Today started with a guest speaker and ended with a film.
First, the guest speaker: During our first period block, our guest speaker from Panacea Services, Joaquin Fabela, came to talk to all of our students. He entered our classroom, which was filled to the brim with students, and captivated them from the very start. Many thanks to Mr. Fabela for providing a fantastic introduction to gangs and gang prevention, and for giving some awesome information that our students can use in their final products.
Next, the film: Since this is for most of my students their first attempt reading Shakespeare, I feel like my role as their teacher is to make this experience as pleasant and non-scary as possible. For that reason, I decided to show the film before even handing out the books. Today, in class, we watched Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), using this R+J Viewing Guide. My goal was that they would get the idea for the plot and be introduced to the characters. In addition, I wanted them to get a taste for Shakespeare’s language with the visual. To that end, I turned on the subtitles. (This ended up being one of the smartest things I’ve ever done as a teacher.)
It took them a little bit to get into the language, but there did come a point where they started to ask less questions and just start to understand what was going on (and laugh Mercutio’s dirty jokes on their own).
We’ll be finishing the film on Monday, and then move on to some Shakespearean insults and a discussion about relationships.