Lesson plans and teaching ideas

For introductory, background and other resources, try Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age . For links to other plays, try the Shakespeare Main Page.

Teacher Guide to Hamlet by William Shakespeare
How might students use storyboards to demonstrate and to extend their learning? Check the resources here. Includes plot diagram and summary, essential questions, conflict analysis, themes, motifs, and symbols, Aristotelian elements of the tragic hero, character maps, vocabulary, more. Note: Storyboard That helps sponsor this site.

60-Second Shakespeare
On this page, a tabloid-style summary of the play from the BBC. Follow links to learn how your students can produce something similar.

Cartoon Summary
The play in 48 cartoons.

CliffsNotes Hamlet video
The play in a 7-minute cartoon updated for contemporary audiences. Includes introduction of major themes. A great pre-reading activity!

Comparing Film Adaptations
Strategies for engaging students using clips from more than one film version. Includes a handout; Adobe Reader or compatible application required for access to the handout.

Enter Players: Pre-Reading Hamlet
Students will create a visual character map examining connections between characters and developing inferences about character motivation. Designed for one 45-minute class session.

A Guilty Gertrude: Performing Spoken and Silent Moments in Hamlet
In this lesson, students will examine Gertrude's behavior, lines and thoughts in a scene that is normally analyzed for what it reveals about Ophelia's madness. Students will synthesize what they know about Gertrude to perform her character in a scene where she has some enigmatic lines and long silences. Students will evaluate where Gertrude's loyalties lie within the scene. Designed for 2 or 3 45-minute class sessions.

Using a theme of "Grief, Guilt, and Revenge!" this site offers a summary, prereading and interdisciplinary activities, and links to suggestions for additional reading.

Reading strategies and activities, including an anticipation guide, a vocabulary assignment, and "Understanding Being Misunderstood," an activity that asks students to connect their own lives with Hamlet's.

Plot summary, discussion of purgatory, themes, questions and essay topics, background, more.

Hamlet , Facebook News Feed style
A parody of the play done in social networking style.

Hamlet Haven
An annotated bibliography of some online scholarship.

Paparazzi Shakespeare: Ophelia’s Madness Revealed!
Students will examine Hamlet 4.5 through a variety of lenses: performance, social media, and writing. Students will analyze how social media uses urgency and emotional appeals to develop a story. Students will create short, powerful messages within a 140-character limit. Students will discover how news becomes universal by using targeted key words (hashtags). Designed for 3 45-minute class sessions.

Shakespeare in the Bush
Laura Bohannon's account of telling the story of Hamlet to the Tiv people of West Africa.

Shakespeare: Subject to Change
This outstanding site from Cable in the Classroom offers a multimedia look at background information about Shakespeare in general and Hamlet specifically.

Shakespearean Comedy on Film
Lesson 2, "Comedy in Tragedy," explores the gravediggers scene and the impact of comedy.

Stick Figure Hamlet
As the title implies, the play is reproduced at this site in high quality stick figures. No lesson plans here, just a terrific resource for students who have trouble reading and for anyone who appreciates the play.

Studying Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
This very extensive page offers a wealth of discussion questions and insights into the play.

Teacher's Guide to Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Dealing with the language, journal prompts, prereading, during reading, and postreading activities with emphasis on theme and character. This extensive document requires Adobe Reader or equivalent application for access.

Technology and Shakespeare: Writing, Researching, Knowing
Students will study vision, interpretation and action in the plays Macbeth and Hamlet . Through textual analysis and writing, students explore the intersection of seeing and knowing as presented in the two plays. Unit plan includes 3 learning activities.

Test-Yourself Reading Quiz on Hamlet , Acts I & II and Acts III, IV, and V
Self-correcting interactive quizzes, great review material.

"To be or not to be" and the VT
Although Hamlet's "to be or not to be" question is probably the most recognizable in the English language, few students understand its full meaning in the context of Hamlet's situation. In this lesson, students are asked to recite, analyze and then adapt this famous monologue with the aid of the Visual Thesaurus.

"To Be Or Not To Be": Close Reading Hamlet’s Soliloquy
Students will analyze Hamlet’s soliloquy in 3.1 by completing a close reading which will focus on word meaning and etymology. They will analyze two film versions of the soliloquy and track actor choices throughout using two column note-taking. Then they will write an argument analysis on the soliloquy. Designed for 3 45-minute class sessions.

Vocabulary from Hamlet :

Words are presented in context and with definitions. Click on a word for pronunciation, examples of recent use, more.