The man, the legend, the Bard

Pip pip, cheerio kids!

As you perhaps can tell from my greeting, we are about to embark on a transAtlantic journey to the home of the Bard.  Needless to say, I think the Bard is just the bee’s knees, and I’m sure that in no time we’ll all know our onions about the fabulous William Shakespeare.  (Those expressions are British slang.  Can you tell what I’m saying?)

This week, we began our journey with a simple question, “What do you know about William Shakespeare?”


Day 1: The board about the Bard. (Notice someone was bored with the Bard…like my little pun, there?)

On day one we asked ourselves the question:  Do we really need to read Shakespeare in modern day America?  We tackled that idea by interviewing friends, high school graduates, and teachers.  We read Kate Tempest’s poem and watched her video

and read “Why Read Shakespeare”, a speech given by Catholic University professor Michael Mack.  We spent the rest of the week getting acquainted with our dear friend William.  Ultimately we learned quite a bit about the Bard of Avon and the London businessman via a powerpoint, a couple of short videos, some photos, and a few Entrance Ticket questions that allowed some of us to “eat me out of house and home”.  (2 Henry IV, II, i, 74)

This week we embark upon the plays Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.  We’re chronicling our journey on Twitter #354RandJ and #354Macbeth.  Of course, we will celebrate the 23rd of April with a Birthday Bash for the Bard, which this year, also marks the 400th anniversary of his death.  And we are hoping that some of us will be able to make an actual trip across the pond next year to walk in the footsteps of the man, the legend, the Bard.


One of the witches upon the heath. There to meet with Macbeth.


When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.


The valiant captain gives King Duncan news from the battlefield.

What would you like to see and do if you were able to visit the home of the one and only William Shakespeare?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A star danced, and under that I was born…

Happy 451st Birthday, Shakespeare! on PhotoPeach

Happy Birthday, William!

The 451st Birthday of the Bard was celebrated in grand style around the Globe (pun intended) on April 23, 2015, and of course, we had to get in on the festivities.  From Stratford-upon-Avon to New Jersey and Florida, Shakespeareophiles acted, danced, read, dueled, and ate cake, all in homage to London’s finest playwright.  You can follow the worldwide merriment at Shakespeave Lives Here, part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

In our little hamlet on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico,  we trumpeted our procession and waved our flags from the “cradle to the grave”.  After processing to our courtyard, the Bard ceremoniously passed the quill to our head student.  We unfurled our flags and released our black and yellow balloons before heading to the final resting place of our honoree, where we laid flowers on his grave, making sure not to move his bones, and recited some of his famous floral verse.  Eventually we made our way into our classroom for cake and ice cream, followed by the reading of birthday poems on lovely, homemade birthday cards.  No party would be complete without games, so we finished our revelry with a Shakespeare Academic Bowl.  Eight teams, including one parent team, answered questions during four rounds of play to determine the team with the most knowledge of Mr. “Shakspere”.  Needless to say, a student team won goody bags of British treats, but a good time was had by all.

What was your best birthday celebration?

(P.S.  Do you know what Shakespeare play is alluded to in the title of this post?)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Long live this, and this gives life to Thee


Paula Simoes via Compfight

A Google search of Shakespeare locates 129,000,000 results.  WOW!  Imagine that.  Our friend William Shakespeare is still going strong, even at 451 years of age.  After all this time, we are still uncovering new theories about London’s leading dramatist.  Some of the most recent information written about the Bard revolves around the discovery of an additional play, Double Falsehoodwhich has long been attributed to another writer named Lewis Theobald, but which according to new research, was most likely penned by Shakespeare, with some collaborative effort by his friend John Fletcher.

See?  There are always interesting things to learn about our friend, Bill the Bard.

What else can you discover about the poet and playwright from Stratford-upon-Avon?  Visit a couple of these sites suggested by our students and share some knowledge gleaned in a comment below.

Kyle suggests Absolute Shakespeare for absolutely everything you need to know about the Bard.

Shane, Emma, Grace, and Courtney advise you to read and watch a biography of Shakespeare at

Lizzy says Shakespeare is easy to understand if you check out NoSweatShakespeare.

If you want to know more about Shakespeare as a poet, try offers Sophia.

One of Lexi’s favorite Shakespeare sites is  You can spend hours and hours in here!

To learn how Shakespeare is faring on this side of the pond, try Shakespeare in American Communities suggests Brianne.

Let’s learn about Shakespeare!




Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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?



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Best Ever Birthday Bash: Bill turns 450

Hey Kids!

Didn’t we have a great time at Bill’s Birthday Bash?  Here are some links highlighting the day in Stratford-upon-Avon:

Our own festivities began with a parade led by our own bugle and band corps followed by the passing of the quill from the Bard himself to our Head Student.  We then unfurled the flags, presented flowers at the grave, read birthday poems, ate cake and ice cream, Skyped across the pond with Anjna and Lisa from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, and competed in a Shakespeare Academic Bowl with the parents and Fr. Joseph.   Without actually flying into Heathrow, we think we did a spot on job of celebrating like the Brits.  Some of our students even prepared homemade Elizabethan dishes!  You can see our festivities here:

Bill’s Birthday Bash on PhotoPeach

What was your favorite part of the birthday party?

