Romeo and Juliet Unit Plan

Romeo and Juliet Unit Plan

English I – Standard/Honors

Stage 1—Desired Results
Established Goals:

  • NC Standard Course of Study Competency Goal 5: The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.
  • 5.01: Read and analyze various literary works
  • 5.02: Demonstrating increasing comprehension and ability to respond personally to texts by selecting and exploring a wide range of genres. 5.03 Demonstrate the ability to read, listen to and view a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print literacy texts appropriate to grade level and course literary focus

Understandings: Students will understand that . .

  • Romeo and Juliet’s history and why it is still read today.
  • Who Shakespeare was and how he affected the literary world forever.
  • Language used at the time is difficult to read but not impossible.
  • Character development is key to Romeo and Juliet, as well as most other works.
  • Shakespeare uses imagery to create motifs that contribute to the development of key themes.
  • It is important to note repetitious images found throughout the texts to gain insight into the message of the play.
  • Romeo and Juliet contains many controversial concepts that the reader must make personal decisions about.
  • Romeo and Juliet has universal themes that make it a very relevant play, hundreds of years later.

Essential Questions:

  • What was going on in Verona and Europe during the time this play was set?
  • Who was Shakespeare?
  • What are the key themes in Romeo and Juliet?
  • What is imagery? What is a motif?
  • How does language affect the way in which a play is understood?
  • Why did Shakespeare use so many images, especially light and dark images, throughout the play?
  • Why do we still read this play?
  • How have other artists interpreted Romeo and Juliet?
Students will know . . .

  • Key terms (imagery, irony, foreshadowing, motif, symbolism, etc)
  • Key themes (forbidden love, violence, feuds, loyalty, revenge)
  • How to read and interpret difficult language
  • The relationship between imagery, motif, and theme.
  • The history and context of Romeo and Juliet
  • The importance of character development.
  • Key plot events
Students will be able to . . .

  • Defend their stance on a particular issue
  • Select key plot events and be concise
  • Reflect appropriately on events occurring in the text
  • Identify examples of character development and change throughout the story
  • Practice critical reading skills throughout the unit
  • Read increasingly difficult texts
  • Identify images and quotes which relate to theme
  • Make moral judgments based on personal experience and argument provided in the play
  • Create a website
  • Write their own version of Romeo and Juliet
  • Use Twitter for academic purposes
Stage 2—Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks:

  • The final project for this unit will be a “Five Minute Romeo and Juliet” script and performance done in heterogenous groups (standard/honors combined). These plays will be focused on a key image and a key motif found in the original text. Students will also analyze their own script and practice critical writing skills. This project will require students to work on concise writing, to identify significant motifs and themes throughout the play, and to work as a group to accomplish a significant task.

Other Evidence:

  • Students will responds to the text in a reading response journal throughout the unit.
  • Students will create a website which focuses on theme (standard) or imagery (honors).
  • Students will participate in a debate about key themes in the play.
  • Students will analyze character through Facebook profiles.
  • Students will take reading quizzes.
  • Students will summarize the play using Twitter.

Stage 3—Learning Plan
Learning Activities: See “Sample Daily Plans” for specific learning activities that were used throughout the unit.

Sample Daily Plans

*Times have been eliminated due to parts of the lesson plan being eliminated for presentation sake (ie. vocabulary, hand backs, etc)

**An example of feedback from my mentor, Teresa Del Dotto, can be found following the Facebook lesson (Day Six).

Day One:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.

1. Stand up activity with worksheet
Pass out worksheet and have the students do them alone without talking. Each line will have a question with a yes/no response and a blank to defend it in one sentence. When students have finished, we will play the stand up game and I will call on one student to tell me why they believe what they believe.

2. Introduction to Romeo and Juliet – relevance powerpoint
Introduce various cultural references to Romeo and Juliet. Include a clip from Twilight

3. Introduction to Shakespeare and the play – notes
Pass out worksheets and give the notes verbally to the students. Play the Globe theater clip from Shakespeare in Love so that students can imagine what the play might have looked like in Shakespeare’s time.

Day Two:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.

1. Introduction to the language of Romeo and Juliet
Use the handout to demonstrate the progression of language throughout history and to quell fears of the students.

2. Prologue activity
Why would Shakespeare give away the ending in the Prologue? (The journey is more important the destination aka the plot. It’s about finding out how we got there.) Work in pairs to come up with a translation. Tie to poetry unit – the Prologue is a Shakespearean sonnet!

3. Pun activity
Transparency with modern puns. Show some older puns. Do you think these are funny? Would Shakespeare get this? Probably not. Do you think the puns in the text are funny? Would Shakespeare have? Hilarious!

4. Begin reading the play
Play the CD and have students follow along. (Listen to Act I and pause to discuss in an effort to give students confidence in the text.)

Day Three:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.

