Shakespeare is a playwright who can be difficult for many students to enjoy due to the depth and complexity of his plays. However, there are many free Shakespeare activities you can use with your students. Use these activities to help keep them engaged while they learn about Shakespeare and to spark their interest in great literature.
Romeo and Juliet Jeopardy
"Romeo and Juliet Jeopardy" is a free PowerPoint download available at the Shakespeare PPPST website. It focuses on trivia found from the play "Romeo and Juliet." Download it to your computer and hook it up to a projector to project it in your class. You can also burn it onto CDs to give to your students so they can play it at home. Click on the on-screen arrows and prompts to play. Split your students up into equal-sized groups. Each group can select the category they want to play and the question value they want to guess. Keep track of the money they earned and give the winner a small prize.
Shakespeare for Kids
The Folger website has a group of Shakespeare-themed activities lumped under the name "Shakespeare for Kids." These activities include mazes, colouring pages, crossword puzzles, word searches and jigsaw puzzles. Each of these activities is themed around Shakespeare. For example, the mazes allow kids to explore settings from Shakespeare plays. Kids will also colour characters, solve crossword puzzles and put together pictures that use characters, words, settings and phrases directly from his plays. These activities require knowledge of his plays making them useful for students studying Shakespeare.
60 Second Shakespeare
The BBC hosts a series of audio clips called "60 Second Shakespeare." These were compiled from a contest that asked people to condense the plays down to a 60-second time frame. The speakers speak rapidly and try to fit a lot of information into their time limit, leading to potentially humorous results. Use these to bring a smile to your students faces. You can also use them as a refresher for the plots of the plays. Students who are struggling to remember a plot can listen to one of these as a brief reminder.
Use classroom crafts if you don't have access to a computer. Have your students draw pictures of Shakespeare, characters from his plays or even entire scenes. They should integrate quotes from the play into the drawings. Make a bust of Shakespeare using clay. Bake the clay in an oven to make it hard and glaze it to keep it free from wear. Use construction paper to make period costumes. Wear these costumes as the students act out scenes from the plays. Hang any art work made in the class up on the walls as decoration. Send the crafts home with your students when you want to display new pieces of art.