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Want to teach a Romeo and Juliet unit that will get your students engaging independently with the text, making connections to contemporary issues, and excited to discuss essential questions that really matter?
With themes ranging from pickup lines to revenge, from street culture and gang violence to love poetry, from family dynamics to drugs, from “live fast die young” to medieval ideas of romantic love—this play offers so much to explore.
But if you want your classes to get excited about reading this challenging text, your students will need to be excited to delve into the book and feel empowered to tackle the difficult language on their own. You’ll also need to help your classes to make connections between their own lives and those of these fictional characters from so long ago.
When you follow the step-by-step methods that I outline here, your students will learn to understand the language and appreciate the artistry of the play and ultimately, to understand their own lives a little bit better.
These lessons also make great choices for online teaching because the clear instructions and structured questions are written for students to tackle independently. Additionally, the concrete text-based questions and unique sources discourage cheating and encourage students to answer for themselves.
The variety of materials, real-life connections, and innovative approaches to the information will keep students engaged and excited about learning. Learning from home gives students a great opportunity for exploring the TED Talks, articles, and real-life sources examined in the unit.
The writing prompts, paired texts, and interactive notebook activities that I include in this resource have been honed over years of teaching this classic play. Read on to learn how it will work when you teach Romeo and Juliet the way that I have taught it for years.
Before they even open their books, your students will start off by getting excited about the bigger themes and issues of the play; they’ll explore contemporary news stories, TED Talks, poetry, and pop music, discussing and writing along the way.
Then, they’ll slowly start to grapple with the text by using the no-prep handouts—first with your help, and then more and more on their own—until they are fully confident reading the challenging language independently. I always play a professional recording of the play so that students have the opportunity to hear it performed by real actors. Additionally, I have broken the text into manageable sections—over the years, I have found great success with starting off very slowly and then reading more and more in class.
As they move through the story, you’ll have more opportunities for extension activities to help students continue to make connections to the greater world as well as freewrite prompts to help them make connections to their own lives.
Once they finish reading the play, you’ll have 5 different options for assessment—from a straightforward test with quote identifications and essay questions to creative cooperative projects as well as different options for writing assignments—so you can truly see how much your students have mastered the play.
In all, there is enough here for over two months month of rigorous but accessible reading, analysis, discussion, and writing. With 217 questions on the individual scene and acts, 74 bellringer writing prompts, 5 different writing assignments, 9 different quizzes, 5 options for summative unit tests, 17 supplementary informational and poetry texts with questions, and answers keys for everything, this literature guide is an effective, no-prep way to teach this classic tale. And now, you have four different suggested daily schedules to help you organize all of the great bundled resources.
When you teach Romeo and Juliet with this complete unit you will:
• engage your classes in a critical thinking by using the ready-to-go essay questions and exam questions
• easily fulfill common core requirements with the no-prep study questions
• see a noted improvement in your students’ close reading skills when they utilize the scaffolding in the comprehension questions
• get your classes to compare the figurative language and sonnets of Romeo and Juliet with those of typical pick-up lines of the period by examining primary source documents
• add rigor to your lesson plans with the ready-to-go handouts, writing prompts, and fun activities
• engage your classes in dynamic discussions with the critical thinking questions
• easily teach the unit online using the ready-to-go instructions, links, handouts, and forms all optimized for Google Classroom.
• bring your students’ writing to the next level with proven prompts, essay questions, and step-by-step writing instructions
• help your classes understand how the play is relevant to their lives with the innovative lessons involving contemporary nonfiction, news, and poetry
All of the answer keys quote the important passages, so there is no guessing as to which parts of the text are most important. When you discuss the questions with your classes, you can point them to the sections to make sure that they are engaging with the text and working to interpret the sometimes challenging language.
The following resources are included in this bundle, all at a discount when you buy them together:
Romeo & Juliet Activities: Activities for Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, & Act 5 (normally priced at $53.77 when purchased seperately) Get your students writing, discussing, analyzing, and working through the most important and challenging essential questions of Romeo and Juliet with these powerful and complete lesson plans. The themes covered in these resources range from 12th century notions of love to the cycle of violence in the Chicago streets, from parents’ relationships with their children to the culture of live fast, die young, and from 17th century ideas on revenge to the life of a Harlem gangster in the early 20th century. In all, there is over one full month of innovative lessons included. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking here.
Romeo and Juliet Quiz | Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, and Act 5 Questions and Answers (which normally sell for $32.85 when purchased separately) Included in each of the act resources: handouts with questions for close reading and discussion on every scene; suggestions for interactive notebook activities for every scene; two different versions of act quizzes which include short answers, quote identifications, and short essay prompts; and extensive answer keys for all of the questions and the quizzes. You can view the full-priced versions of these products by clicking on these links: Romeo and Juliet Quiz | Act 1 Questions and Answers; Romeo and Juliet Quiz | Act 2 Questions and Answers; Romeo and Juliet Quiz | Act 3 Questions and Answers; Romeo and Juliet Quiz | Act 4 Questions and Answers; Romeo and Juliet Quiz | Act 5 Questions and Answers.
Romeo and Juliet Test | Romeo and Juliet Unit Test | Romeo and Juliet Final Test (normally priced at $6.97) With five different options for summative assessment including a traditional text-based test, prompts for argument essays, and two different assignments for fun and creative projects, this resource has you covered. You can view the full-priced version of this resource by clicking here.
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” a poem by Pat Mora
“The Writer” a poem by Richard Wilbur
“Sonnet 130” a poem by William Shakespeare
“Sonnet 18” a poem by William Shakespeare
“Sonnet 73” a poem by William Shakespeare
“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” a poem by Dylan Thomas
"Hanging Fire" a poem by Audre Lorde
"The Victims” a poem by Sharon Olds
Get ready to rock your Romeo and Juliet unit.