Teacher's Section

Act 1, Scene 1:
Getting Started

Guide to Educator

For the K-3 teacher
For the 4-8 teacher
Shakespeare and
the TEKS

Texts for
classroom use

A Guide To The Plays
"A Most Rare Vision"–
Student and educator

Contact Us!

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  1. Students
  2. Teachers
  3. Principals
  4. Parents

We’ve said too much already about why Shakespeare is so good for kids.

Now it’s time for us to get out of the way and let the kids – and their teachers, principals, and parents – do the talking.

Here are excerpts from letters and notes written to us within the past few years by Texas students, educators, and parents after the completion of performance projects through Shakespeare at Winedale Outreach.



“My Shakespeare experience was one of the best moments of my life. Shakespeare has helped my imagination grow.” -- Zach, age 10

“I think everyone should get the chance to do this.”-- Zoey, age 11

“Thanks for helping us to be the best we can be in Shakespeare and I would love to do Shakespeare again.”-- Andrés, age 12

“Shakespeare is a great opportunity to express yourself. It really helped me show myself what I can do.” -- Felix, age 10

“I really liked how we played it out and went on a trip to Winedale.” Tori, age 10

“I had so much fun doing the part of Trinculo. I wish I could do it forever.” Raez, age 11

“When it was our turn (at Winedale) I got butterflies in my tummy. Then when I did get on stage, I had mixed feelings. I also felt happy. And now it is between acting and being a teacher.” -- Sabrina, age 12

“You have opened many doors and talents I never knew I had.” Sophia, age 12

“Thank you for helping us the whole year… When we went to Winedale, I think that was great because I got to see other children working on the same thing as us. For me that was so cool because getting on stage every Thursday was making me more brave. That day we had to perform, I was not nervous.” -- Alexa, age 12

“At first I felt like it was boring, but then when I got my part I felt like the character and I that was very cool. And ever since I started Shakespeare my voice is louder. I used to be shy, but now I feel like I can talk loud. I really hope that I do Shakespeare throughout my life… I wish I could be back in the old times so that I can do Shakespeare every day.” -- Eric, age 11

“I liked how you got me into Shakespeare. I never thought it would be so fun.” -- Beatriz, age 12

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And a very special letter from a fifth-grade student who is a native of Korea:

“When I first came to this school, I wasn’t good at English at all. I was totally bad. I couldn’t understand, I couldn’t read, and I couldn’t write or speak. Actually I didn’t try to do it. Then you came to our school and started (the) Shakespeare program. At first, I thought it will be too hard for me. I wasn’t really paying attention about it. But (a) few days later, I liked it so I tried to memorize the lines we were learning. It was fun to do at home too especially for me. Because I didn’t have anything to do when I come back to home. Homework and that’s it! I thought about Shakespeare while eating, before I go to bed, while I’m playing, and even in the bathroom. I tried a lot and then I started to understand English more and started to speak more. I memorized the lines that I suppose to memorize. First time when I just got the script, I just memorized it even though I didn’t know what it means. But when I started to try to do it, I began thinking it’s fun to memorize those. Especially I felt proud of myself when I showed my classmates what I can do. I got better at school, and also I didn’t give up.

When I got better at memorizing, then I tried to be a real actor which was really hard. I tried to put expressions and tried to act good. It was really hard to me. But my (you and my teachers) and my friends really helped me to be good, so they made myself new. That’s what I got now. A few weeks before, on Saturday, our class went to Winedale to perform our play, “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and we did a fantastic job that day. When I got my parts, I thought it was so long and thought I can’t make it. But that day, I made it! I used expressions, I tried to be a real character. And… we rocked! We were all proud of ourselves because we did the best we could and especially we all enjoyed our play. All the people who were watching our play clapped and clapped. It was my first time to be in a play in America, so I was really happy and my face was full of smile.

I think this Shakespeare taught me how to love myself. I didn’t know anything about Shakespeare and I learned a lot of things from it. I learned how to act like real actors too, but especially I learned how to be a good friend from Shakespeare’s story. They all share their friendship and when I see Hermia and Helena’s part, I think about me and my best friend. When I see Bottom, sometimes I see myself from the story. I became more romantic. When I was doing my Quince part, I became Quince the director of the play. And I loved to be him.” – Pauline, age 11

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“My sixth grade students' experience with the UT Shakespeare outreach program was so valuable. The students gained much from these experiences that went beyond the scope of the regular language arts curriculum. It was so exciting to watch them gain confidence in both their performance and their ability to understand Shakespeare as the year went on. My students with special needs and my second language learners were some of the most involved; students who shied away from reading a passage out a of a textbook in class were on stage performing Shakespeare. I know that many of them surprised themselves with what they took from the program and how far they were able to go...ultimately performing at Winedale! I look forward to continuing this work with many classes to come.” – Rachel Ellner, 6th grade teacher, Zavala Elementary, Austin, spring 2005

“What I saw the students from Blackshear Elementary do in their performance at Winedale was absolutely amazing. They’ll remember this for the rest of their lives.” -- Jeffrey Healey, school counselor, Fulmore Middle School, Austin, spring 1999

“I’ve never seen kids so excited about something they don’t even know yet. One of my students said a few days ago, in a discussion about connecting two texts, ‘It’s just like in Shakespeare,’ and went on about how it was like something Puck had done…. That’s what you call higher-level thinking. It’s cultural diversity, it’s connected to the TEKS, and these kids aren’t going to get it anywhere else.” -- Linda Burleson, 4th grade teacher, Winn Elementary, Austin, fall 2003

“I thought it went just great today. The kids are very proud of themselves and they love the story. It is a bit ‘grown up’ and forbidden to them, I think, and that always has some appeal. I just tried to explain what we were doing today to a parent who did not know who Shakespeare was – she was very excited to hear her son reading these difficult verses. I really think this is a first for most of them…. This is a significant event in their lives right now. I want to say again how thrilled I am to have this chance to provide something so enriching for my class!” – Linda Checkley, 4th grade teacher, Langford Elementary, Austin, fall 2003

“This program provides our Texas public schools the opportunity to enrich our students’ hearts, minds, and spirits, both poetically and dramatically. In this age of emphasis on standardized testing, this program nourishes my students like manna from heaven.” -- Mary Silkey, 5th grade teacher, Dudley Elementary, Victoria, Texas, spring 2005

“It made the students feel important and special. We had so many students interested in spending their weekends doing Shakespeare. It was thrilling.” – Anne Verburg, 5th grade teacher, Hill Elementary, spring 2003

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“I’ve seen kids who are pretty ‘black and white’ in their thinking suddenly get ‘inference’ and ‘main idea’ – two skills that bedevil many young readers and pull down TAKS Reading scores -- as they grapple with their lines in rehearsal. Our hand-washing Lady Macbeth learned her lines, rehearsed with her classmates, then conveyed an inference to her audience – that Lady Macbeth couldn’t really “wash away” her crime. What better way to teach kids that sometimes what people say or do isn’t really what they mean? Long after the performance is over, these students will tackle new reading challenges with the skills learned while studying Shakespeare this way.” -- Marcia Rossi, principal, Hill Elementary, Austin, spring 2003

“The students participating in the project gained confidence in speaking and performing and acquired an enthusiasm for Shakespeare. This impacted their learning and appreciation of language and developed advanced comprehension skills… This Shakespeare project allowed many students an opportunity of a lifetime.” – Amy Kinkade, principal, Mathews Elementary, Austin, spring 2005

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“It was valuable, difficult, and fun…. I am startled, amazed and delighted – more than Shakespeare could capture in words – at what you were able to evoke here.” – Spike Gillespie, parent of sixth-grade Outreach participant, spring 2003 “This program was a big inspiration to Bianca…. The children (involved in) any type of art, whether it is music, dance, painting or acting make better students overall.” – DeeDee Rosa, parent of fifth-grade Outreach participant, spring 2005