Before You Start the Play, You Might Want to Show Them the Impact Shakespeare Continues to Have on Us.
Doing any of these things can lead to a successful start to your unit, but there's an even better approach I think. If you want to convince kids that Shakespeare is still having an impact, and that both he and the time in which he wrote--the Renaissance--are still relevant today, show them the video below. It's only a couple of minutes long, but if you've never seen it before, I think it will leave an impression.
As someone with both a profound appreciation of visual narrative and academic training as a ludologist (someone who studies the history and theory of games in literature and culture), this video and a host of others like it show that Shakespeare still speaks to young people--if not always in the Early Modern English with which he penned his plays then in the language of square blocks that has become one of the most popular digital pastimes among young adolescents today--especially boys.
And let's face it--Minecraft absolutely rules when it comes to developing a student's capacity for creativity and self-expression. It's not unusual for me to come home from work and see that my son has constructed a fortress or underground complex that I can't even begin to figure out.
And it usually comes with a story--therein lies the key.
Who knows...maybe you're a closet Minecraft superstar in the making.