Writing in the Shadow of Shakespeare


1st Period: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Grades: 9th - 12th (Age guideline: minimum age 14 by September 1)

Tutor: Amy Johnson

Tuition: $400

Materials Fee: $20


This class, for students in grades nine through twelve, will study two plays by Shakespeare each semester. The class will focus on the rich language of Shakespeare through reading, written assignments, the memorization of monologues, the direction of scenes, and the study of poetic verse. Students will read the plays outside of class. Class time will be spent reading specific scenes, discussing those scenes, going over the written assignment, and receiving instruction on writing techniques.


Written assignments vary greatly by play, but overall, use basic principles taught by The Institute for Excellence in Writing. I used this program with my own children, but the written assignments are of my own imagination and taken from years of teaching Shakespeare. Written assignments will be given at the beginning of each play with dates for completion. Students may submit written assignments more than once, as the teacher is a firm believer that practice is invaluable! A grading rubric will be given for each written assignment. Some examples of assignments are journaling as a character in the play, updating a scene with more contemporary humor, texting between characters, writing an inverted pyramid article and writing a descriptive essay.


Some parents may ask:

“What if my child is a reluctant or weak writer? Should I enroll him/her in this class?”

The short answer: Absolutely!

Explanation: We learn to write by writing. Students will be given plenty of creative, imaginative writing assignments in this class that begin where Shakespeare left off. For example, Shakespeare allows his audience to see the aftermath of a shipwreck in Twelfth Night, but your student will be writing about what the characters are feeling and thinking after those events. They will glean information from their reading about the characters’ thoughts and emotions. Assignments may be tailored to where your student is in the writing process. While some students may be learning to craft a well-written paragraph, other students may be polishing an essay with five or more paragraphs.


"My child is very sensitive about his/her writing and does not take criticism well. Should I enroll him/her in this class?"

The short answer: Of course! Students will be learning to use a rubric.

Explanation: A rubric is a very valuable tool to create expectations and guide the writing process. Since we learn to write by writing, re-submitting work will be encouraged by the teacher. Grades will be recorded in pencil and assignments may be re-submitted in order to obtain a grade to the student’s liking. Rubrics are our friends!


We will use the Oxford School Shakespeare series for each play.

Play List:

Midsummer Night’s Dream ISBN-13: 978-0-19-832150-7

Twelfth Night ISBN-13: 978-0-19-832583-3

The Tempest ISBN-13: 978-0-19-832151-4

Much Ado about Nothing ISBN-13: 978-0-19-832872-8


Meet the Tutor