Monday, December 8, 2014

Romeo &Juliet Unit Ideas

I start with a lecture day - I don't really do many of these, but in some cases it is a good way to get across basic, background information.  We take guided notes on Shakespeare - his life and times.
I go through a Powerpoint that looks like this:

The students fill in guided notes that look like these:
For homework, students complete a scrambled Shakespeare activity, where they use their notes to complete major life events and to put them in the correct order.  It looks like this:

I collect and grade this the following day.  This is a great way to assess if they took notes/were listening and to reinforce the learning from those notes.

The next day we work on breaking apart some of Shakespeare's writing.  We look at Iambic pentameter.  We do some examples together:
And then, the students are on their own to complete a short assignment:
We also work on deconstructing Shakespeare's grammar a bit.  We look at some sentences from Shakespeare's writing and rewrite them in more modern language:

The next day students write their own guiding question for this unit.  They look at their performance during the poetry unit and use that to write a question.  Most of their questions end up being about theme or tone - some kids write about analogies or symbolism.  The idea is that they are examining this play through a specific lens that will help them to improve in an area that they have struggled with.  They also write a short paragraph justifying their question.  I review these closely to make certain that they are on the right track.  I also seat them based off what they are reading for during this unit - this helps both them and me to keep track of what they are reading for.  As they are reading they will complete a double-entry journal focused entirely on answering this question.  Here is that assignment: 
Next, we sign up for the online book - this is helpful, because it gives the kids access to hear the entire play (through McDougal Littel).  I have found that this increases their comprehension greatly.  I also provide them with a link to an awesome resource which has the entire play and A TON of supplemental material.  Here is that link:

Just this set-up takes almost an entire day.  We end by reading the prologue and breaking it down - line-by-line together.  We also listen to it through the online book and look at supplemental material through the online folio - I do this to get them familiar with how to use these two resources.  Here is the assignment that we work through together:
Now, we are finally ready to start Act I, scene i - we listen to the entire thing on the first day.  On the next day, I break it down - we use the online folio for this and the students take example notes in their double entry journals.  Here are the notes that I provide for that:

We repeat this process for the entire act: read & listen to the scene being read by professional actors, review the scene using the supplemental information in the Canadian folio (link is above), and add notes into our double entry journals.  We also add to a character list that I keep up throughout the unit for the students:
After reading each act, scene by scene, the students turn in their double entry journals and then we watch the old 1970s version of the act.

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