Friday, February 11, 2011

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is one of those required texts that 9th graders at my school must read. I was admittedly nervous about teaching it last year and was pleasantly surprised by how well it went. Once students were able to get past the language, they really enjoyed the story.

Probably the smartest move I made (and repeated) was to show video clips from both the 1968 and 1996 versions of the play. And just out of curiosity I always ask which version they like better, last year it was about 60/40 old version. It's one of the essays they can write about on the test (Acts I & II). This year I was shocked that the old version won by about 85%/15%. I thought that the older version might be more popular but I was not expecting it to be this big a difference.

Another cool thing that happened this year was when one of my students connected the crow in Act I to Romeo and Juliet dying. I'll be honest, I never made that connection. Not that I never talked about it, I mean I literally NEVER made the connection between the use of the crow and the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, and I've read and watched the play several times. The best part is that while this student is one of my favorites due to her wonderful work ethic and smile, English is not her strong point. I was so excited I gave the essay to her TOR (teacher of record) so she could see it as well. And one of my students who is reading about the 6th grade level only missed one question on the scantron half of the test.

These are the days that make teaching the greatest job in the world. The fact that only one student failed the test out of the three classes who took it doesn't hurt either.