Looking for a fun way to introduce Shakespeare to your students? Want to explore the Bard's language in a fun and engaging way before you jump right into a play? This found poetry activity is the perfect hook to a Shakespeare unit!
With this resource, students will read individual Shakespearean words, consider possible definitions and meanings based on educated guesses and on their feelings, and create a found poem, based on a single theme, using the words. The emphasis with this activity is on experimentation, rather than on "right or wrong" usages of the words. As a result, students will first look at Shakespeare's language "on their own terms" and will subsequently be more confident when they start reading a play.
This download includes a detailed lesson plan and a large list of Shakespearean words. The lesson plan includes student learning outcomes, a materials list, and comprehensive instructions for facilitating this group activity. The approximately 450-count word list contains words sourced from Shakespearean plays, from common usage of the time, and even words coined by the Bard himself. There are ample connector words that ensure that students will be able to string together their ideas. Students will recognize some words, as they are still used in modern usage today, while other words will be new and unknown. There is room at the end of the word list for you to customize the resource and include up to 60 of your own Shakespearean words (perhaps from the specific play your class will be reading?).
This lesson takes up to 2 classes to execute, depending upon how much time you want to give the groups to work on their project, or upon how much you wish to deconstruct and debrief the activity.
I have used this resource in classes that have read Shakespeare before and with classes that have not; in all cases, this project proves fun and engaging. Students are especially interested to hear the poems the other groups created. They also find it neat to revisit the poems after reading the play to see how far they've come; were their understandings of the words close to real usage, would they change anything about their poems?
There is some prep work after you have downloaded the package (cutting, laminating, adhering to magnetic sheets, gathering materials, etc), depending upon what kind of resource you want to create (reusable or otherwise).
The preview document is an example of a poem that a group of students created during this lesson.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all!