Today, the kids and I focused on the relationships between Romeo and the Friar, and Juliet and the Nurse. After acting out 2.3 and viewing Zeffirelli’s interpretation of 2.4, we worked on looking at what the characters say in order to determine what it says about each pairs relationship.
I adapted a handout from Jim Burke’s What’s the Big Idea? for this activity (2.3-2.4 – Mentoring Relationship). Rather than having my students search for quotes as Burke does, I decided to provide quotes for them. My goal was to have them look at smaller chunks of text and be able to interpret and analyze them, and having the same quotes allowed me to pause along the way to discuss periodically with my students as a whole class. Burke has his students look just at 2.3. I added 2.4 (since we were reading them together), and had them examine three quotes from the Nurse. (I know that Juliet doesn’t appear in that scene, but I think there’s a lot we can gather about the Nurse and Juliet’s relationship based on what the Nurse says.)
In class, my students split back into their groups of three. I told them for now to focus on just the first page (Romeo and the Friar). They worked together as I hopped from group to group, listening, questioning, and redirecting. Once I saw that most kids had done the first quote on their own, we shared out as I typed and displayed these responses on our SMART Board. Then back to work in groups. Then sharing out as a class. And so on. We were able to get through all of Romeo and the Friar’s quotes in class today. (Groups could choose a different pace than this. I told my high achieving kids that it’s fine if you want to move on to the next page as a group. Just be sure to participate in the class discussions.)
My favorite moment? Three girls in a row–who never, ever, EVER raise their hands to volunteer responses–raised their hands and provided some fantastic responses. My excitement could not be contained, which made them smile.
For homework tonight, most of my kids will be finishing the second page (focusing on quotes from 2.4). Afterwards, they will pick one of the relationships (Romeo and the Friar or Juliet and the Nurse) and write a paragraph describing that relationship. They’ll use two of the quotes that they looked at as evidence, explaining what they mean and explaining what they show about the relationship they chose.