The Man and His Impact

Shakespeare Lesson #1

The Man and His Impact


Lesson Objective: Students will demonstrate critical thinking about the impact of Shakespeare/his works by engaging in class discussion and writing a short reflection.




Graffiti Board Hook [5 mins]

  • Invite students to make massive list of any/every reason of why they think we’d want or need to study Shakespeare on the white board.


Review Board w/Class

  • Go over some of answers ask students to explain why they chose them [5-10 mins]



  • Use answers on board to delve deeper into discussion of 4 possible reasons (use PowerPoint for visuals):
  • Nothing better to do? [5 mins]
    • Show Rebecca black’s “Friday”
    • Is it because we don’t have other options?
  • Entertaining? [10 mins]
    • Compare study of Shakespeare to opening dialogue in Princess Bride between the grandpa and grandson:
      • The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
        Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…
        The Grandson: Doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll try to stay awake.
    • Show/discuss examples in PowerPoint, (slides 3-6: Hamlet, Macbeth, R&J)
    • Surprising that when people think of Shakespeare, they don’t think of all the action that’s packed into a play.
    • Through the course of this unit we’re going to look at examples of these spectacular elements-who knows, might find ideas, situation, characters, or jokes that actually entertain us!
  • Timeless? [10 mins]
    • (PPT Slide 7) Explain that people through the ages have used Shakespeare’s works to contextualize their questions, values, and issues.
    • Have students make a short list on the whiteboard of questions and issues that we deal with in contemporary American society or of the values we have
    • Parallel some of their responses to themes found in several of Shakespeare’s works (ex- Leadership problems/corruption to Richard III, Grudges/Love to R&J, etc…)
  • We are still learning from it? [20 mins]
    • (PPT Slides 8-9) Display text from PowerPoint “This above all, to thine own self be true.” Hamlet, 1.3
    • Ask students to stand and read the verse aloud together
    • How do these words apply to us? As young adults, Americans, in high school, work, friends, etc?
    • What do we learn from them? 
    • Use quote from Taming of the Shrew to introduce AKALA clip
      • “Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor, for ‘tis the mind that makes the body rich.” Petruchio, Taming of the Shrew, 4.3
    • AKALA clip- Akala “demonstrates and explores the connections between Shakespeare and Hip-Hop, and the wider cultural debate around language and it’s power.”
      • Discuss what Akala meant by calling Shakespeare a Custodian of Knowledge?
      • Can we be custodians of knowledge? What responsibilities does this role have?


Reflection Paragraph [10 mins]

  • Have students take out a piece of paper and write a reflective paragraph addressing what it means to be human.
  • Write prompt on the white board  “What emotions, values, encounters make up our human experience?  What is it about theatre that helps us convey these messages?” 
    • Have students turn these in as an assessment for the day
    • Can refer back to these responses w/lesson 5, “Creating A Unified Piece” to help provide specific examples for students to relate to in their scenes.


*Students’ assignment is to be thinking about some of their values, topics of concern, or interest that they have to prepare them for the next lesson.  Next time students will be selecting their performance pieces.