Happy Birthday, Dearest William…

Hey Kids! (or, My Dearest Students,)

“Tis that time of year again when young students’ fancies lightly turn to thoughts of Shakespeare.  (For all you literary enthusiasts out there, that line is an allusion.  Can you figure out from where it comes?  Here is a clue: the author was also alluded to in The Wednesday Wars.)

For the record, this middle-aged teacher’s fancy also turns to thoughts of Shakespeare at this time of year.

Bard of Avon:  the Story of William Shakespeare Vernon Barford School via Compfight

A few of you may ask, why would our fancies turn to thoughts of Shakespeare at this time of year?  LOTS of you already know…

April is Shakespeare’s Birthday Month!  The 23rd of April to be somewhat precise (That phrase is an o_ _ _ _ _ _ _.  Do you know what literary device I’m referencing?  Do you know why it is an o_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ?).  And now the obvious question, why is the 23rd of April only somewhat precise?

To refresh our memories, or learn some new information, let’s watch and try the quiz and view this powerpoint about The Bard.

Aside from reading a few plays (abridged) penned by the Bard, we will learn to talk like Shakespeare, play some Shakespearean games, complete some activities and a passport from Shakespeare Week, and of course, celebrate Will’s b-day as they do in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shall we first visit the Birthplace and family homes of the Bard?  Of course, we shall!

Other great places to visit include the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. and the The Globe Theater in London.


Shakespeare's Globe Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

In what way wouldst thou like to celebrate the birthday of the Bard?



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54 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dearest William…

  1. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    Happy Birthday Shakespeare! I loved the video that you put on your post about Shakespeare’s family homes. It was very interesting. The phrase is an oxymoron. It is an oxymoron because it is a combination of words that have the opposite meanings. I think that for Shakespeare’s birthday we should go to The Globe Theatre in London for a field trip. Or we could go to some place closer like the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. I hope that Shakespeare has a wonderful birthday. If you visited London what are some fun activities that you would do?

    • Hi Reanne,
      You are ahead of the game! This is what I am planning to do in class tomorrow, so you will be able to help me teach the class! If I visited London, I would absolutely take in a show at the Globe; I would also take a side trip to Stratford-on-Avon; actually, there is a walk called Shakespeare’s Way that takes you the 146 miles from London to Stratford. I would love to do this walk: exercise, nature, and Shakespeare…what could be better? Here is a link if you want to check it out: http://www.cotswolds.info/places/stratford-upon-avon/shakespeares-way-walk.shtml
      Would you like to join me on the walk?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  2. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    This a fantastic post. I think the literary device you are referring to is an oxymoron. It is an oxymoron because of the phrase somewhat precise. An oxymoron is opposites used in the same phrase. I would like to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday by taking a trip to his town and home. I think the trip would be extremely interesting and educational. I would love to one day travel to England. What is your favorite Shakespeare fact?

    • Hi Sophia,
      I would also love to travel to Shakespeare’s hometown for his birthday, and as you now know, walking Shakespeare’s Way is on my bucket list! My favorite Shakespeare fact is that he invented so many words! So cool. New words are always being added to the dictionary (think “bling”, “swag”, and “selfie”) and during the Elizabethan time period, Shakespeare was keeping the dictionary makers busy! He is credited with adding about 1700-2000 new words to the English language, words like gossip, puke, and eyeball, and zany. Pretty cool, right?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

      • Hello mrs. Donofrio.
        I think it is really cool that Shakespeare created all of those words. It must have taken him very long. How do you think he came up with them and how long do you think it would take to make up a word?


        • Hi Jayen,
          I agree that it is cool that Shakespeare came up with all those words. I really want to know what an elbow was called before Shakespeare came along! I imagine that some of the words just came to him quickly, and some took longer. That’s generally how it is with writing. What words that have been recently made up do you like?
          ~Mrs. Donofrio

  3. Hello Mrs.Dnofrio
    I think that this is an awesome idea about the birth day. And it is going to be a really nice day. I have never celebrated somebody famous birth day so this one is gonna be my first one. What did you like the most about celebrating his birth day before?

  4. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    Happy Birthday Shakespeare! That post and video was very interesting. I think the literary device you were talking about is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is when you have maybe a few words that have opposite meanings. I think that for Shakespeare’s birthday, we should go to Stamford on Avon and London to see the globe theatre and Shakespeare’s home. I think it would be so fun and cool, but also very interesting. What would you like to do if we went to London or Stramford on Avon?

  5. Hi Mrs. Donofrio! I would love to celebrate the bard’s birthday like a medieval fair. I think that celebrating old times would be fun! Of coarse we would not drink ale, but we could have root beer. We could also add modern twists to it like cake, presents, and ice cream! There could also be dancing and singing. What would be your song choice if we had a dance party? Thank you for letting us learn about Shakespeare.

    • What a great idea, Gracie! There are lots of songs, musical instruments, and dances we can learn from Shakespeare’s time. As a matter of fact, I know just the place to look for them. I’ll share the website with you tomorrow! Great idea! Thanks~
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

      • Hi Gracie,
        That sound like a fantastic idea! It would be a lot of fun to mix Shakespeare times and modern times to have a medieval fair. I had a great time at our medieval fair in November. I am also thankful that Mrs. Donofrio is teaching us about Shakespeare. I don’t know what song I would pickfor a dance party, maybe something from Shakespeare’s time. What song would you choose?

    • Hi Gracie,
      I also think that celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday like a medieval fair would be fun. If we had a dance party I would pick an older upbeat song with instruments from Shakespears time. What is your favorite fact that you have learned this year about the Bard?

    • Hey Gracie,
      This is a great idea! It would be awesome to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday medival fair style. We could put on shorter versions of some of his plays and eat the kind of food they did. We could also play some of the games from when Shakespeare was a kid.

  6. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    The way I would like to celebrate his birthday is have a big party and you would dress up like one of the characters
    from one of his plays.I would also like to have cake and juice and lots more!!!! What is your favorite thing at a party?

    • Hi James,
      That sounds like a great idea! I love to play games at a party, so I can’t wait for the Shakespeare Academic Bowl! Here is a question for you to get you started: When he died, to whom did Shakespeare leave his second best bed?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  7. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,

    I remember that you said it was an Oxymoron. I think it’d be a great experience to visit the Globe Theater, and many other famous places in London. I believe April 23rd is most likely the date of Shakespeare’s birth because his baptism date was April 26th. ( You said it was tradition for kids to be baptized three days after their birth. ) What’s your favorite play or sonnet made by Shakespeare?

    • Hi Shawn,
      One of my favorite plays is Macbeth, so I am glad we are reading it this year. I like it because it has wonderful figurative language and also because I find the character of Macbeth so interesting. Initially a noble man, he succumbs to temptation and over-ambition, which leads, tragically, to his downfall. He is also influenced heavily by his wife, who does not appear to have much in the way of redeeming characteristics. I can see how any average person could follow the same trajectory as Macbeth. I route for him to take a different path every time I read the play. I’ll be interested to know your thoughts about Macbeth after we read the play.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

      • Hi Mrs. Donofrio,

        Thank you for responding to my comment! my favorite play by Shakespeare is Hamlet. I really liked it because it had a medevil since in it, with his castle, all the imagery, and the geographic since to it. I remember my character went to England on a trading mission. I hope I like Macbeth too! What’ scour favorite sonnet by Shakespeare?

  8. Hi Mrs. Donofrio!
    You asked a very intriguing question. Most of the things I would suggest, we already do for The Bard’s B-day. so, I tried to think out-of-the-box for this one, and came up with a fun idea. Everyone could get to dress up in the Medieval Fair costumes, or bring their own from home. We could try to talk like people would have in Shakespeare’s time, saying “thee” and “thou” and other fun words that we don’t say nowadays.
    I love how we celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday every year! It is so interesting because we learn something new all the time. Maybe this year some kids could volunteer to bring in more streamers and balloons to make it seem like a real birthday party.
    Are you still going to pick Mr.Morganelli to be Shakespeare and a middle schooler to play the student from the Stratford-Upon-Avon Grammar School? I always think that is really cool to watch, especially because they do the same thing at Shakespeare’s actual birthday party in England.
    Thank you for putting so much effort and time into letting us have such a fun experience with this. We are so lucky to have you!
    What is your favorite activity on The Bard’s Birthday? Which class project is your favorite: cards, flowers, or flags?

