Teacher Resources
Student Resources

Mr. Shakespeare

"... not of an age, but for all time"

-- Shakespeare as described by fellow
British author Ben Jonson,


Gnomeo and Juliet poster

Poster for the 2011 animated film Gnomeo and Juliet, a recent adaptation of Shakespeare's play
Romeo and Juliet

In English class this year, you will begin studying the works of William Shakespeare, an author who wrote during the 16th century in Elizabethan England (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I). In fact, you will probably study Shakespeare every year from now until you graduate high school, just as your parents did. It might seem surprising that one author from so long ago continues to be studied so frequently. However, the English classroom isn't the only place where "the Bard" is still popular. More than 850 film versions or adaptations of Shakespeare's works have been produced since 1899. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most number of screen adaptations by a single author. Furthermore, live theater productions of Shakespeare's dramas continue to be acted out on stages around the world, and the modern English language abounds with words and phrases coined by Shakespeare. Shakespeare's continued popularity and influence confirms what British author Ben Jonson predicted; shortly after "the Bard's" death, Jonson said that Shakespeare was "... not of an age, but for all time."

You may be wondering, "What's the big deal about this guy Shakespeare, anyway?"

Click here to read more about Shakespeare's enduring appeal.

Imagine that the Technology Education department at your school has just completed construction of a new time machine. You and your classmates have been selected to be the time machine's first "passengers". This is a perfect opportunity to take a "field trip" back in time to Elizabethan England, to gain some insight into Shakespeare's writing, language, life and times and answer the essential question:

Who was William Shakespeare, and how did he become
one of the most popular and influential authors of all time?

So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to meet Mr. Shakespeare!

Task and Product




Reconstructed New Globe Theater

Since the time machine can only take a few students at a time, you will work with a small group to research one of the following topics:

Personal Life
Professional Life
Elizabethan England

You and your group members will use a variety of resources to "travel back" to the time and place in which Shakespeare lived, and to become experts on your assigned topic. After completing your research, you will work individually or with your group members to design a creative project and presentation to share the information you gathered about your topic with the rest of the class.

To assist with your topic selection, your teacher may have your preview the following:

After groups and topics have been approved by your teacher, record your topic and group members' names on this Research Guide; you may either print out and write on this document, or type your information and save the document according to your teacher’s directions.



You will be graded on your daily work on the research process, your group work, and your group's creative project and presentation.

Research Process Assessments:

Group Work Assessment

Project/Presentation Assessments: 


Essential Question:

Who was William Shakespeare, and how did he become
one of the most popular and influential authors of all time?

Subsidiary Questions: Click here for some sample questions to jump-start your thinking. Then use this sheet or your Research Guide to generate some additional questions of your own about your research topic.

Gather and Sort



Before you begin gathering information about your topic from a variety of sources, review the following important guidelines:

Now use a variety of resources to gather information about your topic.




Meet with the other members of your group to analyze your research notes and determine if you have gathered sufficient information about your topic.

  • Do you have enough details to answer each of your subsidiary questions?
  • Do you have additional information that would be of value to your audience?
  • Is there any unrelated information you should eliminate?

Use the Planning Sheet for your topic below to decide on the best format for sharing your information with the class, and to plan how you will create your group project/presentation; your format selection must be approved by your teacher.

As you work to create your project, use the project/presentation scoring tools to ensure that you are meeting the requirements and to self-assess your work when you are finished.




Interior of the New Globe Theater




Present your own or your group's creative project to the your classmates.

  • If you did a group project, self-assess your own group's work using the Group Work scoring tool.

As you view and listen to your classmates' presentations, use this chart to record notes about the various topics. These notes may be useful to you later as you read and study Shakespeare's works.

  • Your teacher may also have you use a scoring tool to peer-assess the projects/presentations of other groups.


After all the projects have been presented, compose a constructed response or journal entry in response to this prompt:

After William Shakespeare's death in 1616, British author Ben Jonson made a prediction about the enduring importance and appeal of his work. Explain how Jonson was correct when he predicted that Shakespeare was "... not of an age, but for all time."

  • Support your answer with details from your own research notes and your notes from the presentations.