery rhymes to support reading for meaning.
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