Skip to Main Content

Dr. Jessica Winston

Playing with Shakespeare

Shakespeare's plays are famously complex, even difficult. This presentation emphasizes dynamic approaches that help to make the plays accessible, including a brief overview of relevant backgrounds and contexts and up-on-your-feet exercises to promote close engagement with the text. The presentation can be adapted to suit any of Shakespeare's plays.

Performing Drama

In collaboration with high school teachers, I am happy to develop presentations on other topics relevant to Renaissance, classical, or contemporary drama to support a specific unit, or to connect with productions of plays currently on offer at ISU or at other local venues. While the content can be developed relative to a teacher's specific needs, most presentations will involve some background on the play and either comparative film clips or up-on-your-feet exercises to promote students' abilities to analyze language, character, and conflict.

State Standards

These presentations meet the following state education standards for high school students:

English Language Arts

Key Ideas and Details

RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key
supporting details and ideas.

CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a

CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical,
connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions
of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or
to compare the approaches the authors take.

RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as
well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a
story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and

RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative
and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including
words with multiple meanings or powerful language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
(Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

RL.11-12.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the
choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to
its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated
in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).