Lisa P. McDonagh,Watertown Middle School, Watertown, Massachussets.
Romeo and Juliet 2.2
What’s On for Today and Why
This lesson plan is intended for a middle school group that will learn how Shakespeare uses figurative language and abstract comparison in the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. To this end, students will play figurative language charades with 10 lines from the scene. The goal is to make figurative language more accessible to students and to help them visualize and identify specific figures of speech.
This lesson will take one 50-minute class period.
What To Do
1. Break students up into groups of three.
2. Give each group a line of figurative language from the balcony scene, written on a 5x7 index card. These lines are provided in the handout below.
3. Each group has three minutes to plan how they will represent the ideas as charades for the rest of the class.
4. When the students are ready, have each small group act out its line, while the rest of the class guesses.
5. When the audience has finished guessing (successfully or not), ask a member of the group to write the line on the board.
6. Wrap up with a discussion on the power of the images in the balcony scene. Ask the students to identify specific examples of different figures of speech.
7. As an extension, ask the students to identify the speaker of each line, Romeo or Juliet. Then see if the students can successfully sequence the lines written on the board in the order in which they appear in the scene. It might be fun to do these extra activities before working on the balcony scene in class.
What You Need
Folger edition of Romeo and Juliet
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
10 5x7 index cards
Figurative language in the balcony scene
How Did It Go?
Did the students have fun both acting out and guessing the lines? Were they successful in identifying specific examples of figures of speech from the text? If you tried the extension activity, what did the students learn about how Shakespeare expresses personality with language? Were they able to sequence the lines as they appear in the scene?
If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.
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