Enhanced English Teacher

A blog about using technology in an English classroom

Entries Tagged as 'Romeo and Juliet'

Playing with Plays presents Romeo and Juliet

November 11, 2009 by Tara Seale · 1 Comment · 21st Century Literacy, English Resources, Romeo and Juliet, Videos and iPods

I recently read Playing with Plays: Romeo and Juliet for Kids.  As a 9th grade English teacher, this little book will definitely become a gem in my collection of engaging resources.  First of all, the book is broken down into three mini-plays based on available actors: 6-11 actors, 9-13 actors, and 14-18 actors.  Group sizes help teachers to sort students for each mini-play.

In the forward, Brendan Kelso discusses the important scenes of Shakespeare that have remained with him since high school.  These are the scenes that are alluded to and remembered, such as, “Romeo, Romeo; wherefore art thou Romeo?”  The most important element of this book is that all of the famous lines that teachers want students to remember are there, but the lines are connected with language that students understand.

The plays can be acted out in 10 minutes or less which is perfect for a flip video rendition of  Romeo and Juliet.  I plan to use this fabulous book to group my students and create flip video versions to post to our student blog pages.  Not only will students be able to recite some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines, but they will also be able to connect with the characters in the play to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of Romeo and Juliet.

Thank you Brendan Kelso and Playing with Plays for your excellent, engaging, and short enough to be able to use in class, melodramatic plays.

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How to Introduce Nings in the classroom

October 7, 2009 by Tara Seale · 4 Comments · 21st Century Literacy, English Resources, Nings, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Web 2.0

I was recently interviewed by Tim Walker for an article in the NEA Today titled, “Students live in a Digital World.  Are schools ready to join them?”  I have had several requests asking me to share how I introduce Nings in my classroom.

Creating a Romeo and Juliet Ning with Students

Last school year, I used two different nings in my 9th grade English class.  I created the first ning to engage students as they read Romeo and Juliet, and then I created another ning to accompany the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  Before we began reading Romeo and Juliet, I discussed how a ning has a format similar to Facebook and told students that they would join the ning in character.  I then modeled what I expected by joining the ning in character as The Bard.  I wrote my responses to the profile questions as if I were Shakespeare joining the ning.  I told my students that they would answer the same profile questions but from the perspective of their character (we drew names).  I divided up the characters in Romeo and Juliet and then added a few extra main characters to cover all of the students in my class, so we had a Romeo 1, 2, and 3, for example.  I gave my students a planning sheet to fill out as we began to read the play.  Students connected with their character so much that my plan to listen to the play on CD went astray.  Students wanted to read the parts of their character.  I believe showing the students the ning before we began reading the play and modeling how to create The Bard profile page enticed students and inspired them to create worthy ning profile pages; I know it definitely kindled their interest in reading the play.  Although we were almost finished with the play when we actually created the ning profile pages, we continued to post on the ning as we went back and closely read certain acts, and this greatly added to their overall understanding of the tragedy.

Creating a To Kill a Mockingbird Ning with Students

I decided to introduce the To Kill a Mockingbird Ning before we began reading the novel.  I set up this ning differently by focusing on connecting outside literature, text, and videos to the novel.  I used the event tab to write up assignments and due dates for posting to the ning.  Students’ posts reflected their understanding of the universal themes presented in To Kill a Mockingbird and how those themes were connected to the other media introduced in class.  Although this ning was introduced differently, it also engaged students because the ning guided their reading and provided a way for the students to digitally respond to the novel’s themes and further the discussions started in class.

Creating a ning for the entire 9th grade class

Ambitiously, our high school created an entire 9th grade class ning for this school year.  Our lead 9th grade Keystone teacher, Tim Hall, wanted to add a technology element to Keystone that included all 9th grade students and teachers, so we created a Class of 2013 Ning.  We are using the ning to connect 9th grade students with each other and their teachers as they transition to high school.  This is our first year to use a ning with an entire class, and so far, in addition to using the ning as a communication tool, it is also allowing us to open discussions about posting responsibly on the web, introducing effective online discussions, and creating a positive web presence.

Where to start?

To create a ning, I first watched Steve Hargadon’s recorded webinar on Building a Ning from Scratch.  Follow the link to the Ning in Education webpage and look under Highlighted Resources in the lower left corner.  The Ning in Education is also a great community to join if you are looking for more resources and information about how to use a ning with students.  I also belong to several other educator nings.  If you are an English teacher, I recommend that you check out the English Companion Ning if you want to connect with other English teachers.

Other ning examples in the English Classroom

I would also like to recommend that you check out these nings: James Miscavish’s classroom ning: LHS Freshman English and Candace Follis’s blog page that has links to her classroom nings.

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Reflections Regarding Student Writing

May 13, 2009 by Tara Seale · 1 Comment · English Resources, Mythology, Poetry, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, writing

My district asked that all English teachers turn in writing samples and the prompts that we used in our classrooms.  I decided to create a portfolio binder and write a reflection of how the year went.

I teach regular 9th grade English students.  If you are interested in reading my reflections, click this link:


At the end of my reflection, I listed my classroom websites.  Most of the prompts I discussed and the student writing samples can be found online at those websites.

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Nings Again

March 31, 2009 by Tara Seale · 3 Comments · 21st Century Literacy, English Resources, Nings, Romeo and Juliet, Web 2.0

My students just finished their last posts to our Romeo and Juliet Ning.  They enjoyed role playing as they posted in character.  Now we are going to use a Ning to post reponses to To Kill a Mockingbird at To Kill a Mockingbird Response Ning. I am trying to discover the best way to incorporate Nings into the classroom.  I am using edublogs with my Read the Net students, and while it gives my students more freedom, I also think that my students may benefit more from the Ning format.  I am hypothesizing that students will be more apt to converse and leave meaningful comments for other students in a Ning environment than in a blogging environment.  Blogs are only connected by the blog roll and an aggregator, such as, Google Reader, so students may feel a disconnect that a Ning may provide.  I am only theorizing this is the case, and hopefully I will be able to discover which Web 2.0 tool works best in the classroom as I try out the TKAM Ning with my 9th grade English students and Edublogs with my Read the Net students.

I have also added a widget badge for the class TKAM Ning in the right side bar of this blog which provides a link to the Ning.

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February 19, 2009 by Tara Seale · No Comments · Romeo and Juliet, Technology Resources, Web 2.0

I am currently trying out Nings in my class.  I have created one for my Read the Net class, and students are posting on the Ning and sharing ideas to develop their personal philosophy using the This I Believe curriculum.    I have also created a Ning for my 9th grade English class.  We are reading Romeo and Juliet, so the students will sign up for the Ning as a character from the play.  They will have to stay in character as they create a profile and add postings to the Ning.

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