Fill-in-the-Blank Poetry and Speed Dating 101:
Preparing to read Romeo and Juliet’s Balcony Scene
Fill-in-the-Blank Poetry and Speed Dating 101
Before we read Act 2, Scene 2 together as a class, I like to get my students primed for all of the seemingly over-the-top professions of love that Romeo and Juliet make to one another. Yes, looking at pick-up lines from the 16th century is interesting, and we sometimes do this, too, but the following activity is quick, easy, and fun.
FIRST — Tell students that they’re going to write some love poetry today before we read the famous balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.
THEN — For the next few minutes, no talking is allowed.
NEXT — Have students open up (or pass out) the Fill-in-the-Blank Love Poem. Tell them that their poems can be serious or funny, but no clichés allowed. They should complete each prompt, ideally, with a phrase rather than a single word.
NOW — After enough time has passed, tell students that they are now going to participate in speed dating. Ask someone to explain the concept to others, or do so yourself if no one knows what you’re talking about! In my class, it’s easy for students to simply turn their desks head to head so that two people are facing each other. I have them do so, then ask each person to spend 30 seconds reading aloud his/her poem. After a minute or two, I have students scramble to find a new partner and read their poems again. I do this three times in total.
FINALLY — I ask students to nominate four or five of the best poems and ask those chosen to present their masterpieces to the entire class. They all get applause (and perhaps a piece of candy!). And with this, we begin reading Act 2, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet.