Romeo and Juliet-a year 9 unit

The Bard himself

PBL Romeo and Juliet unit

Let me just begin by saying that designing this unit has made me realise just how much i LOVE Shakespeare. There was so much I wanted to kids to know about the play, the guy and his world that I really struggled to design a 5 week unit!

The unit is based around a focus question: Why is Shakespeare still so popular? And has 3 products (Venn diagram, Theatre program, performance) students are required to produce to demonstrate their answer to this question. The final product is a performance to a live audience of their chosen Act/Scene-if you know anyone interested in being part of this live audience, PLEASE LET ME KNOW (twitter handle: @LaurenForner).

I introduced the unit using a PPT which ran to the song ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (The Killers cover), which the kids loved:

Romeo and Juliet Unit Introductory PPT

One quote was ‘Wow Miss, that must have taken you all holidays to put together!’. Haha-holidays well spent then!

The unit content is distributed to the students via edmodo (what they aren’t researching themselves!)-my yr 9 class don’t even have workbooks for English, so this is the best and easiest way to ensure all students have access to all info at all times.

I have also uploaded the “information package” I distributed to them which has information about the outcomes addressed in the unit and what is expected of them:

Information Package Romeo and Juliet

 Students were required to choose 2 outcomes and 5 habits of mind to work on in their groups, and they used a template – Start of Unit Planning Template – to plan HOW they would work on and achieve these outcomes.  This was completely new for these kids-they had never chosen their own outcomes, and considering their lack of experience in this area they took to it like a duck to water. My aim was to get students to really OWN the syllabus-it does determine their learning, after all!

Many of the “activities” in the unit are set for homework. This is because class time is dedicated to performing and understanding the play, and later class time will be used for students to collaborate on their performance and products. However, the activities are necessary as I need a method for assessing students individually in the unit as well as in their groups via the group product. I have uploaded (and will continue to) several of the activities I have set for them, including a “write your own sonnet’ activity which aims to tackle some of the language analysis:

Sing a Sonnet

Please note that I haven’t done “worksheets” with language and dramatic features etc. Students are creating these themselves in an effort to shift to student-created resources. Much of this information comes from our “campfire” (see bhewes’ blog) discussions about the play when we are acting it out in class. Yes, NOTE that we are acting it out, not just reading it! We have a new ampitheatre at our school, and the kids are really loving acting out the scenes in what feels like such a public arena.

Here is the link to the information package I developed for the class to help them tackle their final products: a threatre programme and a live performance of an Act.

Performance and Theatre Programme Information Package

So far there have been groans every time a lesson ends-fingers crossed this continues! Stay tuned for reflection upon how the unit is going and resources as the students and I continue to produce them!


Students have all but completed the play itself and tomorrow we move onto their preparation of the staging of their allocated Act. They have been assigned small groups on edmodo, and will use the information package posted above to complete their products. Their performance audience will be a mix of their peers, parents, grandparents etc., and I hope to get a theatre “expert” or two to also join us.

The Globe Theatre

The Globe-the home of Shakespeare


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  1. * bhewes says:

    This is a nice account of your approach but does NOTHING to replicate the joyous experience of watching your students engage with R&J – they are SO engaged! Loving your approach – thanks for teaching me new tricks every day!!
    B 🙂

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 11 months ago
  2. nice work – sounds cool

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 11 months ago

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