Make Literature Tasty by Blending Quotes and Real Life.


Three things I love: Shakespeare, smoothies, and movie quotes. We love smoothies so much at my house we bought one of these blenders.

And I just love saying movie quotes to my friends. Here’s one of my favorite quotes of all time. From the movie Jaws of course.

And I’m an English teacher so OF COURSE I love Shakespeare. But even though I love him I almost buried him at the end of last semester. I was trying to get through our required core reading before the end of the semester and I was going to rush Julius Caesar. Luckily I had a late night coffee with Sean Ziebarth and our amazing FVHS Theatre Teacher, Bob Zick.

Bob asked me, if the students were acting any of the play out. I sheepishly said no. He almost had a heart attack. Shakespeare isn’t meant to be read, it’s meant to be acted out and watched!

Now I love having the students act out Shakespeare. I still remember to this day a group of freshmen taking the stage and acting out big fight scene in Romeo and Juliet dressed completely as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

But, I just didn’t have the time to act the whole play out. So I had to improvise.

What if I had the students OWN two to four lines and put it in a video as a response to a real life situation. Show the students that you CAN use Shakespeare just as we use movie quotes from Star Wars or The Sandlot? Movie quotes can really make you think about a situation in your life, so why not a quote from Julius Caesar?

Here were the rules:

  1. Create a short video using just your phone or a simple camera. There will be no pro videographers making the rest of the class feel lame. No one is allowed to spice up their video with editing tools or background music. Basically the Iron Chef ingredient in our smoothie was “no tricks or techniques.”
  2. The video must include 2-4 lines of the play. The lines should precede, intertwine, or follow a real life situation.
  3. Using Vine, Twitter Video, Instagram Video, or YouTube upload the video so we can watch it in class.
  4. We were able to watch an entire class of 37 videos in about 54 minutes. Sweet.

So how did they turn out? (The videos below are actually a mix of Shakespeare and some from other books like The Crucible and Frederick Douglass.

Shakespeare and Surfing? Yes please. 


Here’s the last one. This was a good one. Love wigs, risk-taking, and acting. You’ll have to click the link to watch it. 

I’m looking forward to trying this with other plays or perhaps even famous poems. If you do something with this idea or modify it, please share it back to me. Thanks.

PS: None of this is possible without the risk-taking mindset and creativity of the #ideaFM students at FVHS. I’m a lucky teacher and wish I had the space and time to show more of their work.

Here is an example from The Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass

and another

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