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Introduce myShakespeare to your students!

myshakespearFun fact: You may know I was an English major. You may not know that my serious focus was 16th century poetry and drama. My favorite course ever was Shakespeare’s Problem Plays.

Not every student I’ve met over the years felt the same draw to Shakespeare. The play is just not every kid’s thing. The language is challenging; the relevance is obscure; and without background, the humor falls flat.

I recently discovered, and fell in love with, an exciting new free resource for introducing digital kids to Elizabethan goodness.

myShakespeare offers the full text of each play enriched with audio, notes and assorted media.

Each play features:

  • screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-9-14-23-pmComplete audio recordings that emphasize clarity and comprehension
  • Contemporary translations to make the language more approachable
  • Popup notes offering insights into literary devices
  • Animated videos that explore the play and spark further discussion
  • Performances of key scenes to bring the play to life
  • Interview with characters about the events unfolding in the play. 

Currently three frequently studied plays are available: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and MacbethJulius Caesar is coming soon.

Quick Study features function as scene-by-scene indexes, leading readers to such goodies as summaries, performances, interviews with the characters.  I am particularly fond of the professionally produced song summaries commercials, dig deeper explanations and the brilliant character interviews. These clever and entertaining elements offer readers a chance to stop at critical moments and support insights and understandings. They allow young readers to literally view the characters as real people and consider their feelings and motivations. They are perfect for inspiring class discussion. And they present lovely models for creative student video projects!

To give you a taste of the fun:

Here’s an interview with the Montagues, the Capulets, Friar Laurence and the Prince of Verona at the end of Romeo and Juliet featuring series hosts Carrie Paff and Jeremy Sabol.  The video interviews with the characters are high quality and entertaining. They provide insight into the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and motivations.

And a performance from Romeo and Juliet:

Here’s a What’s Happening? introduction/welcome to Hamlet:

Here’s a song summary of Hamlet (Act 4) Hey, Laertes, Who’s to Blame?:

And here’s a commercial for some handy Out Damn Spot Remover:

Teachers will appreciate the comprehensive curriculum, which includes lesson plans, act-by-act resources, ideas for essays and projects, reading quizzes, and teaching tips, as well as background videos on Elizabethan theater and Shakespeare’s life



Keep up with new releases and enjoy fun quotes and features by following #myShakespeare on Twitter and Facebook.

Make a resolution share myShakespeare with your English department friends.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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