Wednesday, 29 February 2012

"The Mushroom is Bathazar!"

Yesterday we finished watching Gnomeo & Juliet and it was very interesting to hear student observations about this movie after having studied Romeo & Juliet and watched the 1996 film version of Romeo + Juliet.

Students made all kinds of fabulous comparisons! Some were obvious...the rival families are now red and blue garden gnomes, Tybalt is still an angry and vengeful Tybalt, 'Benny' is Benvolio, the street brawl scene is now a lawn mower race, the  ending is happier and no one dies!...

And then there were the subtler observations:

The frog is like the Nurse...
Instead of swords or guns they fight with lawn mowers...
The flamengo is like Friar Lawrence...
The cutting of the flower is like Mercutio being stabbed...
The mushroom is Bathazar, Romeo's loyal friend....

And many more...

Students were very observant and detailed in making comparisons between the two. Almost every scene brought a round of 'what does this represent', 'what part of the play is this', 'who is missing' and 'who is this character supposed to be?'. Great!

Afterwards, we read a movie review, discussing (and justifying) our own opinion of the movie in comparison to what this reviewer said. Students were (and are) encouraged to provide *very specific* details to support their reasoning, referencing examples/evidence from the film/play.

Students will soon be writing their own movie reviews, choosing either this one or the 1996 film starring Leonardo Di Caprio.

I look forward to reading these!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Back on Track!

Whew! Am I glad to be back! For those that don't know, I was ill for an entire week with a terrible stomach virus. Not only was this very unpleasant for me personally, but it delayed some of the Romeo & Juliet activities I wanted to get to!

My goal is still to have two assignments completed before March Break:

1. writing assignment (a movie review (click to download or view), that includes a comparison between the play and either Romeo + Juliet (1996),  Gnomio & Juliet, or West Side Story) GOOD COPY DUE WEDS MARCH 7th

2. a drama/art project which involves students demonstrating an understanding of the play (character, plot) through a project of their choice (such as creating a picture book, comic book, flipbook, dramatic interpretation, commercial, soundtrack, rap song...etc) (click here to download or view assignment options document) *please note, a project checklist will be provided to students in class  DUE MONDAY MARCH 5th for presentation

These are still on the agenda! But to make that happen, I have had to 'speed up' our approach to the play. This means we will not be able to do all the Character related Facebook entries I had hoped to do, or the closer words-in-context studies using Shakespeare in Bits. :(

Right now, we are focusing on completing our understanding of the play, by filling out our R&J question booklet (click to download or view). Next, we will be watching the various movies and looking at a variety of movie reviews (written by actual 'real life' reviewers) as preparation for writing our own reviews. Students should be choosing their drama/art project by this coming Monday! (and we'll be taking a look at some projects created at other schools or by other people, as evidenced on youtube...these are in the links sections in the sidebar!).

That should, hopefully, get us back on track!

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Romeo & Juliet Jeopardy Game!

We are now nearing the end of Act 1 in our study of Romeo & Juliet, reaching the point where Romeo & Juliet meet! To celebrate, I created a Jeopardy game (using this great site which we played in class today using the Smartboard. Students were divided into teams, and took turns choosing Jeopardy questions to win points. It was quite clear from this game that students really understand the play so far!

The categories were: Characters, Settings, Motivations, The Movie Version I, The Movie Version II.

As we read the play, we have been watching the 1996 Romeo + Juliet movie which is a modern adaptation using original Shakespearean language. It has been very interesting to see the differences between the original play and the movie, and to see how the director of that film has chosen to represent characters, setting, etc. The film is highly visual, and filled with symbolism. It is almost a 'visual poem' in and of itself.  Even the signs in the backgrounds have meaning, as explained in this blog post and this one.

We have also been discussing such deep matters as: innocence vs. corruption, isolation,  relationships within families, hatred and prejudice.  The play touches on these themes, and more. As does the film.

We will continue, getting into Act 2 next week!

Here is the link to the Jeopardy game.