Romeo and Juliet with Emoticons

OK, the inspiration for this post can be found here, but I loved the idea so much that I wanted to try it with a work of literature I know well.

Act I, Scene 1

[Enter Sampson and Gregory]

Sampson: 

Gregory:

[Enter Abram]

Sampson:

Abram:

[Enter Benvolio]

Benvolio:

[Enter Tybalt]

Tybalt:

Citizens of Verona:

[Enter Montague and Capulet and their Ladies]

Capulet:

Montague:

Lady Montague:

[Enter Prince]

Prince:

Lady Montague:

Montague:

[Enter Romeo]

Benvolio:

Romeo:

Benvolio:

Romeo:

Benvolio:

Act I, Scene 2

[Enter Paris and Capulet]

Paris:

Capulet:

Paris:

[Elsewhere]

Romeo:

Benvolio:

Servant:

Benvolio:

Romeo:

Act I, Scene 3

[Enter Lady Capulet, Juliet, and Nurse]

Lady Capulet:

Nurse:

Juliet:

Nurse:

Juliet:

Lady Capulet:

Nurse:

Lady Capulet:

Juliet:

Nurse:

Lady Capulet:

Juliet:

Act I, Scene 4

[Enter Mercutio, Benvolio, Romeo, and torchbearers]

Romeo:

Mercutio:

Benvolio:

Romeo:

Act I, Scene 5

[Enter almost everyone. It’s a party! Woo!]

Capulet:

Romeo:

Tybalt:

Capulet:

Tybalt:

Romeo:

Juliet:

Nurse:

Romeo:

Nurse:

Romeo:

Capulet:

Romeo:

Juliet:

Nurse:

Juliet:

Stay tuned for Act II…

By the way, this exercise reminds of something Jim Burke said recently about teacher brains. Wouldn’t this be a great activity for students in order to summarize information? It’s time consuming, but I think I might try it. I can already hear them asking me how many emoticons they’ll need to use. Chorus with me: “As many as it takes.” Sheesh.

Related posts:

Frankenstein

One thing I share with my department chair is a geeky love of planning assignments. I should probably have been grading papers today, but instead I finished my Frankenstein unit and created a performance task based on an out-of-date (and apparently no longer used/updated) WebQuest. I did think the ideas were sound, but I also thought that some of the websites in the WebQuest were somewhat biased, and I wanted to present a bit more of a neutral view. I think it’s a solid assignment, however, and I just wanted to tweak it.

You can view my UbD unit for Frankenstein here. The WebQuest, with some major overhaul, is located here.

Update, 12/29/09: I have created a Google Earth tour based on the travels of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein that you can download. I am submitting it to Google Lit. Trips and will let you know if they decide to publish it as well.

Related posts:

UbD Educators Wiki

I recently posed a question for discussion on the UbD Educators wiki. At this point, the wiki has over 100 members, and one would think it would be more active, but to get down to brass tacks, I’m the most active member of the wiki. The wiki is not closed to lurkers, so if all you wanted to do was get ideas for teaching, you wouldn’t need to join. Lurkers cannot edit pages or join discussions, however. I am interested to know what can be done to make the wiki more of a true repository of UbD units and discussion. I use the wiki when I am planning a new major unit, and I have found the two templates, the UbD Filter and the UbD Unit, to be helpful when planning units. The feedback at the start was very good, but member involvement has declined somewhat.

I spent some time today tagging pages in the hopes that the information might be easier to find. As always, I encourage members to join up and contribute. We have no math, science, fine arts, foreign language, physical education, or special education units, and we have only one (one!!!) technology education unit and one social studies unit. I suspect a lot of members teach these subjects, and often when people join up, they tell me they are doing so because their school or district is encouraging or requiring UbD; therefore, we ought to have more units in those areas, I should think.

UbD is something I strongly believe in. I have seen it bring more transfer, coherence, and, well, understanding to my own teaching. Planning using UbD guidelines makes me think about all aspects of what I teach and helps me plan more authentic lessons. One compliment I received from a student is that I always “try to make [learning] relevant to our lives.” Creating more authentic audiences for writing tasks has been a goal of mine this year, too, and planning using UbD has helped. I truly feel that this wiki could be an excellent tool, but I admit that right now I feel a bit like I’m in an echo chamber over there.

Related posts:

Image Grammar

I have been on the lookout for books, websites, and other materials to help me teach grammar. If you have some good ideas for resources, please leave them in the comments.

A couple of things I have been trying with my students seem to be working fairly well. I used the Sentence Opening Strategy activity shared by Carol Sanders on the EC Ning to teach sentence variety. My students were fairly reflective about their writing in this activity. I also pulled out my copy of Spelling and Grammar: The Daily Spark, along with Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Devotional and have been posting grammar and writing puzzles on the SMARTBoard as a sort of journaling/opening activity while I take attendance and do other housekeeping. The students really like the grammar puzzles, and I found it sort of flexes their brains for writing.

Still, teaching grammar, and what I mean by that is correctness and variety (because everyone seems to disagree about what grammar is), is just hard. I want my students to be more fluent and fluid writers, and I want them to communicate clearly. Based on this goal, it would seem Harry Noden’s Image Grammar is an excellent choice.

I’ve read one chapter, and I like the way Noden organizes different writing techniques, such as using participles, as “brush strokes.” The accompanying CD has some good material, but in my opinion, the CD should probably be updated. The material on the CD is organized into HTML files, and they look a little archaic (think Geocities or Angelfire), but the material is solid. Noden also references a website that is no longer working—ah the joys of the Internet—as a source of images for writing prompts, but the Web does not lack examples of image sites that can be used to spark writing.

What I like best about the book so far is that Noden shows how to teach grammatical structures in a way that students will see their relevance to their own writing. I have had students who knew a great deal about grammatical structures out of context but could not apply these structures to make their own writing better. I have had students tell me that I taught them how to write well, but it’s an area in which I would like to improve.

Related posts:

Next Semester

It looks like I will be teaching five classes next semester. Five different preps. Now, two are British Literature, and two are ninth grade, but the courses are at two different levels, so though the preps are similar, they’re not the same. I’m not going to complain except to wonder aloud how I will manage with a difficult grad school course on the horizon (to be honest, I’m not sure my second grad school course is difficult or not: could be). I am lucky in that I’ve taught all the courses before. I already reflect here too little because of all the constraints on my time, and it bothers me. I don’t post. I don’t have any time to do everything I need to do, and I stay busy. Wish me luck.

Related posts: