Shakespeare – Module 1: Introduction to Shakespeare’s Life and Times – 1 of 3

WHAT: Today you will find out some basic facts about the life of this really famous guy called William Shakespeare.

By the end of this study session you will be able to:

✔ Describe his childhood
✔ Describe his family
✔ Say what he did for a living
✔ Name the types of plays he wrote

Today you will need:
✎ A pen
☰ Some paper to write on
♫ Some headphones or a space where you can play videos out loud

This video summarises Shakespeare’s life (8 minutes). There are many more things to learn, but this is a good place to start.

1. Watch the video (you might need to play it more than once, or pause it to make notes)
2. Answer the questions underneath the video. Write down your answer on your note pad, then click on the question to check if it’s correct.

Here’s a TOP TIP: When you answer the questions, there is no need to write down the question and the answer underneath. You should instead try to reword the question into a statement.
E.g. When Shakespeare was a little boy, he lived in…

✍ Writing your answers in full sentences will help your literacy!

a) Where did Shakespeare live as a little boy?


b) Who was his mother?

A farmer’s daughter

c) What did his father do for a job?

Make gloves

d) What kind of school did Shakespeare attend? And what did he learn to do there?

A grammar school and he learnt to read and write

e) How old was Shakespeare when he got married, and who did he marry?

He was 18 years old when he got married. He married Anne Hathaway.

f) How many sonnets (poems) did he write?


g) What were Shakespeare’s two jobs?

An actor and a play-write (someone who writes plays)

h) What was the name of the theater Shakespeare helped to build?

The Globe

i) What terrible health pandemic did Shakespeare live through?

The Black Death

j) Who was queen when Shakespeare was alive?

Queen Elizabeth 1st

k) When Shakespeare was around 40 years old, who became king?

King James 1st

l) How many plays did Shakespeare write about great kings and what were they collectively called?

He write 10 plays about kings and they were known as the History plays.

m) How many plays did he write that had unhappy endings and what were they called?

He wrote 10 tragedies.

n) How many funny plays did he write and what do we call them?

He write 18 comedies.

o) How old was Shakespeare when he died?


p) What is the First Folio?

A collection/big book of all Shakespeare’s plays.

3. Read this pretend diary entry written from the point of view of Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare’s Diary: 13/08/1573

Good day
My name is William Shakespeare. I am nine years of age and live at Mary Arden’s Farm.
I attend King’s New School of Stratford-upon-Avon. My favourite lesson is Latin, however I have always quite enjoyed English Literature.
My mother, Mary Arden, said I should start writing because of the creative stories I tell. In all honesty, they are pretty good. So I decided to start writing this diary and fill it with stories about school and home as well as my ideas. Who knows, maybe they will be worth something one day.
Well, that’s all for now. I am going with my father, John Shakespeare, to the workshop. He is a successful whittawer, or leather worker. Maybe, if father teaches me, I could be as good as him when I grow up.
Fare thee well.

4. Choose a time/day in Shakespeare’s life and write your own diary entry.

You could write about one of these situations:
☛ a busy day writing one of his plays
☛ a day where he and his theater company are rehearsing a play
☛ a day during The Black Death

If you are a little bit stuck, you can use these sentence starters:

✎ I woke up today with a head full of great ideas for Romeo and Juliet…
✎ I wanted to get started whilst it was still so sunny outside because…
✎ Well, my favourite character so far in my play is…

5. Learning review:

Three facts I didn’t know about Shakespeare before that I now know are:

Well done for completing today’s home study!