Ghosts, Witches and Haunted Houses!

witches1_546x307For Halloween Eve, we’ve  unearthed more haunting resources to enhance classroom discussions, homework assignments, and even flipped lessons (where students may complete some of this work at home).

Supernatural Elements in Shakespeare
Grades 8-12 | Media Gallery | Literature
What role do ghosts and witches play in Shakespeare’s most notable works? Ask students to support their responses using evidence from these video segments.

DIY: How to Make a Clown Face
Grades 5-8 | Video | Theater & Performance
Theater teachers: Show students how to create their own Halloween costume (or stage persona) using a little makeup! Use this one-on-one session with a professional clown to enhance your tutorial.

Haunted House: The Tuhhhh
Grades 1-3 | Video | Reading
Mummy and Werewolf are having a hard time reading a message left by their friend, Bat. Invite young learners to play along as they practice the letter sound “t.”

Halloween Spooky Science Special
Grades PreK-1 | Media Gallery | Science
Teach learners about spiders, bats, cats, and skeletons while celebrating the tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween.

PBS LearningMedia: Summer of Literacy

24b7b99b-a754-4d22-8abc-8d59591328cb_thumbPBS LearningMedia’s summer of literacy continues! Explore this special collection of resources designed to expand vocabulary, strengthen reading comprehension, and expose students to authors behind famous works:

American Authors in the 19th Century Grades 9-12 | Primary Sources | Authors:  Introduce students to five prominent American authors with this collection of primary source documents  Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow, Stowe, and Poe.

Great Expectations: Happily Ever After? Grades 9-13+ | Video + Essay | Elements of a Story:  This video excerpt from PBS’ adaptation of Great Expectations  enhances lessons on 19th century literature and the work of Charles Dickens.

The Use of Soliloquy Grades 8-12 | Media Gallery | Literary Devices:  Shakespeare may be the author best known for his use of soliloquy. Engage students in a discussion about this literary device with resources from Shakespeare Uncovered.

Poem by Emily Dickinson Grades 7-12 | Animation | Poetry:  This resource for upper-level students illustrates Dickinson’s use of literary devices such as capitalization, personification, and rhyming.

Meet the Author Grades 2-7 | Media Gallery | The Writing ProcessIntroduce students to children’s author Rosemary Well’s background, career, and thoughts on the writing process.

Consonant Digraphs Grades 1-3 | Media Gallery | Vocabulary AcquisitionIntegrate these resources from The Electric Company into your next lesson plan to familiarize students with the consonant digraphs “gh” and “ph.”

Find these resources and more in the Gone Readin’ Summer Literacy Collection designed to support literacy from PreK through 12th grade.

Shakespeare Uncovered: Education Resources

Recently, you might have seen  Shakespeare Uncovered take on Hamlet and The Tempest.  This  great series combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of celebrated hosts such as Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons and Joely Richardson to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

We invite you to see Shakespeare Uncovered as a series of splendid “short courses” made easy with episodes available for streaming.  Designed for immediate use in high school classrooms, an educator site provides a robust collection of lesson plans and curricular materials — which adhere to national learning standards – and contain video segments, comprehensive instructions for classroom implementation, printable student handouts, links to online resources, and suggestions for extension activities to enhance students’ reading, viewing, and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works.

Just a few of the lessons for grades 9-12 are Talking to Myself:  Hamlet’s Soliloquies,  All the Globe’s a Stage:  Shakespeare’s Theatre and Women’s Roles in As You Like It.   PBS LearningMedia, a digital library for teachers, also has scores of classroom resources on Shakespeare for grades 6-13+.

Program Feature: Shakespeare Uncovered: Macbeth with Ethan Hawke

Attention Shakespeare fans!  Ethan Hawke invites viewers on his quest to play Shakespeare’s murderous Thane of Cawdor by researching the true story and real-life events that served as the play’s inspiration. Shakespeare Uncovered: Macbeth with Ethan Hawke airs Friday, January 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET on WGBY.  Check out a preview of the program below:

Poems and Poets for All Times

Referenced in a recent post about GIFs (one of the web’s oldest image formats now widely used for its innovative potential),  PBS Arts is the core of an online strategy for strengthening arts awareness, appreciation and education in America.  To spark a resurgence of the visual, cultural and performing arts, this PBS Arts Online concept brings audiences directly into the creative process, fosters individual artistic expression and promotes experimentation.

You can browse a broad and diverse range of  genres such as dance, theater and film, and with April being poetry month, you might especially want to explore writing, where you’ll find these videos and more:

Five Good Answers from a Shakespeare Scholar, Dr. Gail Kern Paster, director of the Shakespeare Folger Library and renowned Shakespeare scholar who collaborated with PBS Teachers to help educators bring Shakespeare into the classroom.

Patrick Stewart:  What We Learn from the Bard , an interview of Emmy- and Grammy-nominated actor of “Star Trek” and “X-Men” fame, who explains what young people can learn from Shakespeare and why Shakespeare remains relevant.

“Mother’s Day” by Daisy Zamora, one of Nicaragua’s most distinguished poets, who eloquently expresses the dilemma of being a mother today, especially one who makes unconventional choices

“One Boy Told Me” by Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, who uses her unique perspective as his mother to transform a boy’s everyday chatter into a work of art that perfectly captures the magical thinking of children.

Lesson Plans from GREAT PERFORMANCES: “MacBeth”

MacBethPerhaps you’ve sat in the television audience of Great Performances, now in its 38th season on PBS, for the best in the performing arts from across America and around the world.  To also give students the best seats in the house for its roster of international artists and performing arts companies, Great Performances provides educator resources for its portfolio of opera, popular song, musical theater, dance, drama, and performance documentaries.

Just one example from its educator’s menu by title, genre, grade level and full A-Z list is the MacBeth Education Guide for last fall’s acclaimed production.  This activity-based analysis of the play is illustrated by various lesson plans and before-and-after activities to assist educators in utilizing the PBS broadcast in the classroom.

From the Great Performances Web site you’ll also find the complete film for viewing online  (also available at  This version of MacBeth is also available through the WGBY Video Lending Library – borrow it for classroom use free of charge.  Visit the Video Lending Library website and search for “MacBeth.”  If you need assistance, contact Bernie Michaels (413-781-2801) and reference the video ID – 2063.