Happy Birthday William!

Shakespeare that is.

Fun Shakespeare facts:

  • Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. The closest we can come is the date of his baptism on April the 26th, 1564. By tradition and guesswork, William is assumed to have been born three days earlier on April the 23rd, a date now commonly used to celebrate the famous Bard’s birthday.
  • Shakespeare, one of literature’s greatest figures, never attended university. (Unschoolers take courage!)
  • The Bard is believed to have started writing the first of his 154 sonnets in 1593 at age 29.
  • William never published any of his plays. We read his plays today only because his fellow actors John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work as a dedication to their fellow actor in 1623, publishing 36 of William’s plays. This collection known as The First Folio is the source from which all published Shakespeare books are derived and is an important proof that he authored his plays.
  • As an actor performing his own plays, William performed before Queen Elizabeth I and later before James I who was an enthusiastic patron of his work.

(taken from http://absoluteshakespeare.com/trivia/facts/facts.htm)

Shakespeare is said to have coined more than 1,700 words in his lifetime many of which we use today. To read a list of words, go here.

May is Shakespeare month for Brave Writer. Be sure to sign up for the One Thing Workshop: Shakespeare if you want a little hand-holding and joy in discovering the Bard with your kids.

Check out Shakespearegeek for more fun with Will.

You can Talk like Shakespeare too!

4 Responses to “Happy Birthday William!”

  1. Julie Bogart says:

    From Kay:

    Thanks for the heads-up on the birthday celebration…perfect for teatime!

    Writing group brought out the following two Shakespearean Sonnets…..Enjoy

    We are looking forward and topping off our Shakespeare year with BW’s Twelfth Night, One Thing in May. (see notes at end of this message if you are interested – I wrote them at the end so I wouldn’t lose readers before you’ll got to the poems)

    William Shakespeare Vs. History
    By Anna Byrnes (age 10)

    Reading Shakespeare is like reading history.
    Elizabeth I enjoyed the theatre.
    Some plays were funny some plays were gory,
    And Shakespeare wrote them in the tenth meter.

    William Shakespeare wrote many lengthy plays.
    He wrote some of his plays without a care.
    He wrote his plays in many very different ways,
    And some he made very pleasant and fair.

    He published his first play at eleven,
    Some of his plays are romance and trag’dy
    Some were so good they were meant for heaven,
    And some were very much his casualty.

    People now look up to him and grin,
    Yes, reading Shakespeare you are sure to win.


    Sonnet of Memory
    By William (Byrnes that is , age 14)

    Photographs remain, your memory will pass,
    Life’s emotions and thoughts stored and filed,
    Unique style, clear as a fragment of glass.
    Some make you cry others make you smile.

    Snapshots and life segments cut like a knife,
    Frozen emotion and motion through time,
    Serious life or ridiculous life,
    Documented and backed up for your mind.

    But get them wet and a mess you will find,
    Disintegrated images are smudged,
    Your precious life emotion turned to slime.
    Colorful streaks, water drops, life is fudged,

    Do not depend on photographs today,
    Or your memories of life will fad away.

    We have had a great Shakespeare year, starting with Taming of the Shrew (William played Katerina in a teen summer performance)

    Both Will and Anna then were cast in local community theatre and made it through the many deaths in Richard III. Both died and fought in the performance. Anna playing Clarence’s daughter and one of the Princes in the Tower murdered and then returned as a haunting ghost for 17 shows.
    William was a page, a soldier, and a citizen.

    We then found The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey mentioned on Melissa Wiley’s site and read a great history/mystery and reinforced what we already knew about the re-writing of and the truth about knowledge of history. Shakespeares political spin for the Queen.

    PLease note.. I did not plan any of this, it all kept falling into our laps and Will and Anna kept catching it and running!

    Group drama classes brought Midsummer Night’s Dream into the mix and Saturday, William will be ending a Teen Cafe poetry reading with his dramatic presentation of Puck’s final monologue. (He is also reading 4 of his original poems that night, Sonnet of Memory one of them)

    Thanks for reading to the end of this comment.
    Julie thanks for the great ideas and natural way to experience writing and our lives.
    The Toffler article is perfect and also listed some great books to add to our reading list.

    Which also makes me comment on an earlier post where you asked about future classes….The Writing/Reading of Short Stories or Essays would be great.


  2. Julie Bogart says:

    Thanks Kay for such a wonderful lengthy substantive comment! Love the poetry and the way interconnections lead to the best learning.

    I like the suggestions for the new program too. I’m working on it!

  3. OOohhhh, Kay! Tey’s _Daughter of Time_ is a favorite of mine. When I was a senior in high school, my English teacher assigned it after we read _Richard III_ — and I was hooked. I’ve reread it several times – such a classic and a great historical “whodunnit.”

    Your kids’ poems are WONDERFUL!!!!! Such talented kids and such a great topic! Happy Birthday, Will!

    Love your ideas about short stories and essays — those would be really fun!

    Susanne, who still has a “Will Power” button with Shakespeare’s image above the words.

  4. Sandra says:

    We focused on The Tempest for the day – partly because my two youngest were’t familiar with that and I had managed to find some good resources at the library. First up was The Tempest for Kids by Lois Burdett. Both were inspired to do a little writing and drawing after seeing the children’s work in the book. Then we watched a video (Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare The AnimatedTales:The Tempest). At bedtime they listened to a Librivox recording of Charles and Mary Lamb’s retelling. While they really enjoyed all that (and given that we are on a break this week the fact that some writing happened was pretty staggering) their favourite event of the day was utilising the Shakespeare Insult Kit (www.petelevin.com/shakespeare.htm) – it made for a lively family dinner time that’s for sure!