Fifth Graders Tackle “The Bard”

Did you know there are things people say today that were originally penned by William Shakespeare? Examples include “neither here nor there” Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor; and “To be or not to be?” Hamlet.

Shakespearean influence and references can also be seen in modern entertainment. The popular fictional band the Weird Sisters in the Harry Potter series was based on the three witches in MacBeth, and many Game of Thrones characters share similarities with notable heroes, heroines, and villians.

Widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist, Shakespeare’s themes are universal and timeless.

Four hundred years have passed since Shakespeare penned his last play, yet his characters and stories still resonate. Fifth grade English teacher Tyler Henson believes there is much students can learn from Shakespeare’s works.

“It’s important to challenge yourself as a reader. I think each student gets something from Shakespeare, whether it be tracking a complex plot across several acts, new vocab and language acquisition, or learning to take time to translate words into meaning. Most importantly, though, I want my students to associate tackling complex works of fiction and drama with having fun and stepping out of reality,” said Henson.

“So many of the kids were absolutely stoked to read and act for their favorite character, get paired up with their crush, or be silly and use a funny accent. As they move forward in literature, my goal is for students to look at Shakespeare not as a chore, but as an opportunity to become someone else in another time or world and to think and speak in poetic language,” Henson concluded.  

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Heritage Hall is a co-educational college preparatory school in Oklahoma City. As one of the few secular private schools in the state, we offer a challenging academic curriculum for students from preschool through grade 12, as well as unique leadership opportunities, a wide spectrum of athletics, and a well developed fine arts program.