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Because I was head of the English department, new teachers often asked me how to teach Shakespeare. I always made up some story about going through my files and looking for my Shakespeare lesson plan. After about three weeks, the aforementioned new teacher would email me to remind me about our previous "how to teach Shakespeare" conversation.
I would inevitably type in "Romeo and Juliet lesson plans" into a search engine and inevitably come across lesson plans like this. Those never worked, but this one will. I stole it from a colleague who has given me permission to give you permission to steal it from me. It has become one of the greatest Romeo and Juliet lesson plans of all time.
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- Give each student a shield template.
- Assign each student to create a family shield: put a picture of themselves in the upper left corner; a quote that represents them in the upper right corner; five things they enjoy in the bottom left corner; and a 'c' or an 'm' in the bottom right hand corner for Capulet or Montague.
- Each family chooses colors. The upper right and lower left corner are one color; the upper left and lower right are another color.
- Encourage students in opposing families to engage in sword fights if they meet in the school cafeteria, courtyard, or gymnasium; don't actually put this in your Romeo and Juliet lesson plans book (see two bullets down for details).
- Tell them you're kidding (optional).
- Deny encouraging sword fights if questioned by administration or law enforcement officials just in case a bloddy massacre ensues.
- Hang Capulet family shields on one bulletin board.
- Hang Montague family shields on another bulletin board.
- Hang igloos, pictures of deserts, barren landscapes, pictures of Reno, NV., or other undesirable locales on the ugliest wall in your room. This is the banished area.
- Students turning in the assignment late are banished immediately.
- Once a family accumulates -5 points, a family member is banished. Negative points accumulate as a result of missed assignments, poor grades, bad behavior, or any other arbitrary thing that bugs you.
- Once a family accumulates +5 points, a banished member is brought back. Positive points accumulate as a result of high test scores, general helpfulness, or good behavior.
- Families can either vote on who to banish or family members can volunteer to be banished or you can choose who is banished. As far as the contest is concerned, banished members still contribute positive and negative points to the team and suffer no individual negative grade consequences.
- At the end of the play, the team with the least amount of family members banished gets a reward. In my class, the winning team does not have to take the unit test. Other options include extra credit, pizza, or homework excuse passes.
- Incorporate point accumulation into fun lesson plans for reading and language arts as the paragraph challenge or context clues challenge.
- Author's Experience