One of my go-to projects for my ninth graders with Romeo & Juliet is a movie based presentation. I assign the students roles as movie producers with the task of updating R&J for modern audiences while retaining much of the original’s spirit. Groups are assigned specific scenes from Acts 3, 4, and 5 of the play and asked to complete a variety of tasks (write a modern screenplay, cast the movie with explanations, create a soundtrack for the film) based around their assigned scene, and their vision in general.
By far, this is the most popular project I do over the course of the year. Seniors come back to visit me and opine that it’s the most fun they’ve had in English during their high school years… and they felt they learned a lot. I’m especially proud of this year’s batch of pitches and I’ll be sharing them out over the next few weeks.
This first one is one of the most complete versions of my assignment I’ve ever received. Besides an immediately understandable feud dynamic, every other aspect of their presentations was well thought out and fantastic.
This next one imagines Romeo & Juliet where all the principal cast members are overweight. While that could have come off as a cruel joke, the students involved did a fantastic job of leavening the humor with smart writing. Each of the two families owned an operated a Chicago based fast food restaurant.
I’ve been so heartened to see an uptick in same sex Romeo and Juliet pitches from my classes in recent years. I feel like a take on R&J like this would have been unheard of in my time as a high schooler but I usually get a few of these a year. It makes me happy that something like this is becoming second nature to young folks.
More to come over the next few weeks…