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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans
Romeo and Juliet: The Theme of Love in Literature and the Arts

Project URL:  http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/fklane/dpietraru/romeo.htm

See the video!

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.

Additional goals:

  • 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 also offered.

Standards Addressed:

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.

Computer Applications:

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 Students:

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.

Overall Value:

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.

EMail: dinu@teachersnetwork.org

Subject Area: ESL transitional

Beginning Grade Level: 10

Ending Grade Level: 12





























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