Tired of your students failing to make connections between Romeo and Juliet and their own lives?
With everything from the cycle of violence to the culture of live fast, die young, Shakespeare’s classic play has so much to offer a contemporary audience, but it isn’t always easy for students to make those connections. If your students don’t understand how his work relates to problems and questions that matter to them, they won’t be excited to study the play. Even worse, when students are forced to read a book that they see as a dead text, they’ll be bored, hard to manage, and you’ll be wasting your time trying to teach them to care about a story that was written so long ago.
The contemporary and historical sources included in this bundle will get your students exploring topics ranging from 12th century notions of love to the cycle of violence in the Chicago streets, from pop music and the culture of live fast, die young to 17th century ideas on revenge, and from TED talks on love to the life of a Harlem gangster in the early 20th century—they’ll be excited about the essential questions of the play and eager to begin their unit.
Your classes will learn that the problems that those teenagers from hundreds of years ago face are very much like what they deal with in their own lives. And more importantly, the varied and fascinating texts will help your students to come to a better understanding of themselves and the questions that they grapple with on a daily basis.
When you teach Romeo and Juliet with these activities you will:
• conquer your students’ writers block with engaging and relevant writing prompts
• have multiple options for ready-to-go activities for when you need to fill a little extra time
• challenge your students to think about the themes and conflicts of the play from the inside out by working through thematically relevant creative writing exercises and prompts
• bring your students’ critical thinking, writing, and close reading skills to the next level with ready-to-go lessons on rigorous poetry and nonfiction
• push your classes to question their assumptions about violence, gangs, and street culture by engaging them with contemporary nonfiction
• teach fun, low-key classes while still fulfilling common core requirements
• engage your classes in dynamic discussions with the critical thinking questions
• watch your classes explore, enjoy, and analyze visual art, photography, poetry, nonfiction, and radio journalism
• give your students scaffolding to work through challenging texts by utilizing the proven questions and graphic organizers included here
• quickly and easily grade your assessments by using the rubrics provided
In all, there is enough here for over one month of rigorous, engaging, and fun lessons.
***The following resources are included in this bundle, all at a discount when you buy them together***
Romeo & Juliet Shakespeare: High Interest Paired Passages (normally priced at $16.97). This unit of Romeo and Juliet activities focuses on many of the most important themes of the play: teens, gangs, violence, death, and revenge. As they explore sources that range from a 17th century essay to a compelling TED Talk, from a jazzy poem to a powerful article in The New York Times, from an iconic poem of the 20th century to pop music from 2017, and from a photographic essay from 1948 to recently published non-fiction and opinion pieces, students will deepen and broaden their own ideas about these important issues. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Romeo & Juliet Pre Reading Activities | Prereading | Creative Writing (normally priced at $1.97). The fun creative writing prompts and engaging discussion questions included in the lesson will quickly get your students excited about starting Romeo and Juliet. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Romeo & Juliet Writing Prompts: Essays, Creative Writing, & 74 Bellringers (normally priced at $9.97). With 74 bellringer prompts and 6 different writing assignments ranging from literary analysis to a cooperative play project, this resource will engage your students and make it easier for you to incorporate writing into your unit on Romeo and Juliet. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Shakespeare Sonnet 18 | Sonnet 130 | Sonnet 73 | Love Metaphor Unit (normally priced at $9.97) How do we talk about love? It’s a question that has been asked for centuries, and it is one that has never been fully answered, even by the greatest poets of all time. And yet, it is an important question to ask, especially for teenagers who are still struggling to define their world. Get your classes to analyze Shakepeare's sonnet 18, sonnet 130, and sonnet 73 while they explore TED Talks, pop culture, and non-fiction primary source documents with this innovative and engaging unit. These powerful lessons will make Shakespeare’s sonnets relevant to your students. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Romeo and Juliet Task Cards: Close Reading Passages & Paired Texts (normally priced at $4.99) All focusing on the question of “What is Love,” the 14 different stations included will get your students excited about learning when they examine diverse sources. From a Ted Talk to the ideas of ancient Greek philosophers, from a column from The New York Times to writing from 12th-century France, this resource will take your students far and wide. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Shakespeare Sonnet 138 | Paired Text | Close Reading | Literary Analysis (normally priced at $3.97) This mini poetry unit utilizes creative writing, close reading, poetry analysis, critical thinking, and fun visual aids to get your students thinking about big questions that really matter: Why do we lie to ourselves? Why do we lie to those we love? What does it mean to have a healthy romantic relationship? These poems will inspire some interesting and important discussion on challenging questions. The more depth and width that you can add to your students’ understanding of these tricky questions the better. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
"Hanging Fire" by Audre Lorde | Close Reading Poetry Lesson (normally priced at $1.47) Audre Lorde’s free verse poem “Hanging Fire” is a great choice for teaching point of view, tone, speaker, gender roles, and diversity--it's also an accessible and relevant poem that has been a favorite of my students for years. In this engaging poem, the teenage speaker worries about everything from braces to her own death. Students will love this poem because of its natural sound and its portrayal of the teenage mind. You will love this poem because it will broaden your students’ understanding of what makes great poetry. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Point of View Poetry Lesson: Family & Divorce | Close Reading & Poetry Analysis (normally priced at $1.47) Sharon Old’s poem “The Victims” is an exploration of the ways that family dynamics change as we all grow up. The speaker deals with her parents’ divorce and her shifting allegiances. The universal themes of forgiveness, the past, and letting go of anger will engage any student with this poem.You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Shakespeare: Sonnet 73 & Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (normally priced at $2.99) This poetry lesson on literary analysis, close reading, and paired texts will get your students to engage in class discussions on death, dying, and old age--all while examining two iconic poems. The two poems offer two very different views on these important questions. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking .
Additional Texts and Sources Covered in this Resource:
“Rules to Live By” a radio story excerpted from This American Life’s show on Harper High School in Chicago, 2016
“We Real Cool,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, 1959
“Harlem (A Dream Deferred)” a poem by Langston Hughes, 1951
“Harlem Gang Leader” a photo essay by Gordon Parks, 1948
“Judith and Holofernes” a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, completed between 1614–20
“Of Revenge” an essay by Francis Bacon, 1625
“Bored, Broke and Armed: Clues to Chicago’s Gang Violence” an article by John Eligon, published in The New York Times, 2016
“How We Cut Youth Violence in Boston by 79 Percent” a TED Talk by Jeffrey Brown, 2015
“There's Another Solution To Gang Violence” an opinion piece by Don Williamson, published in The Seattle Times, 1990
“We Are Reclaiming Chicago One Corner at a Time” an opinion piece by Tamar Manasseh, published in The New York Times, 2017
“Editorial: A Chicago alderman finally speaks truth to gang violence” an opinion piece by Editorial Board, published in The Chicago Tribune, 2017
“The Wrong Way to Fight Gangs” an opinion piece by Lauren Markham published in The New York Times, 2017
“Elena” by Pat Mora
“The Writer” by Richard Wilbur
There are no lectures or power points here—students will do the work themselves, with guidance from you.
Rather than telling them what the texts means, you will empower your students with the confidence and skills to tackle these challenges on their own.
"This bundle is so thorough I don't even know where to start! (This is a good thing. Now I have LOTS OF IDEAS!) Romeo and Juliet has always been one of my favorite plays to teach, so I'm excited to dig into this and pick and choose between and among all of the options. Overall, I have two words: WOW and THANKS!"--Katherine M.