You could spend an entire semester examining cause and effect in Romeo & Juliet, but your students would get bored. Instead, try this cause and effect lesson plan that involves writing a cause and effect paper using incidents from the play as evidence.
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Cause and Effect in the Classroom
Things were going well until Paula Wetsock in the second row asked, "Mr. Leaveteaching, I understand you worked very hard on teaching cause and effect in Romeo & Juliet and that you probably spent hours on this cause and effect lesson plan, but it's really boring. I'm sure your principal could come up with a better cause and effect lesson plan. Maybe you could have us write a cause and effect paper analyzing cause and effect in Romeo & Juliet, for example."
"So you think that idiot principal of mine, could create a better cause and effect lesson plan and teach cause and effect in Romeo & Juliet better than me," I responded before noticing my principal was standing right behind me.
He handed me two papers: the first one said cause: you calling me an idiot; effect: you getting fired; the second one was a writing a cause and effect paper lesson plan that I'm going to share with you.
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Determining cause and effect in Romeo and Juliet can be done with any of the following assignments. The procedures for writing a cause and effect paper on the teens' death will be provided. Click on the links for a more detailed explanation of other ideas.
Write an official report of the events leading up to Romeo and Juliet's death. The purpose is to help Prince Escalus and other dignitaries of Verona make sense of the double suicide.
Prewriting - Summarize the plot. This can be done as a class, in small groups, or individually. Make sure students list the chain of events leading to the deaths.
Prewriting - Identify cause and effect. Once the events are listed, determine which events caused which events.
Drafting - Make sure you target your audience--in this case Prince Escalus, a man who could banish you, imprison you, or have you killed on a whim. Your tone should be respectful.
Drafting - Focus on the facts. Leave out emotion. This is an official report. Only note what you observed or read.
Revising - Look at your transitions. Transition words that signal cause and effect (consequently, therefore, hence) should be present.
Revising - Have a partner read your report. Make sure you've included all major events. Be sure the report is clear and would make sense to someone not familiar with the facts (perhaps you could find someone under a rock not familiar with the play to help you revise). Make sure you reveal what you believe to be the underlying cause of the outcome. Check your tone; you're talking to a prince.