Mrs. Kunkle’s freshman English students immersed themselves in Shakespeare and his famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet. After receiving background information on William Shakespeare and Elizabethan theater, the students learned of the bloody ancient feud between the “two households both alike in dignity” – the Capulets and the Montagues.
To get them in the mindset for the insulting remarks thrown between the families, students created their own Shakespearean insults such as knavish fat-kidneyed dogfish, greasy sour-faced rabbit, and reeky onion-eyed younker. They had to then define the insults’ literal meanings.
Because the protagonists Romeo and Juliet meet at a masquerade party hosted by Juliet’s father, Lord Capulet, students created their own masks with a design that corresponds with a character trait they possess and explained how they fit their chosen trait. The traits included hardworking, carefree, girly, soft-hearted, and mysterious. For each class period, students voted on their fellow classmates’ masks, choosing which ones they deemed the most colorful, the funniest/wildest, and the most original.
Freshmen also composed narratives for their chosen character from Romeo and Juliet, in which their character presents his/her telling of the plot action in each of the five acts and provides thoughts and feelings and comments about the action.
These assignments provided the students with the opportunity to utilize and to further develop not only their knowledge, but also their creativity!