Category Archives: paired passages

5 Resources to Help you Address Mental Illness in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

madness in HamletSo last time we were talking about using the story of Amleth to introduce and frame your teaching of Hamlet.  And I promised that I have a lot to say about Hamlet, so today I want to pick up with more resources.  Specifically, resources that will help you address the issues of madness and mental illness in Hamlet. Continue reading

The One Text You Probably Haven’t Read that will Help Your Students with Hamlet

text to help with HamletI can’t believe I’ve been blogging for six months and I haven’t mentioned Hamlet!  It’s one of my favorite things to teach and I have so much to say about it.  

Hamlet can be hard to teach because there’s so much in the text.  There are so many different directions you can take that lesson planning can get chaotic.  It’s also hard to know how to introduce the play and what to front-load.  Iambic pentameter?  Revenge tragedies?  Mental illness?  

I’m going to suggest that you start where Shakespeare started.  No, not in Stratford-upon-Avon.  I’ve always felt that biographical information on Shakespeare doesn’t help students understand the play much better.  But begin with the text that Shakespeare started with: the story of Amleth. Continue reading

8 Utopian Songs for Your Dystopian Unit

Utopian songsWhen I first started teaching dystopian literature about a dozen years ago, I actually had to define dystopia.  Not any more!  Kids love the stuff, and they already have a lot of experience. But I still think it’s great to teach because you can dig into some of the more nuanced ideas and even some aspects of literary style or sentence construction.

One thing I like to do is start with the idea of Utopia, since most Dystopias come about because a powerful group tries to create an ideal society for themselves.  Utopian songs are a nice way to start because they’re short and students usually enjoy listening to them. Many of these Utopian songs would work on their own, or you could also do a jigsaw or have groups listen to several and compare/contrast. Continue reading

8 Non-fiction Articles to Pair with Homer’s Odyssey

non-fiction articles for Homer's OdysseyLast time on Next Time Teaching we were talking about poems to teach with Homer’s Odyssey. But I know a lot of people are trying to get in more non-fiction, either because of the common core, or Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week, or just because hey, the real world makes for interesting discussions.  So without further ado, here are 8 non-fiction pieces that also go well with The Odyssey.


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15 Poems to Teach with Homer’s Odyssey

Greek shipOne of the frustrating things about teaching English is how much time we spend looking for what to teach–the timely article, the thought-provoking poem, the text that will make an idea come to life for our students.  But finding them takes time.  And the more time we spend looking for what to teach, the less time we have to think about how to teach. Continue reading