As an alternative to a final assessment, or as a supplement to any Romeo and Juliet Unit, this project requires students to put on their creative hats and write a short prequel scene to Shakespeare's tragedy.
Assign this project during any point in the unit--preferably after a student has asked "Why are the Capulets and Montagues feuding?" Completing the project will have students answer that question for themselves.
Have students brainstorm what could have influenced two families to hate each other. I recommend having them research common issues in Italy and/or England during the time period of the play. Once they have done this, they can begin drafting their prequel.
This project requires students to compose a 3 page composition that is written in blank verse. Prose may be used intentionally to indicate social class of characters on stage. Students must include one soliloquy, one monologue, and one aside in this composition, as well as four (4) literary devices from a provided list. The list includes literary devices used by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet.
In completing this project, students will demonstrate mastery of various literary devices, iambic pentameter/blank verse, and the ability to create reasonable explanations for events. They will explore how different literary devices contribute to the reader's experience and understanding of a text and the impact of diction.
This can be an in-class or out-of-class project. If assigned at the end of the unit, it can be completed well within a week. If assigned towards the beginning of a Romeo and Juliet unit, it can be stretched and chipped away over 3 weeks.