First Day - Romeo and Juliet

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by engl78, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. engl78

    engl78 Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2009

    Hey English teachers....Any cool, interesting ideas on how to introduce Romeo and Juliet? I'm doing a research project on Shakespeare, but I wanted to also incorporate a fun, first-day lesson to peak their interests in this wonderful play.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. ILoveGrammar

    ILoveGrammar Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2009

    no time to find the site, but the BBC has a cool one-minute Romeo and Juliet. It is a tabloid style front page news item. Really piqued my kids' interest to think of the play as the true front page it is.
    I also showed them the movie trailers for it. Was a fun way to introduce the play.
     
  4. dtrim

    dtrim Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2009

    I really love the way Shakespeare Set Free does the first day - with a choral reading of the opening sonnet. Students learn the rhythms of Shakespeare's writing and they construct meaning - all organically. If you don't have a copy, buy one and sleep with it under your pillow. It's fantastic.
     
  5. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 26, 2009

    I concur on SSF. Also look at Shakespearehigh.com and folger.edu - both sites have lots of resources.
     
  6. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2009

    One of my opening activities is that we go to the stage. We learn basic stage directions, a quick tour of a stage (of course it was different at the Globe!), and play some theatre games. I then recite the Prologue and pass out the prologue to the students. We go through and discuss words and meaning of the prologue (it generally is more of a lecture).

    We then read through it together--I read half a line, and then read that half-line again and they read it with me. Second half of first line, and they repeat it with me. And so on. Then we read by line--boys one line, girls the next, or some other arbitrary pairing. By the end, I have them moving around reading it. Even my readers who struggle the most (and this is with learning support classes) chime in by the end. It's kind of fun.

    We end the class by constructing Shakespearean insults (I have a handout with three columns, and one word from each column will yield an insult). Previously, we would have spent a class making character name tags (color-coded by House or allegiance to pass around as we'd read), and so at this point I devide the class into two groups. We line up the Montague name tags in front of one group, and the Capulets in front of the others. Then, the students hurl insults at the characters (not each other!). Example: "Tybalt, thou knotty-pated fool!" We get a fun introduction to the language and a reinforcement of character names.

    Also, since this is my students' first foray into Shakespeare, Class #1 is characters (described above), Class #2 is plot (I have cards color-coded for each Act, and students have to use transition words on the cards "First," "Next, "After [whatever]" to guess the order; we go over as a class, and by the time we're done, we know the basic plot), and Class #3 is the stage.

    I have also used the MyShakespeare DVD, where a West End production of R&J is put on by people who have never done theatre. It shows the audition and rehearsal process, and the working of key scenes, as well as sharing the lives of the people (Mercutio is a refugee from Rwanda, Romeo has been stabbed in a knife fight before, etc.). By the end, the cast cannot say enough about how amazing the experience has been. It shows us we can all "do" Shakespeare.
     
  7. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    Jan 28, 2009

    First things..

    I have a powerpoint I built for Henry VIII. I think kids HAVE to have some understanding of Elizabeth to understand what audience Shakespeare was writing for..

    Then we explore the Globe theater- my kids are assigned to build a 3 dimensional model of it from materials around the house- toilet paper holders, paper, legos, whatever..
     

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