Looking for teaching resources for Macbeth? Are you teaching Macbeth in high school and desperately looking for activities for the Shakespearean tragedy? Check out these 12 resources and make Macbeth easy.

Pre-reading activities for Macbeth

1. Shakespearean insult lesson

If your students are unfamiliar with Shakespeare, it can be a steep learning curve. This can make it difficult to teach Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Students often feel intimidated by the language and find it hard to get into. And if you’re teaching Shakespeare for the first time, or one of his plays for the first time, you can feel intimidated yourself!

A great way to overcome this fear factor is to have some fun activities for teaching Shakespearean language and the play you will be teaching.

One of my favorite ways to start any unit about Shakespeare is by having a Shakespearean Insult Lesson (see here for my blog post about it and here for my digital and in-class lesson).

Not only is the Shakespearean insult lesson lots of fun, but it also helps reduce the fear factor of Shakespearean language.

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2. Watch a video about Shakespeare and his plays

Another great way to introduce students to Shakespeare and Macbeth is to watch a short video about Shakespeare’s life and his tragedies.

There are heaps of videos around, but some of my favorites are the Crash Course videos: this one, which is all about Shakespeare’s life, and this one, which is about Shakespeare’s tragedies.

Both videos are short and sweet, less than fifteen minutes. The video about Shakespeare’s tragedies covers King Lear in more depth, so you can also stop the video at about eight minutes and fifteen seconds if you’re short on time.

The videos are funny and engaging, and they use illustration, a presenter, and quotes to delve deeper into Shakespeare’s life and plays. That series also has a video about Shakespeare’s comedies, just in case you teach any of those too.

If you’re looking for a worksheet to go with the videos, check out our Shakespeare life and plays bundle on TPT.

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3. Take a personality quiz

As you know, teaching Macbeth to high school students requires capturing their interest. And for teens, one of the best ways to do that is to relate the content to their own lives.

A great way to do that is this fun pre-reading activity for Macbeth, a personality quiz by High School Help. In the activity, students take a fun quiz to see which character they are most like. And under the guise of a fun activity, students are inadvertently learning about major characters from the play.

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High School Help also has a free anticipation guide for the play, covering important themes. Other helpful pre-reading resources for Macbeth by High School Help include this scavenger hunt.

4. Watch a video about Macbeth

Now, once you’ve introduced Shakespeare and your students are more comfortable with the language, you might be wondering how to teach Macbeth specifically.

The Crash Course Literature series also has two videos specifically about Macbeth. Again, I rate these highly as they’re short, entertaining, and cover important content such as plot, characters, and themes.

If you’re looking for worksheets for these, we have some too. Check out the Macbeth bundle, which has worksheets for both of the videos.

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But be wary of plot spoilers! If you’re happy for students to know the plot in advance, go for it. If not, you may want to watch the videos during or after reading instead.

While reading activities for Macbeth

Ok, so you’ve gotten your kids into the play, they know a little about Shakespeare and his tragedies, and they’re no longer intimidated by the language.

Now you need some teaching resources for Macbeth that you can use while reading the play.

5. Read some comics

These comics by David Rickert give an introduction to the main events of each act and have an activity that explains an important concept or literary device.

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Using comics is a great way to take away that fear that students often have of not understanding Shakespearean language. As an added bonus, the visuals in comics often help with comprehension.

6. Learn the characters with body biographies

These body biographies by Danielle Knight of Study All Knight are another idea for teaching Macbeth. In the activity, students analyze characters in an engaging way. In completing the projects, students have to:

  • to find direct quotes
  • analyze how the character has changed (or stayed the same)
  • explore the characters’ inner thoughts/feelings
  • analyze the characters’ values and beliefs
  • explore the characters’ strengths/weaknesses
  • identify the characters’ goal/s in the play
  • describe what the characters look like
  • choose the characters’ best accomplishment/s
  • identify symbols
  • and describe the characters’ background, family, personality, and conflict
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These posters are fantastic for collaborative learning, require in-depth analysis, and are great to display once completed.

7. Close reading workbook analyzing through literary lens

This close reading workbook by Dr Jenna Copper is another idea for teaching Macbeth, this time through a literary analysis lens. The workbook has 16 close reading excerpts from all acts of the play and covering analysis through many different literary theories such as:

  • formalism
  • gender studies
  • social
  • psychological
  • myth
  • historical
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The workbook also has an answer key and can be used in-person or online.

8. Character map activity

One thing about reading Shakespeare that can be difficult for students is keeping track of all of the characters. With fourteen characters, and a bunch of M-names, keeping track of who is who and who’s doing what can be tricky. This activity by Laura Randazzo helps with that.

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The character map activity is available to print or in a Google slides version. Students can use the map to work out or remember relationships between characters. And don’t worry, the answer key is included!

9. Scene-by-scene study questions

Another great teaching resource to help with teaching Macbeth is this scene-by-scene study questions resource, also by Laura Randazzo. These questions can help students keep track of important plot points, make inferences, and explore their own personal opinions.

The Macbeth study questions can be used in class, as part of homework, as quizzes, or as enrichment activities. Or you can use bits and pieces of different questions for different purposes or activities. There is also an answer key.

After reading Macbeth activities

So you’ve finished reading or watching Macbeth and now you come to the pointy end where you need to review before an assessment task. These great Macbeth review activities are sure to be a hit with your students.

10. Escape room review activity

This escape room activity by Room 213 is a great, in-depth way to review the play in class. There are challenges/puzzles for students to complete, as well as cards to help or hinder students. In the game, students must use their knowledge of the play to help Malcolm and Macduff rescue Scotland from Macbeth.

11. Review bingo game

This Macbeth review bingo game by Juggling ELA is a great way to quickly review the play. The game covers characters, symbols, and terms/definitions. It also has 30 different bingo cards, as well as one blank card so that you can write your own card. It also has a digital version.

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12. Digital escape room

This digital escape room by English Bulldog is a great way to review Macbeth if you are wanting something shorter than the Room 213 version, or if you are still learning online.

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The review game covers different verse forms and literary devices, major characters, the theme of appearance vs reality, plot sequence, and students have to unscramble a soliloquy.

What’s your favorite teaching resource for Macbeth?

We hope you’ve found some fresh, engaging, and exciting resources to teach Macbeth to your high school students. If you have favorite teaching resources for Macbeth, let us know!

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