Life of William Shakespeare Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach students about the life of William Shakespeare using this video-based lesson plan. Students will learn about and discuss his personal life, plays, and other influential work before applying their new-found knowledge to an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • give a brief biography of William Shakespeare's life
  • list and discuss key plays written by William Shakespeare
  • explain the impact of William Shakespeare on literature


1 hour


  • Copies of works by Shakespeare as listed in this lesson
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Blank verse
  • Iambic pentameter
  • Comedies
  • Tragedies
  • Histories
  • Sonnets
  • Rhyme royal

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7

Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


  • Begin by posting the following poem (from Preface to the First Folio by Ben Jonson):

He was not of an age, but for all time!

And all the Muses still were in their prime,

When like Apollo he came forth to warme

Our eares, or like a Mercury to charme!

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