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Lesson Plan

All's Well that Sells Well: A Creative Introduction to Shakespeare

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All's Well that Sells Well: A Creative Introduction to Shakespeare

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Patsy Hamby

Patsy Hamby

Dallas, Georgia


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • compare attending a performance at The Globe to seeing a Broadway production or a movie.

  • research Internet sources to gain information regarding performances at The Globe and use their own experiences to relate this Elizabethan experience to viewing a contemporary movie at a local theater.

  • create and perform a commercial advertisement of a modern product, presented as if the audience were people attending The Globe in the early 1600s.

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Session One

  1. Introduce the activity by asking students if they ever have attended a live theater performance. Lead a discussion of impressions and occurrences, beginning with what performance they saw, how much the ticket cost, where they sat, how people around them behaved and responded, and whether they would recommend the performance to others and why.

  2. Ask similar questions about recent attendance at local movie theaters and draw out any immediate comparisons between live theater and a movie theater experience.

  3. Introduce the comparative activity by projecting the virtual tour from the Shakespeare's Globe Website. As you show students each of the components of the tour (Stage, Yard, Middle Gallery, and Upper Gallery), have students verbalize their observations about how attending a performance in such a venue would be similar or different from a modern theater or cinema.

  4. After discussing what students have observed from the virtual tour, direct students to the Theater Comparison Instructions and Resources page or distribute printed copies. Explain that students are going to research contemporary theater and movie experiences and the experiences of attending a performance at a theater in the 1600s (such as the one they just saw, based on the design and architecture of Shakespeare's original Globe), and then compare and contrast them using a graphic organizer. Review the instructions with students.

  5. Give students time to research the theater comparisons individually or in pairs, using the Theater Comparison Instructions and Resources handout or Web page as a guide. Students can organize the information they gather using the ReadWriteThink Notetaker.

  6. When students have completed their research, introduce them to the Venn Diagram and the Compare and Contrast Chart Graphic Organizer. Briefly discuss how these graphic organizers can be used to compare and contrast items.

  7. Depending on the level of your students, have them use one of the graphic organizers you introduced to compare the Globe Theater of Shakespeare's time with either Broadway Theater or a modern movie theater, or have them create their own organizer instead.

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Session Two

  1. Discuss some of the similarities and differences students discovered between Shakespeare's theater and the modern theaters they compared in the previous session. Be sure each student or group of students contributes to the discussion. You may wish to record student responses on butcher paper or an overhead, or have a student volunteer do the same.

  2. Ask students to imagine that Shakespeare's plays were preceded by commercials (as movies are today). What kinds of products might have been advertised? What modern products might have been useful in Shakespeare's time? Why would these products have been useful?

  3. Assign students to collaborative groups of two or three and explain that they are going to prepare a one- to two-minute commercial for a modern product or convenience which they will present to the class as if the audience were at The Globe in the 1600s. They must present the product in such a way that the audience, who would have no idea of the concept, will not only will understand it but will desire to purchase it.

  4. Provide groups with a copy of the Commercial Presentation Planning Sheet and the Commercial Presentation Rubric, which will be used to assess their commercials, and inform them that they will have the rest of the session to create their commercials to be presented in the next session.

  5. Have a member of each group choose a product to advertise from the hat, box, or bag containing the product slips (from the Product List for Commercials you prepared earlier), or allow students to determine their own products.

  6. Allow time in class for the students to discuss and prepare their commercials. Monitor their progress as they work. Some students may need time outside class (or an additional session in class) to complete their commercials or to gather materials for props.

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Session Three

  1. Provide time at the beginning of class for the groups to organize their materials and make any last-minute preparations.

  2. Have students present their commercials to the class. Complete a Commercial Presentation Rubric for each group as they present.

  3. As each group presents, have each student in the audience write a one-paragraph reflection piece for the presenters that includes the following:

    • I learned from your presentation that...

    • The part of your presentation that I most enjoyed is... because...

    • One thing I would have changed about your presentation is...

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  • Have students create an advertisement for the same product in a modern setting. Have them video and edit this advertisement and provide a brief written explanation of the differences in their choices based on audience and mode of communication (video as opposed to live performance).

  • Return to students' advertisements after reading an act or two of the play the class is studying. Have them rewrite their ad copy, this time attempting to match Shakespeare's use of language. You may require students to write in blank verse, or for extra challenge, have them transform the advertisement into a sonnet that could be performed as a prologue or between scenes. See the ReadWriteThink lesson plan Discovering Traditional Sonnet Forms for background on the sonnet.

  • After study of the play, have students choose an item, object, product, or service from the play to advertise to a modern audience. Students reading Romeo and Juliet could, for example advertise the Friar Laurence's special formula sleeping potion, the Apothecary's shop, Friar John's messenger service, etc.

  • Have students create a product targeted toward a certain character or group of characters in the play. They could, for example, design an ad for a stress reliever for Prince Escalus or family counseling for the Montagues, either of which could be placed strategically in Act One of Romeo and Juliet.

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