"Year of Shakespeare" District-wide Initiative Year of Shakepeare

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. In commemoration of this milestone and in recognition of the tremendous impact of Shakespeare’s work on our culture both past and present, numerous organizations around the world are participating in a variety of activities throughout the year to celebrate the “Bard of Avon.”  

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC,  which is one of our country’s leading research and educational centers for Shakespearean studies, is loaning out for exhibit to each state in the union one of their copies of the original printed volume of Shakespeare’s plays published in 1623, called the First Folio—one of the rarest books in the world. Wisconsin will receive the Folio in November of 2016 and will display it for public viewing at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison.  

Ahead of this exhibit, a variety of programs, performances, and educational opportunities on Shakespeare and his significance are being offered across the state. The Wisconsin Legislature recently enacted Joint Resolution 96 which officially recognizes the contributions of Shakespeare to world languages, literature, and the arts. More information about the First Folio exhibit and other state-wide activities can be found here

The AASD Year of Shakespeare Initiative has been developed with the intention of providing opportunities for students and staff to focus attention on Shakespeare within each of our district’s schools during 2016. It is the goal of the initiative to have every school create their own unique “Shakespeariences” which involve many different grade levels and disciplines. Joint projects between schools are another exciting possibility.  

The influence and importance of Shakespeare to our culture is monumental-- whether it be in the language we speak, the business we conduct, the issues we discuss, or the art we create. It is interesting to note that Shakespeare is the only author required by name to be taught as part of Common Core. The AASD Year of Shakespeare Initiative will showcase that significance and the educational value we as a district place upon his work.

Educators and students will be provided ideas, materials, lesson plans, and other resources to bring Shakespeare to their schools. Student work will be featured and shared across the district, the local community and the state.

Anyone interested in participating in the planning and development of the AASD Year of Shakespeare or would like more information should contact Ron Parker


Upcoming Shakespeare Events

An original 30 minute play entitled “Elementary, My Dear Shakespeare: An Introductory ‘Shakespearience’ for Children” will be performed at elementary schools across the district starting this fall.

This fast-paced, entertaining presentation was written and will be performed by students from the Renaissance School for the Arts. It is the goal of the initiative to celebrate Shakespeare in every school in our district during this 400th anniversary year. This play is our attempt to reach as many elementary students as possible with the message that the Bard of Stratford and his works are not only significant and relevant, but fun!


Resources

Teaching about the First Folio and Shakespeare’s Works: Lessons and Resources
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