In my 9th grade unit on Romeo & Juliet, we focus on the two essential questions: "Why are we still reading a play that's over 400 years old?" and "What themes are relevant to all teenagers?" The answers to both of these questions center around the idea that Romeo & Juliet is a play that's as relevant to teenagers nowadays as it was in Shakespeare's time. This is because the play focuses on important THEMES that are universal in the teenage experience. At the start of the unit, I distribute this "THEME TRACKER" sheet for students to keep in their notes, and we add to it each time we identify a major theme in the play.