1. Quick review of what happened yesterday
Discuss emo-Romeo and hit the main points from Scene 1.

2. Reading Journal Entry
Explain what they will be doing with writing journals. Each entry should be 4-6 sentences at least.

Journal entry #1 – Standard – Have you ever been a part of an argument or problem that seemed to go on forever? Why do you think the Capulet’s and the Montague’s just wont let it go? Use one quote to defend your answer.

Journal entry #1 – Standard/Honors – In the Prolouge, Shakespeare describes the Montague’s and Capulet’s as both alike in “dignity” and mentions how their “civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Comment on the irony the families’ feud.

3. Continue playing the clips and stopping, this time with questions instead of explaining
Stop in the marked spots, but this time have questions prepared so that they must answer them on a sheet of paper in pairs. Students will hold their answers up and we will gage understanding through this activity.

Day Four:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.

1. Reading Journal Entry

Journal entry # 2 – Standard – Have you ever had parents or parental-like figures who seem to want you to do different things? How do you think Juliet feels about the difference between her father’s and mother’s desires?

Journal entry # 2 – Standard/Honors – In your opinion, who do you think the Nurse is most like in terms of her relationship with Juliet? Lord Capulet or Lady Capulet? Give specific examples to defend your answer.

2. Continue Reading Act I

3. Queen Mab Speech activity

Play three version (opera, two film versions of the scene) and lead them through the handout.

4. Continue reading and understanding

5. Plot Exercise
Students will be divided into teams and will have 2 minutes to arrange key events of Act 1: Scenes 1-4.  They will be on opposite sides of the room and will have to check each other’s answers

Day Five:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.

1. Watch Act I: Scene 5
Do the worksheet as they watch, filling in the answers. After we finish watching the scene, ask if there were any parts of the worksheet they needed help on or that were unclear.

2. “Closer” (Standard) / Literary Device Analysis (Honors)
Students flip over their worksheet as I play a little bit of the song “Closer” by Ne-yo. Standard will be finding similar lines while honors will be looking at the sheet for any sort of literary device. Call students up to get the class set and play Ne-yo as they do it. Students may work in pairs or alone on this worksheet.

Day Six:
Objective: The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms by determining a character’s traits from his/her actions, speech, appearance, or what others say about him or her.

1. Introduce Facebook Activity
Describe the importance of why we’re doing this! Make sure you remind them to read the directions on the rubric (see attached handout “Facebook Activity”- page 2) so they know what they are going to be graded on. Point out classroom rules for group work. Point out that it is due at the end of class, no questions asked.

*Mentor Feedback

Day Seven:
Objective: The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms by determining a character’s traits from his/her actions, speech, appearance, or what others say about him or her.

1. Reading Quizzes
Tell students they have 15 minutes to finish and when they finish, they will be able to start working on their Facebook activities. Make sure students cover their papers as well.  As they finish, pass out the Facebook materials.

Day Eight:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of literary genres (drama) by interpreting literary devices such as symbolism, diction, and imagery and by making thematic connections among literary texts and media and contemporary issues.

1. Journal Entry #3 – Love or lust

Journal Entry #3 – Standard - Do you believe in “love at first sight”? Do you think that Romeo could really love Juliet so much after one meeting?

Journal Entry #3 – Standard/Honors -Is Romeo “in love” with Juliet? Or, do you think he is “in lust”? Give specific quotes to support your decision.

2. Read Act II Scene VI in groups of 3
Assign each member of the group a part and read the play to each other. Ask students to jot down a 1-2 sentence summary on a note card, put their names on it, and pass it forward (Informal assessment tool- check understanding).

3. Lecture – Terms and light/dark imagery
Give definitions and have students fill them in on the worksheet. Mark a shift from focusing on plot to getting more into literary concepts and looking at Shakespeare as a gifted writer. Go through Romeo’s speech as a class and find examples of light/dark imagery.  Then do DIS-SYN on the board together to figure out what Shakespeare was doing.

4. Show the painting on the screen and compare
What is light/dark in the picture? How is it symbolic? Discuss why author’s use imagery – to contribute to meaning. Write answers on sheet!

Day Nine:
Objective: The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms by determining a character’s traits from his/her actions, speech, appearance, or what others say about him or her.

1. Essay Reading Quiz
Give students 15 minutes exactly to complete this quiz. They should have read it so this is a reasonable amount of time to complete the assignment. It will also prepare them for the timed write.

2. Introduce Ethics and Romeo and Juliet

What exactly are ethics? Discuss. Give notes on ethics, Aristotle, and Socrates. Then, give them MINIMAL directions about the debate and let them work on the worksheet in class in preparation for the debate. For quotes – if you have a computer at home, please let others use the book of quotes. Remind them to put line numbers for quick reference. At first, must work alone. Then, with 10 minutes left, students may work in pairs/with group members. Standard worksheet – Loyalty. Honors worksheet – Revenge.

