The Life and Times of...
William Shakespeare


This is a project that was created during a TTL session in June of 2001.  It is designed to be used in a world literature class for seniors during the study of William Shakespeare's Macbeth.  Please feel free to use any and all of this project along with the power point and the worksheets and rubrics.  You may modify and change them to suit your individual class needs!!!  If you do something in your class that works even better, I would LOVE to hear about it and give it a try!  My e-mail is at the bottom of every page.


How can students relate to Shakespeare and understand the time in which he lived?  To accomplish this, students will create poster projects and presentations over various aspects of the era in which Shakespeare lived along with biographical information about the playwrite.  This lesson offers students the chance to do research and create material in groups.  They will then present this information to the whole class to teach each other about the life and times of William Shakespeare


This is the
that I use to introduce the poster and presentation project.  Not to mention the all important question....."Why do we have to do this?"

William Shakespeare.pps
 Click above to view show!!

Task Objective: 

1.  To fully experience Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

2.      To understand the man and the era in which he lived

3.      To work together to complete a poster and presentation goal

4.      To do research and give credit to sources

5.      To present researched information to the rest of the class

Day 1

Brainstorm with the whole class. Question—“Who was William Shakespeare?”

When was he born?  What did he do in his life?  What plays did he write?  Did he have a family?  Children? Where did he live? 

Put student ideas up on the board. 

Put students in small groups (3-4) and complete the, “What do you think life was like 500 and 400 years ago?” worksheet.  It can be found at the bottom of this page.

Day 2

Discuss group worksheets.  Now we need to find out if our predictions were correct.  Show power point show, which can be found below, where students will be in groups of 2 to complete the poster and presentation projects.  Discuss project and then arrange students into groups of two.  Let them discuss which area they would like to research.  Students will also be allowed to choose any other topic of interest not contained in the power point show, concerning this era and time, for example, kings and queens, weaponry, transportation, etc.  Have students sign up for the group research project they will complete.  Remind students to focus on their specific topic and carefully choose which information they will use.  They will need a bibliography page, so keep a running account of all resources used!

Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5

These days will be used as research and presentation preparation time.  Teacher will be the facilitator, rotating around the room as an assistant to the student.  A check sheet of some kind will be necessary to keep track of how students use their time.  The number of days must be flexible as each class may need more or less time. 

Day 6 and Day 7

Student groups present and explain their posters and give their presentations over their topics.

Day 8 and Day 9

Watch the movie, Shakespeare in Love—Which I edit by taking some of the scenes out that are objectionable.  This movie portrays what life was probably like during the time of Shakespeare.  To set the purpose for reading Macbeth, begin a discussion concerning  motivation and the drive for success.  What would you be willing to do to become the ruler of a country?  Cheat a friend? Lie? Leave your family and friends? Murder? Kill an old man?

Day 10-End of the Play

Begin reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth together in class.  I project the following web site up on the TV screen which gives vocabulary definitions and scene by scene explanations to help us understand the language and what is going on.
At the end of the acts, I usually have students take a quiz or answer questions that appear at the end of the acts. Sometimes they work in small groups to answer these questions.

COMMENT—The nice part about doing the projects before the play is that the student posters decorate the room and add to the Renaissance atmosphere.


The following links are available in the WORD format.  They include rubrics, worksheets and evaluation sheets.

Peer Evaluation of an Oral Presentation 

Group Performance Rating Scale


Shakespeare worksheet Day 1 Directions- In your group and on a separate piece of paper, answer the following questions together


These are some great sites for teacher resource and student research concerning Mr. William Shakespeare and the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  







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