Romeo and Juliet Unit

This lesson plan was written for a class of eighth grade honors students at Murrays Bay Intermediate School in Auckland, New Zealand.

The following was posted for students in a Google Classroom page, and they directed themselves through each lesson.

Day 1

Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most famous play written by the English playwright, William Shakespeare; however, Shakespeare did not come up with the story himself! The play was written in the 16th century, but the story traces back all the way to the 3rd century.

While reading this play, which is written in an older style of English, it’s helpful to get into the same mindset of the theatergoers in Shakespeare’s day who would have already known what happened in the play.

In order to do this, please watch the attached video and read page VIX (Main Characters) OR read pages V-Xii (Introduction – Synopsis); and XXVIX (Shakespeare’s Verse)

While we are reading the play, you will be outlining an essay response so you are ready to write it. The following are the three choices of prompts

  • How does Romeo change throughout the play? What events are most significant in changing Romeo and why?
  • Identify three scenes in which the tragedy at the end of the play could have been prevented. What could have prevented the tragedy? Why did the characters make a different choice?
  • Identify three different examples of love in relation to Juliet. How do each of these examples of love lead to the outcome of the play?

Choose one of these prompts after the pre-reading video/reading selection, and write it at the top under “Topic.” You will be filling out the rest of the outline as you read, but to make sure you are on track, there will be checkpoints at the end of each act.

Once you have finished this, read to the end of Act I, and then return to Google Classroom for instructions for the next activity.

To help you in your reading, make sure to pay attention to the margin notes which clear up some of the more confusing parts of Shakespeare’s language.


Day 2 – 6

Act I

In order to orient yourself further to the play and check your comprehension of some of the elements that were discovered in Act I, choose one of the following activities.
Using the paper provided, draw what the staged performance would look like for one of the scenes in Act I. This should include the actors in costume, the setting, any props, etc.

Complete the “Tragedy Overview” worksheet that is provided for you. Instructions are on the page.

Complete the “New Words for the Old” worksheet that is provided for you. Instructions are on the page.

Act II

Romeo and Juliet is a character driven play, so it is important that we have a good picture of who each of the characters are. In order to check your understanding of the characters, complete one of the following activities:

Metaphor & Simile Drawings:
Using information from the play, draw a picture of what one of the characters looks like (or find a picture online!). Then, next to each physical feature (hair, eyes, skin, lips) and for their personality write a simile or a metaphor to describe them. There should be a total of 5 similes/metaphors on your document.
This can be completed on your device!

Watch this John Green video and answer the following questions:

  • Do you believe that fate is inescapable, or that people forge their own lives?
  • Is the fault in the stars, or in ourselves?
  • And will you prioritize your personal wishes, or the wishes of your family, or your religion, or your country?

Pictorial Representations:
Choose a character from the play and find quotes to show how the character’s personality comes through in each of the following ways:

  1.  What a character says
  2.  What a character thinks
  3.  What a character does (actions)
  4.  What a character looks like
  5.  What impact a character has on other characters

After you find quotes for the character, create a pictorial representation (an image) to symbolize each quote.

This should all come together to look something like this (but yours can and should look different!)



Romeo and Juliet is thought of as a timeless play, but if you don’t take the time to reflect on what has happened in the play an some of the themes, it can be hard to see it as such. Select one of the following activities to determine how Romeo and Juliet connects to your life today.

Self-Analysis (Pick 2 to answer)

  • Have you ever had an experience like Romeo’s or Juliet’s?
  • Have you ever been in love?
  • Do you think teenagers fall in love easily? Why or why not?
  • What might happen when teenagers fall in love?
  • How does tragedy affect people’s lives?
  • What are the problems with acting impulsively?

Who’s Guilty?
Choose one of the following to put on trial: Capulet and Montague, The Nurse, Friar Lawrence, Juliet, Tybalt, or Romeo.

  • Identify what this character is guilty of?
  • Find three pieces of evidence from the text which you can use to prosecute (charge) them.
  • Create a brief (one paragraph) opening statement which charges them with what they are guilty of.

Act IV


Romeo and Juliet has been adapted many times by a variety of filmmakers and authors to make the story “more relevant.” Now, it’s your turn. Address how the characters in Romeo and Juliet interact in modern day social networking mediums by completing one of the following:

  1. Headline News Story

Choose a modern-day event that mirrors an event that occurred in the text. Create a headline news Web page and two or three related links based on the event for a Web-based news site.