    • Hi Dia! You wrote an excellent comment with awesome ideas! I also suggested the Midieval Fair concept; I think it would be super fun! Even though I’m not Mrs. Donofrio, I’ll still answer your question. My favorite idea is the flags because they are used during the celebration an you can put your favorite quote on them. All of them will be so creative! I can’t wait to see your flag.

    • Hi Claudia!
      You and I are on the same wavelength! Wait until you see what we are going to do in class today! First, did you notice a new (old) addition to our class? Since our daily instruction will involve a dramatic reading of Macbeth, it is only appropriate that we use some of our costumes and props, just like you mentioned in your comment. Secondly, when I pass out the articles to annotate, you will see that “great minds think alike”!
      I do plan on having Mr. Morganelli act the part of Shakespeare for the passing of the quill, although I haven’t asked him yet. I love to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with as much authenticity to the actual celebration in Stratford as possible. I do have to say that I don’t think I will be able to surpass our Skype visit with the curators last year; if only we could actually travel to Stratford and/or London. I am still thinking about something different, yet feasible, to do this year in addition to the “regular” activities.
      Let’s both keep our thinking caps on!
      Oh, and as for the class projects, is it weaseling out to say I like them all?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

    • Hey Claudia!
      I think that dressing and talking like People from Shakespeare’s time is a great idea! I also love how we have a birthday for him every year, it’s a fun way to learn about his plays and where he lived! Unfortunately, I haven’t been here as long as most kids have, so I’ve only been able to be at the party once. It was still a fun and new experience.

      Okay, so to answer your questions: my favorite activity would have to be academic bowl, working together in teams is always fun and I love to learn new things from the questions I miss. My favorite project is the 8th grade flag project, I am excited to get started on. One and see what the other kids in our class have made. What is your favorite part about the birthday party? Are you excited to get started on your project?

      I am so grateful to have Mrs. Donofrio as a teacher, and am so happy that she what’s put this together for us! I am also happy for the new experiences that I have had here! What is your favorite activity that we have had here?


  9. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,
    I love every year when Shakespeare’s birthday comes around. With all the decorations, fun projects, and especially the Bard’s birthday. To answer your question to what I would like to see at his party is easy, I would like to see a giant blow-up statue of William Shakespeare. I know that’s going to be probably a hard thing to find but it would be pretty cool to see. Don’t you think. But anyway I loved the post and the video and can not absolutely wait for the party.
    From your student,
    Matthew D.

  10. Hello Mrs. Donofrio.

    Shakespeare’s birthday is probably one the most exciting activities besides the medieval fair. For this year I would probably like to skype with the people from the shakespeare trust fund. I think that we would be able to learn a lot of new information from them. What would you like to do?


    • Hey Jeyen,
      I think that would be really cool to skype with the Shakespeare Trust Fund. I don’t really now much about the Shakspeare Trust Fund so if you can tell me a little about that that would be really cool. I think that it would be really cool too, to have a giant blow up statue of Shakespeare. What do you think?


    • Hey Jayen! I also LOVE SHAKESPEARES BIRTHDAY! I think that skypeing the Shakespeare trust fund would be a great and once in a lifetime experience. I wonder what else I could learn? To answer your question, I think that having a Shakespeare jepordy game would be really fun. Do you have any other cool ideas for Shakespears birthday month?


    • Hey Jayen,

      I would like to go to a historical site. I think you would learn a lot about the life of Shakespeare there. You would also know what it feels like to live like Shakespeare did. Also, I think it is a fun experience because, not only are you able to learn about Shakespeare life and customs, but you get to travel to a different country.

