Additional Math Pages & Resources

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

Wednesday, April 23 marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birthday, according to historians. (His actual birthdate is unknown, but he was baptized on April 26.)

Every year we get calls from teachers around the country looking for a language arts program as effective as Excel Math is for math. Unfortunately, we can't help with other subjects. Excel Math gives teachers powerful lessons for teaching elementary math (kindergarten through Grade 6). Our unique spiraling process gives students the foundation they need to build math skills into their long-term memories and even begin to love math. Read what parents and teachers are saying.

The occasion of Shakespeare's birthday might be a perfect time to hold a birthday party in your classroom. Include birthday cake (make sure no one has allergies to any of the ingredients), a reading from one of Shakespeare's plays or sonnets, reports about his life, pictures, photos and descriptions of England in the 16th century and today. Then let your students calculate how old Shakespeare would be if he was still alive today. (450 years old)
The English countryside after rain

The Internet Shakespeare Editions offers multiple ways of exploring Shakespeare’s plays and poems. They publish several versions of Shakespeare's works including searchable old-spelling transcriptions, modern editions prepared especially for the digital age, and facsimile images of the original texts. You may want to show your students some of the old spellings and images of the texts. Take a look.

During the first years of Elizabeth’s reign, English acting companies used inns, inn yards, college halls and private homes for their performances. In 1576 James Burbage (actor and theater manager) built the Theatre in Shoreditch, the first London playhouse actually built for the purpose of theater. Shakespeare joined their troupe in the 1580s. William Shakespeare was a professional actor and playwright from Stratford-Upon-Avon. He worked in London, writing an average of three plays a year. Read more about Shakespeare at

The original Theatre burned to the ground in 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII when wadding from a stage cannon set the thatched roof on fire. Take a look at artist's renderings of the original Theatre on the Shakespeare's Globe website.

The theater was rebuilt with a tiled roof and remained the home for Shakespeare's old company until 1642 when all the theaters were closed under England’s Puritan administration. Two years later it was demolished to make room for tenement housing.

In 1949 the American actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker visited London for the first time and initiated the  project to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe, pictured left. The Globe was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in June 1997.

No one knows what the original Globe actually looked like. We do know that it was a 20-sided building with a diameter of 100 feet. Here's a scene from the play Romeo and Juliet. Read more. 

Today the Globe offers educational tours, plays, interviews, and even a "playground" complete with fun facts, videos, "make your own" postcards, a place to share photos and a section called "learn to write like Shakespeare." Try out the activities at .

Click on the word "comment" and leave a comment in the box below to let us know how your class will be celebrating Shakespeare's birthday.

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