I have begun to teach writing in small bites to my 9th graders, so while we were reading Romeo and Juliet and The Princess Bride I thought they could use some practice with understanding a prompt, learn how to brainstorm/get ideas down and then take that information and write a thesis statement. During the process we were able to discuss similarities between the two works.
The prompt asks students to discuss two similarities between the two, but it must connect to theme and/or character development.
They first complete a chart (T-Chart) that contains the two works across the top and then I have chosen 7 areas to brainstorm on the vertical (Genre, Setting, Theme, Conflicts, etc.) They record the answer to these areas of focus for each work in the chart. For example, What is the genre for Romeo and Juliet?; What is the genre for The Princess Bride? [They will find that there is very little that is similar between the two; one being drama and the other fiction. Also, one being a tragedy, while the other has a happy ending (sort of). Yet, when they record information about theme they will find similarities. Both have themes that revolve around the power of love and how people will overcome great obstacles to attain it.
Then, students will review the chart and record in bullet-list what they have found that is similar and then circle two that deal with theme/character development.
Then, they plug those two in to a thesis stem.
You can have them continue and write the entire essay, have a class discussion or just stop there.