Hilary Reed, Oregon Open Learning
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan
High School
  • ELP3
  • ELP4
  • ELP5
  • MLEL-Bank
  • Oregon OER Quality Framework
  • mlel-bank
    Creative Commons Attribution
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    Education Standards

    Romeo & Juliet - Paraphrase and Summary Activity

    Romeo & Juliet - Paraphrase and Summary Activity


    Students will paraphrase and summarize a key scene from Romeo & Juliet in writing, working both in groups and individually.


    [Romeo & Juliet - Paraphrase & Summary Activity]

    Author of the Lesson: Hilary Reed

    Lesson Summary/Overview: Students will paraphrase and summarize a key scene from Romeo & Juliet in writing, working both in groups and individually.


    Alignment and Objectives

    Content Standards:

    W.9-10.4 produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

    RL.9-10.4 determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone

    SL.9-10.1 initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively

    L.9-10.3 apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening (extension activity)

    L.9-10.4 determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies

    Content Objectives:

    • Determine the meaning of Act III, scene i through reading and discussion
    • Put a scene from Shakespeare into your own words through group work and discussion
    • Summarize Act III, scene i individually in writing

    ELP Standards:

    9-10.7 adapt language choices to purpose, task, and audience when speaking and writing

    Language (ELP) Objectives:

    • Determine the meaning of words and phrases and put them into their own words
    • Identify main ideas from a passage of text and construct a written summary

    Supporting Academic Language

    Language Functions: Paraphrase, Summarize

    Language Modalities: Summary, Paraphrase

    Reading - allowing students access to print and digital versions; allowing students access to digital resources (summaries, alternate versions of texts)

    Writing - graphic organizer; slideshow with definitions and reminders

    Speaking - structured talk routines

    Listening - structured talk routines, volunteers and cold calling for whole group discussion

    Vocabulary: summary, paraphrase, modernize

    Syntax or Sentence Structure(s): possible sentence frames for writing warm-up; list of transition words for summaries

    Discourse: Paraphrase, Summary



    Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills: This lesson takes place in the middle of a unit about Romeo & Juliet and in the second semester of the year. Students have had ample opportunity to work together on a variety of tasks in class and all play an active role in the academic community we’ve constructed. Specifically, students have already practiced summarizing and paraphrasing texts of various lengths, styles, and complexities. They have watched me paraphrase, summarize, and then modernize a previous scene from the play (Act II, scene ii - “The Balcony Scene”) and have access to that work in their Google Classroom. They have also watched two different film versions of Romeo & Juliet (with subtitles) and thus have a strong foundational understanding of the play so far. Students also have experience with structured talk routines where they share in a prescribed order with a predetermined talk partner. They are used to cold calling to report out what their partner has shared.

    For homework, students read Act III, scene i of Romeo & Juliet. Though most of them read the version from our textbook, they know about multiple resources to help them. They are encouraged to read in their home language if they would like. In addition, No Fear Shakespeare offers graphic novel versions of each scene along with modernizations and summaries.  Students have practiced using the textbook notes to help guide their reading comprehension.

    Instructional Materials

    Learning Supports

    Socio-emotional supports: peer-to-peer connections; teacher connection; structured routines

    Cultural & Linguistic Responsiveness: Heterogeneous seating in table groups; students paired to support each other; extension activity allows for alternative representations (home language, cultural context, gender reimaginings, etc).

    Accessibility: bank of transition words; access to paraphrase and summary models; slides with directions; graphic organizer

    Instructional Supports


    L1 Supports: allow students to paraphrase in home language, graphic organizers partially filled in, key words highlighted and defined, some translations provided, audio version and/or version in home language provided

    L2 Development (by level): graphic organizers partially filled in, key words highlighted and defined, some translations provided, audio version provided


    Anticipatory Set/Motivation/Hook

    Time: First 15 minutes of class, in student notebooks (with computer option if needed)

    Teacher Does/Students Do: Teacher projects Warm-Up Question on the slideshow which also has a timer. Slides are available in Google Classroom if students need to see it more closely.

