WHO WROTE SHAKESPEARE?
An Internet Research and Writing Project
For this project, students use the Internet to study the Shakespeare authorship question. Each student chooses, deliberately or randomly, a particular writer to defend as the author of the works attributed to Shakespeare. S/he then researches that particular writer and prepares a persuasive essay supporting that person as “Shakespeare.”
Because the research and writing process is difficult for young writers and because nobody enjoys grading essays, materials are included to ease the way for both students and teachers. These are:
1. a handout that can be used to assign an author – Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere or William Shakespeare – to each student at random;
2. a handout that enables students to keep track of due dates for each part of the essay writing process;
3. a rubric for at least two sessions of peer evaluations;
4. a checklist for each student to use as s/he evaluates her/his own essay;
5. a rubric for teacher scoring of each essay.
All materials can be easily modified to include specific teacher, school or school system requirements regarding formatting, citation and documentation should you wish to do so.
The question of Shakespearean authorship provides lively debate and voluminous material for research. Turn your students loose and enjoy the results!