This resource includes three activities as well as a two page reading passage.
The first activity is a short survey that can be used to find out how students feel about Shakespeare and/or what they already known about him. This would be a great group activity. Space is provided for students to jot down ideas. The survey results would be illuminating and interesting to share as a class and the discussion may debunk some myths! A short answer key is included as well.
The second activity is a True or False(17 statements) challenge which can be done as a class/group activity or assigned to complete individually. It can be treated as webquest (students are unlikely to have the background knowledge to be able to answer many of the questions) and would be a good homework assignment just as you are introducing your Shakespeare unit. I have provided a simple T/F key as well as one that provides more detailed answers.
The third activity consists of eight discussion topics that accompany the reading passage. They can be cut up and distributed or assigned as a group, or students can pick one or two of the eight to answer. They can be completed as a written assignment or as oral discussion.
I have divided the reading passage into two sections: “Why Study Shakespeare?” and “Why is Shakespeare so Difficult?” (I chose the second title in sympathy for students, many of whom find the playwright’s work challenging.) The passage is not intended to be a deep analysis of studying Shakespeare, but more of a springboard for discussion. The texts will also providestudents with a very brief background on Shakespeare and his place in the modern world.