Because so many students may groan at the mere mention of Shakespeare, Mr. Ed Sul finds it both personally and professionally gratifying when he is able to turn that response around. Introducing and even falling in love with the richness of Shakespeare is what this unit is all about. It helps that Romeo and Juliet mirror so much of the teenage drama students may be familiar with.
Students are pushed to understand perspective, dramatic irony, pacing, tone, and body language to communicate their character analysis on the class’ small stage. And through this process, they get a glimpse of why and how Shakespeare's plays are still studied and celebrated today. It is Mr. Sul’s hope that when they have their next opportunity to read Macbeth, Hamlet, or Othello in high school, they'll approach it with more excitement than dread.
After participating in this unit, some grade 8 students shared their reflections on their experience and what they have learned:
“The most important thing I learned is that I can be confident. We need to perform in front of people and let them look at us. That was a huge challenge for me so I think I've tried my best. I tried to stay calm and focus on what needs to be done. In some ways, I felt that I was very confident at that time.” Minh T., 8A
“I liked that we got to act out our scenes to everyone because it was really fun to see others and myself perform.” Tasia H., 8B
“The most important thing I learned during this unit is how to communicate with the audience. I think I learned how to deliver/show my two different interpretations, and communicate clearly.” Catherine L., 8B