This lesson is a fun way for students to identify the different conflicts that characters face, while considering the role that characterization plays in the cultivation of these conflicts.
The activity requires them to first identify conflicts (finding text references to support their choices) and then develop advice letters to Dear Mabby (named for Queen Mab in Romeo and Juliet) from the perspectives of three different characters.
We start the lesson by reviewing the example that I created on the graphic organizer, as if I were writing a letter as Benvolio from Romeo and Juliet. Providing this "jumping off" point was a good idea, because the students seemed to get the concept right from the beginning.
I designed this graphic organizer so that students could connect conflicts and their text support before moving on to writing the letters. Though they don't use the text support in the letters, identifying it forces the kids to be much more specific, which makes their writing much better.
Students had no trouble completing the graphic organizer, mostly because of the example provided and the fact that they could choose their characters.
After they completed their graphic organizers, the students spent time drafting their letters. This took less time and was more creative than the graphic organizer, but the students seemed to rely on their chart, so they put the pre-writing work to use.
Finally, before the end of class, I asked for volunteers to share a favorite letter. Many, many students chose Malvolio -- probably because he is the most ridiculous character, and his own story involves a letter.