To get an idea of length, format, and the kinds of links typically included in such stories, visit news sites on the Web.

  1. Instant Messages or Text Messages

Rewrite a dialogue between two characters from the text in modern-day format as if it took place online through instant messages or on cell phones or another tool using text messages.

  1. Blogging

Rewrite a monologue from the text (e.g., the speech of one person) as a blog entry or a series of blog entries. Include appropriate links to other Web pages, and comments that other characters from the text might leave on the blog entries.

  1. Podcasting

Rewrite a monologue or dialogue from the text as a podcast (a self-published, syndicated “radio shows”). Record your project as an audio file or create the transcript of the show that you might post online with the audio file. Be sure to include details on background sounds and music if you write a transcript for your project.

  1. What if?

Find a scene in the text that you believe would have been radically different given the existence of a certain piece of advanced high-tech equipment. Name the item and describe how and why the scene would have been different, and how it would have affected the outcome of the play.

  1. Digital Artifacts

Imagine that you find portable disk next to the computer of one of the characters from the play. It might be a floppy disk, Zip disk, USB keychain disk, or another device. This storage disk contains personal documents—letters, “to do” lists, data, and poems written by the character for his or her eyes only. Decide on four or five documents, recreate them, invent file names for each, and create a (fake) printout of the disk directory. Put all these together in a packet about the character.

  1. Playlist

Choose one of the characters from the text and create a playlist that that character would have on his or her iPod or MP3 player. Invent the name for the playlist, and create a list of the names of the songs, artists, the albums the songs came from, and other relevant details in your word processor. Alternately, if you have the resources available, you can burn a CD of the character’s playlist and create a CD label with the appropriate details.

  1. Reality TV Show

Imagine that the characters from the text are part of a reality TV show. Rewrite a scene from the text as it would have been caught from the surveillance cameras of the show. Write a transcript of the scene (including details on background sounds, setting, and props).

  1. Technology Product Endorsement

Have a character in the text endorse a technology product—design a letter or short narrative where the character tells readers why they should purchase or support the product.

  1. Facebook

Rewrite a monologue from the text as a PowerPoint presentation. Imagine that the character is presenting the information to a modern audience using text, images, and other features available in PowerPoint (or another online presentation tool).Create the PowerPoint presentation that the character would use.

Act V

As the play wraps up, it’s time for some final reflections. Choose one of the following:

Many people complain that Romeo and Juliet did not have to die. Make an argument for why this is the best ending of the play or create a new ending for Romeo and Juliet and justify what makes the new ending better.

Love Maps explaining how Juliet relates to each of the characters and finding a quote to support that feeling.

A tragic hero is a protagonist, typically of noble birth, destined for doom. Romeo fits this description of a tragic hero. The following are Aristotle’s attributes of a tragic hero. Create a storyboard using this link – to show Romeo’s attributes as a tragic hero. (Example of a tragic hero storyboard)

  • Hamartia: The flaw that causes the hero’s downfall. Example: Romeo’s flaw is his impulsive nature. He quickly falls in love and gets in fights.
  • Hubris: Excessive Pride. Example: In his pride, Romeo forces Friar Lawrence to marry him and Juliet.
  • Peripeteia: Reversal of fortune. Example: Romeo kills Tybalt, and is banished from Verona.
  • Anagnorisis: When the hero makes a critical discovery. Example: “Romeo, I just heard that Juliet of Verona is dead!”
  • Nemesis: Fate that cannot be avoided. Example: The false poison that causes Juliet to appear dead, and the real poison that Romeo drinks to kill himself
  • Catharsis: The feeling of pity or fear the audience is left with after the hero’s fall. Example: The lovers’ deaths end the fighting. The families reconcile to the loss of those they love

Final Response

Write a two page response to one of the following bullet points:

  • How does Romeo change throughout the play? What events are most significant in changing Romeo and why?
  • Identify three scenes in which the tragedy at the end of the play could have been prevented. What could have prevented the tragedy? Why did the characters make a different choice?
  • Identify three different examples of love in relation to Juliet. How do each of these examples of love lead to the outcome of the play?


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