I love teaching Shakespeare, and I find that it is no more difficult to teach it to my struggling learners than to my advanced students—in fact, often times it is more enjoyable. Whether you think Shakespeare should be taught to students reading far below grade level is another discussion, and I go into that in my blog at www.teach4real.com. But for now, let’s just assume you downloaded this packet because you expect to teach Shakespeare to your class this year, and you could use some resources.
Clearly this packet does not contain every single activity I use when I teach Romeo and Juliet. As you will see from the Final Exam at the end, there are a lot more literary terms my students are expected to know, and more comprehension and reading skills they should have fostered, than are taught in this packet. This is a simple starter kit, with awesome lessons, like my Facebook Profiles for Character Analysis, which have been downloaded hundreds of times through teach4real.com. We have other goodies too, like Reading Logs and a Final Exam. We’ve thrown in a couple Lesson Plans that show how I approach the reading of Shakespeare, and how I get inner-city students into the acting portion of it, before we even start the book. This is by no means a complete Unit, just a foundation you can build on—especially if you, like me a few years ago, are a new teacher in need of Handouts, and Exams, and simply don’t have the time to make them yourself this year.
This Packet Includes:
-Student Bookmarks with Reading Schedule on it
-Matt’s FamousFacebook Profiles for Character Analysis (Newly Updated)
Matt Amaral is a writer and high school English teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area. He received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of California at Davis and an MFA in Creative Writing. Matt is a featured Blogger at EducationNews.org, a leading international website for Education, as well as a contributor to New America Media, the nation’s leading ethnic news organization. He is the former Editor-In-Chief of The Gnu Literary Journal. You can also read his work in recent issues of TeachHub, EmPower Magazine, The Dirty Napkin, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Eclectic Flash, Bird’s Eye ReView, TravelMag, Escape From America Magazine and InTravel Magazine. Matt is a fellow of AmeriCorps TEAMS (Teacher Education for the Advancement of a Multicultural Society), and teaches summer courses at UC Berkeley’s ATDP Program. He has taught all high school grade levels and abilities, and is known to dive into fights between students, even though his wife doesn’t want him to.
Go ahead and change the dates below to your schedule. This is a great way to keep the students accountable for reading even if they miss class. You will see the Reading Logs are all due the day after we finish the last Scene for that Act. Once you have changed the first Schedule, copy it into the other ones, make copies, and cut them out length-wise to handout as bookmarks. (You can even have them design the back with artwork)
three days ago
Reading Logs for Each Scene (Follow the Bookmark Schedule)
Romeo and Juliet Situations
For Inner-City Classes
This is one of the very first activities I do with my students. I get them into Acting Troupes (I usually have them name their troupe and design a crest), and assign each group one of the scenarios below. Very quickly, let me just say that our students are surrounded by gangs and violence, and by pretending it doesn’t exist, we as adults cannot validate the problems our students face. I have a lot more to say about this, so please read more at my blog at www.teach4real.com.
Two gang members are walking down the street, talking smack about a rival gang. They say what they would do to them if they saw their rivals. Just then two or three members of a rival gang appear. What happens next?
A young man’s girlfriend just dumped him and he feels horrible. He can’t stop thinking about her and is always whining about how much he misses her. His friends feel sorry for him but are also starting to get annoyed with his melancholy. What advice do they give him?
At a girl’s quinceanera, her parents keep introducing her to boys they think are appropriate for her daughter to date. She isn’t into any of them when all of a sudden a stranger appears who was not invited who she thinks is cute. What happens next?
A young couple is madly in love but the girl’s parents have arranged a marriage for her with a man she doesn’t love. The couple can’t imagine life without each other. What happens next?
A boy gets out of juvie, and during the ride home his friend tells him his girlfriend just died. His friend takes him to a church where her body lies. He finds her body on the altar and is distraught. What happens next?
Just a reminder:Romeo and Juliet is a VIOLENT play. Most of the main characters die, so if you have reservations about the above situations, you shouldn’t. The students can’t possibly act more violent than the Capulets and Montagues.
Lesson Plan: Reading Shakespeare with Participation This is how I read in my class, and I’ve attached some standards to get the administrators off your back. It’s a basic LP, you know, boring. But the Participation Sheet is a great idea, and I have attached one below the LP.
2.0 Reading Comprehension
Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organizational patterns, arguments, and positions advanced.
2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.
3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.
3.4 Determine characters' traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.
Students will be able to-
-Read aloud and understand a dramatic play by William Shakespeare
-Keep a journal of main events for each scene
-Participate verbally showing an understanding of the play
-Review previous scenes precluding the scene about to be read
-Ask for student volunteers who earn participation credit by participating by reading out of their journals or responding verbally.