Shakespeare Context Clues and Vocabulary Activities Vol. 1 / Print + Digital

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Early in my teaching career, I realized that my students struggled to determine the meaning of unknown words. When I would ask students how they figured out the meaning of an unknown word, students would just say “context clues.” But when I drilled down further, I learned that students could not identify any specific context-clues strategies.

Once this happened, I did some research into the most effective context-clues strategies. I explicitly taught my students those strategies--substitution, example, antonym, synonym, definition, and restatement.

After my students were familiar with the strategies, it was time to practice using them. I wanted students to practice in the context of our class novel, but that can be tricky to do with Shakespeare. So instead of picking vocabulary words from his plays, I wrote context clues questions about Shakespeare. This allows my students to learn a little something about the famous playwright while also practicing their context-clues skills and strategies.

In this product, you will find:

  • 12 Google Slides with context clues related to Shakespeare. My students do one of these questions Monday-Thursday, and on Friday they take one unknown word from the week and complete a Word Profile. You get this in a Google Slides and in a fillable PDF.
  • The same multiple-choice questions are also available in a fully editable, self-grading Google Form. It's ready to use today!
  • A vocabulary matching activity that works well for literacy stations, independent work, or for days when you have a substitute teacher! You get this worksheet in a PDF and a Google Slides.
  • The same vocabulary matching questions are also available in a fully editable, self-grading Google Form. It's ready to use today!

This is Volume 1 of Shakespeare context clues and vocabulary. Get Volume 2 here.

Check out more vocabulary instruction and Shakespeare with these items:

-High School Grammar and Writing Data Sheets

-Word Profile Freebie!

-All my Shakespeare resources!

-Shakespeare Context Clues and Vocabulary Activities Vol. 2

Keep in touch and get more great ideas for teaching secondary ELA!

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Teaching Context Clues in Secondary ELA

Intersections of Historical Context and Literature

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Total Pages
20 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., conceive, conception, conceivable).
Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11–12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.


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