      Would you like to visit a different country?

      Where would you go?

  11. Hi Mrs.Donofrio!
    The fill in the blank is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is two words that mean the opposite. For example an sweet sorrow or fine mess. I love celebrating the birthday of the Bard just the way we always do! I love how the entire middle school have a ceremony and each grade has different parts. I loved creating birthday cards in 6th grade and making the flowers in 7th grade! I’m not exactly sure what we do in 8th grade. All I remember is the eight graders making some sort of banner with a play on it and reciting a line from that play. After that we all have the big celebration back in your classroom and we had the academic bowl against the parents! It was such a fun day! See you soon!-Sydney

    • Hi Sydney! I loved reading your comment. I also enjoy how we currently celebrate Shakespear’s birthday. I remember reading my card in 6th grade! I was so nervous, but it all went fine! I am excited to create flowers this year for 7th grade! Although the middle school projects are fun to create and seem my favorite part of the Bard’s party is the academic bowl against each other and the parents! It’s extremely fun to test what we’ve learned about Shakespear, and see what parents know about him! I can’t wait for April 23! What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about Shakespear?

  12. Hi Mrs. Donofrio
    I cant wait till the birthday party.I wish I could go to London to see where everything happen.My favorite play Macbeth because its very interesting.I think we should act at the party.What is your favorite shakespeare play?

    • Hey Will,

      Probably my favorite Shakespearian play would be The Tempest. The Wednesday Wars book introduced me to it and I think if I saw the play I would enjoy it. Why did you choose the Macbeth as your favorite play?

  13. Hi Mrs.Donofrio!
    I really liked how many different links, videos, and pictures you put in this post! Something I thought that would be fun to do would be to put on children versions of Shakespeare’s plays. We could preform for parents, teachers, faculty, and the younger students. We could vote on what play to preform, and audition for the parts we wanted. What play of Shakespeare’s would you like to see be preformed by your students?

    • Hi Emma,

      I think putting on a play is an awesome idea! It would be fun to act out Shakespeare’s. Maybe instead of one play, each class could perform a different play. That way each class would get to chose their own favorite play to preform. What play would you chose?

  14. Hi Mrs. Donofrio! I think we should definitely celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday! We should have cake and ice cream and all the other delicious treats. But instead of ale we could have root bear. If we have ice cream we could make root bear floats! For the cake to settle the candle problem we could probably do one of these 3 options.
    1. We get 400 candles and put them on the cake.
    2. We get 4 candles and use the 4 to represent the 400.
    3. Or we could get the number candles and use a 4 and two 0.
    The question what kind of music could or would we play?

    • Holla Shane,

      I love your idea. I think we could play music that was in one his plays.Like in Romeo and Juliet but we would not have the words in it. What music do you think we should play?

  15. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    I really liked your post and also liked the video about Shakespeare’s birth place and family homes. After watching that video it hit me, wouldn’t it be awesome to go on the Bard’s birthday to his birth place, the school he went to and the globe to watch a play. To wrap that all up, at the end of the day we could go to his grave and read a line from one of his plays.
    Maybe next year we could go the parade.

    Where would you want to go on Shakespeare’s birthday?

    • Hey Evan,
      Nice comment and that would sound like fun to go there and watch the parade. I would like to have a bid party at Shakespeare’s house and then go watch one of his plays at the globe!! Also what would u say to Shakespeare if you meet him in real life?

  16. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,

    I think there are a few things I think you need to have a good party.

    1) Good food and drinks
    2) Loud music
    3) Friends and family
    4) Some kind of energy waster: Pool, water slide..etc

    Those are the basics. I also like bright lights and lasers. I think that’s how to have a good time at a party.

    What are some things you like to do to celebrate?

    Do you disagree with any of my opinions?

  17. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,

    The way I would love to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday would probably be to go to London, and tour around the places that he visited and explored. I love all the quotes of Shakespeare, because sometimes they use different words to explain things. What is your favorite quote by Shakespeare?

