A great way to engage your students in comprehending the text is by creating a storyboard that uses Shakespearean vocabulary. Many students struggle with the meaning of commonly used Shakespearean terms; getting them to use them in context before reading is an excellent way to cultivate the comprehension of vocabulary. In the example below, students were asked to create storyboards that use familiar Shakespearean terms.
In a Shakespearean vocabulary board, students can use the words in a sentence they create, or they can pick a phrase from the play. In the example storyboard, the student has chosen to create their sentences for their words:
"Then they asked me if that was the word of the Prince, and I replied, 'It was marry!'"
I pray the nurse comes quickly with good news!
The saucy porter wouldn't let me in without a password.
If thou hast a cold come see me... the friendly apothecary!
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a spider map storyboard for Shakespearean vocabulary words and phrases.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
Word meanings are clear and correct.
Word meanings are mostly correct, but some are unclear or incorrect.
Most word meanings are unclear or incorrect.
Vocabulary words are used correctly in the example sentences in both meaning and context.
Most words are used correctly, but some of the vocabulary words are used awkwardly or in the wrong context.
Most vocabulary words are not used correctly in the example sentences.
Storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.
Many students are reluctant Shakespeare readers because of the vocabulary. If you acknowledge that going in you will tend to have more success in teaching his plays. Doing a variety of activities to make the vocabulary more accessible will assist students in understanding both the vocabulary and the play as a whole.
Shakespeare's vocabulary can be very difficult for students to comprehend. Using a fun game such as hurling insults at each other using Shakespeare's language will make it more accessible for students. And there are so many insults to choose from!
Using a graphic organizer will help students understand the vocabulary more clearly. Any descriptions and pictures they create themselves will help them to internalize the knowledge.
With so much distance in time and culture, students often find the language in Shakespeare difficult. Getting ahead of the curve to understand the vocabulary will go far in helping students to understand the play as a whole and make students feel more comfortable with the vocabulary.
Students should play, analyze, and create using the vocabulary from Shakespeare so they can get accustomed to it. Speaking the vocabulary out loud, creating graphic organizers, and even listening to the vocabulary on a tape will help students learn these new words more easily.