Verbal Brawling: Oral Reading of Act I of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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SWBAT cite evidence from the text by answering text-dependent questions for Act I of Romeo and Juliet

Big Idea

Students "act out" today as we read Act I of Romeo and Juliet

Do Now

5 minutes

For the "Do Now" today, I will ask my students to take out their vocabulary grid to see if they can add examples from any the play that we have read so far. This vocabulary work will help students use vocabulary that is specific to academic discussions about literature (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6).

After 5 minutes, I will ask a few students to share which literary terms examples they have completed. I am having students do this now because I want them to get in the habit of going back to the grid to record examples that we will need in our discussions and mock trial when we complete the play.

Whole Class Oral Reading

40 minutes

Today we will read Act I of Romeo and Juliet as a class. Last class, students volunteered for different parts, and I will allow them to keep those roles for this class period as well. Surprisingly, students were bursting at the seams to read parts last class, so I am hoping that enthusiasm will continue.

For today's lesson, I am using a side by side version of the play, Shakespeare Made Easy: Romeo and Juliet edited by Alan Durband. I am using this version today because the language is less challenging than the original text but still challenging enough for my students. Using this version, we can focus more closely on the characters, plot, themes, etc. but I can also refer them back to the older version to experience more of Shakespeare's language at specific parts of the text.

As we are reading out loud, we will be pausing to complete portions of the Act I Study Guide. I chose this study guide because it will help students keep track of the development of the characters and action in the play (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3). It will also direct them to specific passages of the text for analysis. This clip explains how students get to experience Shakespearean language even though we are reading the modern version. 

Independent Reading

30 minutes

During this part of the lesson, I will ask students to finish Act I and complete the rest of the Act I study guide. I think a change of pace from oral reading is appropriate to break up the monotony of the lesson.  It is also important for students to be able to read texts with scaffolding (the study guide) on their own (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10).

Next class, we will have a quiz on Act I, so it is important that students complete the reading and study guide to be ready to ace it.

Closure: Impressions of Romeo

5 minutes

To close out the lesson today, I will ask students to jot down words that describe Romeo in Act I (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10). Students should be writing down words such as emotional or sensitive. I am having them write down these character traits because on the last major test on The Odyssey, they seemed to have difficulty identifying character traits. As students share their character traits, I will ask them to share how they determined these traits (character actions, thoughts, speech, direct comments, or other character's actions, thoughts, speech.)

I will also ask students who they think might be responsible for the upcoming death of Romeo and Juliet so far. I suspect they will say that Sampson or Gregory is to blame since they started the fight in the streets, but we'll see what happens.

Both of these questions provide an opportunity to think about how the characters and conflicts develop (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) over the course of the text.