    • Hi Kyle,
      How I wish I could go to London, too! Great fun! I’m not sure what my favorite quote by Shakespeare is- I’d have to think for awhile about that- but one that I like a lot “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, that thou canst not be false to any man.” That’s from Hamlet. I like it because it reminds us that when we lie to ourselves, we lie to others; and when we are true to ourselves, we are true to others. If only everyone heeded this advice! After we have studied Shakespeare for a little bit, tell me what your favorite quote is!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

    • Hello Kyle I think that it is an amazing idea to do it in Eanglang and I wish we could all go there my favorite quote of sheakspear is there is nothing bad or good but thinking makes it so. What is your favorite quote

  18. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,

    I think we could watch one of his plays. Then we could eat food and have drinks after we watch the play. Then we could play games that would include Shakespeare . What you think we should do at the party?

    • Hi Lizzy,
      I think these are great ideas! I will absolutely find some Shakespeare games to play. I can probably adapt some regular birthday party games to a Shakespearean theme. I can also find some actual games from the Elizabethan time period. Thanks for the idea!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

      • The Elizabethean time? Wow I’ve never heard of that. It sounds so fun! I’m going to take a guess and say that’s probably about queen Elizabeth the first. Or is it someone else? Like another Elizabeth, or someone completely different that isn’t even named Elizabeth.

        Happy Blogging!

  19. Hello Mrs. Donofrio! I enjoyed reading your post, because it was filled with various color and multiple things about or incorporated with Shakespeare. And I love Shakespeare! I am ecstatic about the Bard’s birthday! It is one of my favorite days of the year. If I could do absolutely anything on Shakespears birthday I would probably go to England! I’d definetly visit the Bard’s house, and Trinity Church. Which as you know is where Shakespear was baptized and burried. The most exciting thing I would do is to go see a play at the Globe Theatre ! How fun would that be? I would try to see his play “Much Ado About Nothing” , because that is my favorite play by the Bard that I have read ! I love it because it’s a comedy, and because of all the different characters! What play would you want to see? And why would you see it?

  20. Hey Mrs. Donofrio,
    Ye most pleaseant way to spendeth thy birthday of thy Bard is with cake. I love cake, and if you noticed, what kind of language did I just write that sentence in? Anyways back to the cake. I love all kinds of cake, chocolate, vanilla, coffee… what kind of cake do you like? I would also like to have balloons for the Bard, and, if I could, I would like to know who the Dark Lady was. I imagine it was some love of Shakespeare, and that she died of love for him. What do you think? Come up with your own story, and let me know. I wonder what intriguing rumors you can come up with.

  21. Sincerest Greetings Mistress Donofrio,

    All Shakespearean greetings aside though, it is time to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday once again. I look forward to the Bard’s birthday and all the plays that go along with it. Something I would like to see at this year’s occasion or maybe next years is that we could make our own Shakespearean cupcakes or cake that is fairer than the finest rose. Would you like to make cupcakes with one of the classes?

  22. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    I enjoyed reading your post. I have learned a lot about Shakespeare in these past couple of days. I also would like to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday as a medieval fair. I think that would be a lot of fun. We could preform one of Shakespeare’s plays. I would like to preform Macbeth, but there are a lot of deaths in it. If we could preform a play, what play would you choose? Why would you choose this play?
    I can’t wait for Shakespeare’s party tomorrow!

    ~ Julia

  23. Hey Mrs. Donofrio
    I think that I would like to celebrate the Bard’s birthday by going to the globe theater and watch Hamlet be performed and after that I would like to go to Stratford upon Avon and see his many houses. That is how I would like to celebrate the Bards birthday.

  24. Hello Mrs.Donofrio,

    I have learn so much about Shakespeare these past two weeks. He is a lot of fun to learn about. I also like this post and the video. Good idea! Hmm… well I would like to celebrate it like the medieval fair. Just with some of he actives William did. Thank you for teaching us!! see you tomorrow!


    • Thank you, Nick, although I don’t know what poems you are referring to. How long have you been blogging?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

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