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Shakespearean Insults Activity(See the Folger Shakespeare Library's Shakespeare Set Free
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Have students choose one word from each of the three different groups (adjective, hyphenated adjective, and noun). Then ask them to arrange the words in a way that makes sense to form an insult. Ask students to practice their insult and start it with "Thou". Example: "Thou, peevish motley-minded rudesby!" Have students line up with boys in one line and girls in another to hurl their insults. Discuss the insults and use them as a way of discussing meaning making and rhythm in Shakespeare. How did they know what order to put the words in? What do they think the insult means? What can they learn about Shakespeare from this introductory activity?





Adjectives
bawdy
jaded
roynish
brazen
knavish
saucy
churlish
lewd
sottish
distempered
peevish
unmuzzled
fitful
pernicious
vacant
gnarling
prating
waggish
greasy
purpled
wanton
grizzled
queasy
wenching
haughty
rank
whoreson
hideous
reeky
yeasty
Hyphenated adjectives
empty-hearted
ill-composed
paper-faced
bunch-backed
ill-nurtured
pinch-spotted
clay-brained
iron-witted
raw-boned
dog-hearted
lean-witted
rug-headed
evil-eyed
lily-livered
rump-fed
eye-offending
mad-bread
shag-eared
fat-kidneyed
motley-minded
shrill-gorged
heavy-headed
muddy-mettled
sour-faced
horn-mad
onion-eyed
weak-hinged
ill-breeding
pale-hearted
white-livered
Nouns
canker-blossom
malkin
rampallion
clotpole
malignancy
remnant
crutch
malt-worm
rudesby
cutpurse
manikin
ruffian
dogfish
minimus
scantling
egg-shell
miscreant
scullion
gull-catcher
moldwarp
snipe
hedge-pig
nut-hook
waterfly
hempseed
pantaloon
whipster
jack-a-nape
rabbit-sucker
younker

Shakespeare Festival Talent InventoryAfter we introduce the Shakespeare Festival, we ask all students to complete a Shakespeare Festival contract/ Talent Inventory. We give them a summary of the play, a character list, and assign each student to an audition group. We require all members of the class to audition, even if they prefer a behind-the-scenes role. Sometimes, students will change their minds about wanting to be on stage once they get into the process. We encourage all students to take a risk and stretch themselves. Even though students are assigned a particular part or backstage responsibility, many roles emerge during the process.






Shakespeare Festival Scripts(approximately 25-30 minute version of the play)
As You LIke It

Much Ado About Nothing

Taming of the Shrew




Resources for
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Shakespeare Set Free series
The 30-minute Shakespeare series
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Online Resources for Teachers at the Folger Library