Romeo and Juliet: The Theme of
Love in Literature and the Arts
Project URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/fklane/dpietraru/romeo.htm
Purpose of the Project:
Students do not read and write enough in their English classes because
they do not relate to the materials and curricula presented. Literature is
usually taught from an exterior and moralistic perspective. This program
will present literature and the arts as students want it: as a vehicle for
expression and cultural liberation.
The program will ask for students' active participation in the design
and implementation of the unit. Lessons will be based on the collective
consciousness of the classroom: activities, such as reading poetry,
writing essays or viewing movies, will be based on student selection.
- to instill appreciation for literary and artistic masterpieces,
arousing the imagination and creativity of the young reader.
- to encourage students’ creation of literature and arts, such as
short stories, poems, theatrical fragments, and artwork.
- to integrate the presentation of literature and arts with the study
of cultures and societies, within the understanding that tolerance and
multiculturalism are the spirit of true art.
- to teach the New York State English Regents’ tasks using
literature and the arts.
How It Works:
This unit begins with a discussion about love, and progresses through
readings from Plato (Symposium), Shakespeare (Sonnets), Dickinson, F. G.
Lorca, and others. Lessons are complemented with music, video, and
Internet resources, culminating in the writing of a play based on Romeo
and Juliet but set in modern times. Sample Regents activities are
New York English Language Arts 9-12
Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
Standard 2: Language for literary response and expression.
Standard 3: Language for critical analysis and evaluation.
Standard 4: Language for social interaction.
Office 97, Netscape Composer for word processing, creation of
presentations using different software, internet research on a given
topic, creation of simple personal web pages on the topic.
The targeted student population is ESL transitional, 9-12, having at
least 2 years of English schooling. Most of the students and juniors and
seniors, who will have to take the English Regents exam soon.
The unit is trying to discover the artistic and literary talents and
capabilities of every student. The culminating motivation for
participating in this learning act will be publishing on the internet. By
reading and writing about things they relate and produce, students will be
better equipped to understand and use literature and the arts as a way to
make sense and to adapt to the environment. They will also be better
prepared to take and pass the state exams in English.
Use this unit as a draft. Assess the needs and talents of your students
and include them in your literature-based unit. Do not forget that
literature and the arts should be instruments for understanding and
changing the world by making yourself relevant.
About the Teacher
Dinu Pietraru has been a NYC public school teacher since 1988.
He has taught English and ESL at junior high school and high school level.
He is presently working as a teacher and ESL coordinator in a high school
in Queens, Franklin K. Lane High School.
Subject Area: ESL transitional
Beginning Grade Level: 10
Ending Grade Level: 12