To Shakespeare or Not to Shakespeare?

Everett Middle School has proven that print media is not dead! In Everett’s Writer’s Room, eighth graders have honed their brainstorming, interviewing, and writing skills to produce Straight-Up News, a newspaper now in its seventh volume.

Friends, students, countrymen: lend me your ears. Shakespeare has been a popular writer for hundreds of years and now, after all this time, he can spread his writing to another school, Everett.

Shakespeare’s birthday is unknown, but it is assumed to be April 23, 1564 and he died fifty-two years later on the same day. He lived in Stratford-Upon-Avon, wrote approximately forty plays and 134 sonnets and wrote all his plays for the acting group he was in. They were so good he even played for the queen, Queen Elizabeth I.

Shakespeare has been in your place many times before. It is supposed that Shakespeare enjoyed education at King’s New School. The conditions were hard as you sat on wooden benches from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. with only two short breaks. He shows this in ‘As You Like It’ about a boy “creeping like a snail unwillingly to school.” He also made up many commonly used words like bedroom, dawn, majestic, torture, and tranquil as well as having many influences on people and books alike. Did you know people have counted how many commas he wrote? It totaled to 138,198. He also had many influences on novelists such as Herman Melville and Charles Dickens.

If it meant so much for these famous authors, wouldn’t it be a good tool for middle school students? Mrs. McNally Norman, teacher at Blackheath High School thinks, “Children should start learning Shakespeare at an earlier age so they get used to his language and so they do not despair when they are suddenly faced with seemingly uncomprehensible soup of Shakespearean English.” As Mrs. McNally Norman said, if children were taught Shakespeare earlier their minds would adapt to the older language and comprehend more of his ‘soup’ and so they would enjoy the story rather then be too stressed to enjoy his writing. Katerina Edgar, a student at Blackheath High School says, “I like how he uses metaphors, similes, and word order to give a piece of writing its richness. I also like the way he uses rhythm, to give his verse another dimension.”

Even if you taught Shakespeare in a modern context it would benefit the students as they can emphasize and relate to the scenes in Shakespeare’s plays. Not only that, but it can benefit their writing as well as their use of the English language. Just as Isabella Scott said, “Shakespeare has made me the person I am today.”

This entry was posted in Student Writing Gallery.

Comments are closed.