Friday, March 28, 2014

28/31 You Only Understand if You Teach Freshmen

We have been reading Romeo and Juliet in English 9.  It can be a tough sell.  The girls think they will like it because it's a love story. The boys think they will hate it because it's a love story.  As John Green says in his Crash Course, " off screen sex scene and seven on screen fatalities." Watch the first twenty seconds for this quote. But the rest is quite awesome....

I've talked about the Baz Luhrman version, but we haven't watched any of it. The kids don't really want to. I try not to be biased and there are a lot of things I really like about that version. My kids just can't imagine Romeo and Juliet  with guns and cars. They do like the Zeferelli version.

So here's how it goes. We read out loud. They take turns, reading whatever part they want.I have one boy who loves the Nurse. He's a funny kid, and he does a great job.  Sometimes we get up and act it out. They all love to sword fight! We talk about what happening, examine character motivation, plot devices, figurative language, etc.

And then we watch the movie portion of whatever act we are reading.

This week was Act 3.

It starts with a fight scene. But after that, is the "honeymoon scene".

And that's the part of the movie that always gets the biggest reaction--sometimes from me.  I love to sit back and watch how they deal with it, even when they know it's coming.

Today's groups were no different. They giggled. They closed their eyes. They commented about what was going on onscreen. And they giggled some more.

One girl took a picture on her phone of what was onscreen.


And you only understand this if you teach Freshman English....


  1. I love the embedded video. It's a great set-up for this. Oh man, that scene! I bet it's quite hard not to laugh at them during "that scene"!

  2. So funny! Do you go into this class already laughing?

  3. So fantastic!! I would have a hard time not laughing as they are giggling.

  4. Yes, there's a teen nipple in this scene, isn't there? I prefer Zeferelli too, but I am in the minority at my school.

  5. My grade 9s are reading Act 3 of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The one with the "a--" We are giggling our way through Shakespeare too!

  6. I know what scene you're talking about just because I SAW the film in freshman English back in 1984! As I recall, we had to get parental permission, and we girls were pretty tickled that it was a male backside being flashed for once.