Alternative Literature Assessment

Beckie and I finished reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and I wanted to give her a non-traditional assignment in addition to traditional assessment measures. So I went through two week’s worth of advertisements from the Sunday newspaper and cut out pictures that could be tied in somehow to a line from the play. For example, I used a picture from an ad for Glade air freshener and paired it with this line from Act 4, Scene 3 when Juliet says, “Shall I not then be stifled in the vault, to whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in, and there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?” Beckie’s assignment was to tell me the context for the line. The pictures were not in a sequential order, and Beckie surprised herself with her ability to remember details from the play. Her favorite quote was paired with a picture of Yoplait Go-gurt with large letters proclaiming “With calcium for STRONG BONES!” and Juliet’s line again from Act 4, Scene 3 asking “And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone, as with a club, dash out my desperate brains?” I chuckled at the picture from the Hamburger Helper ad with the friendly little hand for Act 5, Scene 3 when the feuding families are reconciling and Capulet says, “O brother Mountague, give me thy hand.” Beckie had fun with that part of the assessment, and also wrote an essay response and took a multiple choice test. Those were the three components for her final exam on Romeo and Juliet. Just for fun we also watched a movie version, and I found a “Shakespeare Manga Romeo and Juliet” in graphic novel form at the library. Manga is a Japanese art form, I think, and this one portrayed the story as taking place in Japan with the two main families being rival mafia families. Now that Beckie has the idea of using pictures from ads as part of her assessment, she can find the pictures herself for the next time we want to use that option as part of an assessment.

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