Folger Education offers lesson plans on Shakespeare's frequently taught plays, as well as lessons on introducing Shakespeare. Try the plan below, or, for more lesson plans for As You Like It, visit the Lesson Plans Archive.
Using Music to Explore Shakespeare's Characters
Music provides a perfect vehicle to help draw students into Shakespeare's plays. In this unit, students will look at how music is used specifically within the plays to develop characters and themes and to advance the plot.
This unit is particularly useful with students who are aural learners, and students who have difficulty with Shakespeare’s language. By understanding characterization and themes through music, students will be able to apply their knowledge to analysis and performance of text.
Sculptures of the Seven Ages
This lesson introduces a kinesthetic method for deepening reading comprehension. This technique can be used with any soliloquy that is more descriptive (image-rich) than discursive (idea-rich); in fact, it works well with most poetry. It uses collaborative learning and is fun, but also requires students to think through the specific meanings of the lines.
Playing the Fool
While students are accustomed to watching comedic films and television shows, analyzing humor in Shakespeare’s text is another matter. In this lesson, students will take a scene from As You Like It and examine it for its comedic appeal.
The Folger edition of As You Like It includes facing-page notes and illustrations throughout the play; background information on the play, Shakespeare's life, theater, and times; notes on unfamiliar language, or words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day; and a scholarly assessment of the play in light of today's interests and concerns.
Seeing Shakespeare performed, or performing Shakespeare, can help students feel confident reading and understanding Shakespeare's language. To see performance-based education strategies for your classroom, check out our clips on YouTube here.
The characters in As You Like It are known for their conversational brilliance. They carry on witty dialogue with each other, changing conversational partners throughout the play. They exchange puns and metaphors most commonly, and philosophically debate many aspects of their modern life: falling in love, country life, and growing old to name a few.
For many students today, reading Shakespeare's language can be a challenge. Things to pay attention to in As You Like It:
- unfamiliar words or words whose meanings have changed
- unfamiliar word order
Folger Editions contain notes on unfamiliar words, or words whose meanings have changed since Shakespeare's day. In As You Like It Shakespeare often uses sentence structures that separate words that normally appear together. This is often done to create a particular speech rhythm, or emphasize a certain word.
Songs play a large part in As You Like It, featured more in this play than in any other. They don't necessarily move the action forward, but provide levity, a passage of time, or highlight the setting of the action.
The most famous of the songs in this play is 'It Was a Lover and his Lass," which ends the play "with a hey and a ho and a hey nonny no" - a merry jig. We still know the music and lyrics for this as they were published in Thomas Morley’s First Book of Ayres in 1600. The only copy of this book still in existence today is in the Folger Shakespeare Library, and can be viewed in our Digital Image Collection.
About the Play
As You Like It was first printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623.
To learn more, explore our Discover Shakespeare online resource, including the sections highlighted at right.