Day Ten:
Objective: 3.03 – Support that informed opinion by providing relevant and convincing reasons and by using various types of evidence, such as experience or facts.

1. Remind students of debate protocol
Have directions taped to each desk and ask students to silently read them.

2. Ethics debate – Loyalty
Students will be given a 10 minute time frame, and the opening arguments will be made and the debate will continue. The teacher will monitor the time. After the debate, honors will have 2 minutes to summarize as the standard students prepare to take notes.

3. Ethics debate – Revenge
Students will be given a 10 minute time frame, and the opening arguments will be made and the debate will continue. The teacher will monitor the time. After the debate, standard students will have 2 minutes to summarize.

Day Eleven:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms by determining explaining how the writer creates character, motif, theme, and other elements.

1. Plot Activity
Students will be placed in two groups and will be given ten key events that have happened so far. The teams will then rush around to put them in order. First team wins. Both teams will face each other to remind each other about what has happened.

2. Introduce Website Activity
Remind students of small group rules. Have one student come get a laptop, one student come get the handout for the exercise, and one student sit and look pretty. Ask one of the students to log on to the computer then put it aside. Ask students to read the directions silently one time to themselves. Give a brief description then have the students pick their theme or image/motif in Romeo and Juliet.

Example of Student Website – Loyalty Theme

Example of Student Website -Nature

3. Demonstrate website creation
Go through the steps with the entire class. Remember to pick only one of the templates on page one. After students have entered their website title and had it cleared, they will write it down on their sheet.  Have students select “Fansite” and then “Guestbook” and “Home.”

Day Twelve:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms by determining explaining how the writer creates character, motif, theme, and other elements.

1. Journal Entry #4 – Reading response
Have the journal topic questions on the board and pass out a sheet with the reading section. Give students 10 – 12 minutes to complete their reading journal response. Remind students to make sure they have completed all of their journal entries up until this point.

A Shakespearean tragedy “…exemplifies the sense that human beings are inevitably doomed through their own actions and failures.”

Journal Entry #4 – Standard: How does Romeo and Juliet fit into this definition of a tragedy? What specific events cause this definition to be true?

Journal Entry #4 – Standard/Honors: What do the suicides of this play represent? What is the tragedy of this play?

2. Plot exercise – in pairs/alone
Pass out the plot worksheet and tell students they can work alone or in pairs. The importance of this worksheet is that it is condensing the entire play into one page. This conciseness will come into play for their final project. Allow students to work on this for 5 – 6 minutes.

3. Gallery Walk
Have students come in and log onto their group’s computer. Demonstrate how to sign a guestbook. Describe the purpose of a guestbook. Make sure they go to at least 1 image website and 1 theme website and leave a comment. Tell students to sign their first names at the end of their message. Each station should take approximately 5 minutes.

4. Twitter activity – Moral values
Talk about how Twitter is being used to share news, to connect people, and to introduce a new level of conciseness into mainstream culture. Help students log on then demonstrate how to use it. After they have logged into the website, they will be given prompts and asked to respond to them in 140 characters. Students (in same groups as website groups) will respond to the following prompts, tweeting them on to the class website. (Check out the student responses!)

  • Who’s sacrifice was greater? Romeo and Juliet (their lives for love) or their parents (their children’s lives for peace in Verona)?
  • Which is more important: loyalty to family or loyalty to your love?
  • Sum up Romeo and Juliet one tweet.

Day Thirteen:
Objective 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of literary genres (drama) by making connections between works, self and related topics.

1. Introduction of Romeo and Juliet Final Projects: Shakespeare in Five Minutes

Talk about the project. Pause and let students read over the directions. Give them time to pick image and motif. Assign small group roles. Tell students what is expected of them.  Ask them to use our resources (old worksheets, the text) to create a solid script.

2. Set students off to do activity – their goal before the end of class is to have completed a significant amount of the script.

Days Fourteen – Sixteen:
(Project Work Days)

1. Script Analysis and Revision

Day Seventeen:
Objective: 5.0 The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms by producing creative responses that follow the conventions of a specific genre and using appropriate literary devices for that genre.

1. Students get a “10 minute” – (15 minutes) – rehearsal time to finalize staging and acting

2. Begin student presentations – film!
Have students’ names in a hat and draw from the hat to determine which group goes first. Use the name cards from their tables if still available.

3. Collect final scripts – make sure their names are on them

4. Journal entry #5 on transparency

Journal Entry #5 – Standard: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been read and performed for hundreds of years. Why do you think it has been popular for so long? What makes it so special?

Journal Entry # 5 – Standard/Honors: Is Romeo and Juliet a relevant text for high school students today? Do you think this text should still be taught to students? Why or why not? Which components of the play make it a particularly important piece to include in the high school curriculum?

5. After final entry, students turn in their writing journals.