What do you think you’ll remember about Shakespeare in years to come?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Tributing to Shakespeare or Attributing Shakespeare?

Live The Bard!
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Su℮ ❥ via Compfight

Would you be surprised to learn that a man stole a 1623 edition of The First Folio and was able to hide his theft for ten years?  Well, Raymond Scott did just that.

Sometimes people try to steal the work of others for their own benefit.  On the other hand, sometimes people use the work of others without meaning to steal it.  They think that because they found it on the internet, it is free for anyone to use.  That is not always the case.

This week’s Student Blogging Challenge invites us to ethically use images, videos, and music in our posts.  That means we need to add this pizzazz to our posts without stealing the work of others.  First we need to make sure the creator wants to share his work, and then we need to attribute our source.  Check out this excellent article from the Edublogger before adding any pizzazz to your post.  You don’t want to be found guilty after the fact and be forced to protest too much.
And speaking of attribution, here’s an interesting video about some people who wonder if the works we attribute to Shakespeare should be attributed to someone else entirely.

Did Shakespeare really write his plays?

Is his authorship to be or not to be?  That is the question.




Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Shakespeare Challenge

Have you ever heard of Shakespeare Week?

What?  You haven’t?  Really?

Well, don’t worry; until this year, we hadn’t either.  Nobody had.  That’s because it’s a new celebration begun just this year by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  It was celebrated for the first time ever this past week, March 17-21, 2014, by 3,000 schools all over the U.K., and one school that we know of in the United States.   We are the one school!  We joined the festivities related to the Bard this past week, and we’re not done yet.  We’re going to keep going until we celebrate his 450th birthday, which is on April 23rd.


Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon, England

 Photo Credit: floato via Compfight

In order to commemorate the life of the man who most influenced English literature, we have read Hamlet, watched video clips of the “To be or not to be” soliloquy (including a farce on Gilligan), created new words, hurled Shakespearean insults, studied the Bard’s biography, completed word games, memorized lines, and virtually visited Stratford-on-Avon.   On our last day of school before our Easter break, we plan to party hardy with the Bard, making his 450th birthday his best ever.

 …there was a star danced, and under that was I born. (Much Ado About Nothing, II,i, 335)

In honor of this event, we’d like to Skype another class for our first annual Shakespeare Challenge game.  We’ll ask your class questions, and you ask us.  The winner gets a prize.

Do you dare to accept our challenge?

Mercutio: A challenge, on my life.

Benvolio: Romeo will answer it.

Mercutio: Any man that can write may answer a letter.

Benvolio: Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how he dares, being dared.

                                                                                                  Romeo and Juliet   II, iv, 8-12

Answer our post with a comment letting us know if you are up to a challenge on April 16th, sometime between 9 and 11 am, Eastern Standard Time.

Until then, visit some of our Shakespeare posts from April 2013 or try some of the sites above.

What did you learn about our friend Will Shakespeare?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Student Blogging Challenge 7

Hey, Kids! We are nearing the end of our blogging challenges. Visit the Challenge Site and write a new post.  You have freedom in Challenge 7 and lots of choices in Challenge 6.   Here’s another idea for a post as we near the end of our school year.

What has been the best part about blogging for you this year? 

Blogging ReadinessPhoto Credit: cambodia4kidsorg via Compfight cc

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Our birthday celebration for the Bard was a huge success! (The only mishap: I dropped my camera, and it broke.) Thank you to our wonderful speakers: journalist Kim Hackett and editor Camille Cline. Thank you to our honored guests: Mrs. Chonody, Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Mercurio, Mrs. Piteo, and Fr. John. Thank you to our parent caterers! We are already planning for the 450th birthday next year.

Imagine the entire world celebrating your birthday in the year 2463. What would people do at your birthday party?

Happy 449th Birthday! on PhotoPeach

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Shakespeare’s Birthday Party!

Shakespeare birthplace
Photo Credit: Phil Romans via Compfight cc

Join us as we celebrate the Birthday of the Bard in Startford-on-Avon style. Each year the Birthplace Museum organizes a parade through town to honor the master storyteller and poet.   Black and gold balloons are released, flags of many nations are unfurled, flowers are placed on his grave.   We will recreate these events and many others on Tuesday, April 23rd, as homage to William Shakespeare.

Schedule of Events:

Unfurling of the flags

Quill Pageant

The placement of the flowers

Hanging wishes on the Mulberry Tree

Recitations of soliloquys, sonnets and poems

Guest lectures from the writing community

Tea and cake

Birthday party games

Grave of William Shakespeare
Photo Credit: Hillarie via Compfight cc

Print Friendly, PDF & Email