    Warm-Up Question: Have you ever made a hasty decision and then later regretted it? What happened? In general, do you tend to be impulsive or think things through? Do you think this quality is changeable over time?

    Have a student read the slide aloud. Discuss the definitions of hasty and impulsive and write them on the board, having another student repeat them back. Start the timer for 10 minutes. Teacher circles the class, prompting students to get started. Teacher checks in with students who might need support, offering sentence starters (either verbally or in writing in their notebooks) when needed.

    At the end of the 10 minutes, students turn to their talk partner and talk for 1 minute about what they wrote. They can say exactly what they wrote or can paraphrase. Partners switch after one minute. At the end, the teacher calls on 1 student from each table group to report what their partner said (8 students total, or fewer if the day is rushed).

    Focused Instruction (Teacher-as-Model)

    Time: 10 minutes

    Teacher Does/Students Do: Teacher already modeled how to paraphrase and summarize a scene in a previous lesson, using Act II, scene ii (“The Balcony Scene”) as a guide. Teacher will put that modernization back up on the screen and do a review of the process for students who may have missed it.

    Teacher will pass out the Act III, scene i Paraphrase, Summarize, Adapt Activity graphic organizer, but students will also have access to a digital copy if preferred.

    Teacher will have a student read the top of the graphic organizer aloud (what does it mean to paraphrase?). Teacher will then go over instructions for the activity (listed in next section).

    Group Application (Student-to-Student Joint Responsibility)

    Time: 40 minutes

    Teacher Does/Students Do: Students sit in heterogeneous table groups of 4 and have lettered desks. Students will work together on all paraphrases, but each student will be responsible for leading and reporting out on their assigned lines.

    Teacher will circulate throughout the activity, helping students who are stuck.

    After the 30 minute mark, students will report out their paraphrased lines to the class so that they can compare their ideas to those of their classmates and fill in any holes in their comprehension.

    Individual Learning (Independent Practice and Application)

    Time: 15 minutes

    Teacher Does/Students Do: Teacher will ask for student volunteers to recall what the qualities are of an effective summary. Teacher will project reminder slides based on previous lessons. Students will have the rest of the class period to complete Step Two: Summary of the scene they read. Students will have access to a list of transition words and phrases during the activity (projected on the slideshow).

    Teacher will project “I Can” Statements for the activity and have students read them aloud.

    Teacher will identify students who may need to demonstrate understanding in an alternative way - options include but not limited to a verbal summary (given to teacher in a one-on-one setting), drawing (sequence of events), or summary in an alternate language (with a verbal explanation to teacher).


    Time: 5-7 minutes

    Teacher Does/Students Do:

    Students will read their summaries to their table talk partners. If time allows, the teacher will ask a few students to read their summaries. Students will turn in documents on their way out.


    Formative Assessment

    Content: Writing Warm-Up, Paraphrase, Summary

    Language: ability to understand the words “hasty” and “impulsive” in context; ability to define and practice paraphrase; ability to define and practice summary

    Plans for Summative Assessments

    Content: timed quote analysis paragraph, continued summary/paraphrase practice, modernization, acting out (as whole unit)

    Language: varies


    Ideas for Key Assignments, Extensions, and Adaptations for Online Learning Environments:

    One key extension for this lesson is to turn the paraphrased scene into an adaptation, set in a different time period, language, or cultural context. Examples could include: cowboys vs. aliens; a fight over a girl at her quinceanera; high school musical; etc. This is a prime opportunity for translanguaging. Students could work in table groups for increased collaboration time or could work solo so as to best represent their linguistic/cultural contexts. If working in groups, students could act out their scenes as an additional extension. As I have students in an Advanced English class, I extended the lesson and spent another two class periods doing the adaptation, which was highly successful and the students’ favorite part. Students incorporated their own cultural contexts and languages into their scripts, and it was very rewarding to watch and experience their collaborative process.