Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

This lesson plan uses the Say Something strategy to build reading confidence and ability with a difficult text. Students will work on summarizing Act II of Romeo and Juliet, understanding plot structure, and learning the role of suspense in drama.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize the events of Act II of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
  • sequence events in order
  • identify plot events that build tension or suspense


  • This lesson will need to be broken up over several classes:
    • 45-60 minutes for fishbowl demonstration and Scene 1
    • 30-45 minutes for Scene 2
    • 30-45 minutes for Scene 3
    • 60 minutes for Scenes 4 and 5
    • 30 minutes for assessments

Key Vocabulary

  • Suspense
  • Tension
  • Plot

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.


By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Materials Needed

  • Copies of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue


  • This lesson plan utilizes the Say Something strategy. This strategy requires students to pause three to five times per page while reading to say something to their reading groups. They can ask questions, make predictions, connect what they've read to something else they know, make clarifications, explain vocabulary, argue a point, and/or engage in other approaches. Students who are unfamiliar with this strategy will benefit from a printed card that states their options when it's time for them to ''say something.''
  • Begin the lesson with a fishbowl. Pull a few confident readers to the center of class and reread part of Scene 5 from Act I of Romeo and Juliet. Join the students as a group member and model the Say Something strategy. Then lead the class in a discussion of how to use the strategy.
  • Using the same scene, review the plot by creating a flow map of the main events to show students how the flow map graphic organizer can be used to summarize the main plot events.
  • Break the class into small (around five students each) reading groups and have them start Act 2 by reading the lesson Romeo and Juliet Act 2 - Scene 1 Summary
  • The groups should create a flow map for the scene based on the summary given in the lesson.
  • Have the groups cast the play's parts and (together) read Act II Scene 1 using the Say Something strategy.
  • When they finish, ask them to add any relevant boxes to their flow maps. Then lead the class in a discussion of the role of tension and suspense in drama. Have groups explain each box in their flow maps and how these events build tension.
  • For Scene 2, have them read the scenes first, still using the Say Something approach. They'll also create their flow maps for the scene while reading and when they finish, they'll check their flow maps against the summary given in the lesson Romeo and Juliet Act 2 - Scene 2 Summary
  • Scene 3 contains difficult speeches by Friar Lawrence that often bog down the reading. For this one, they should read the summary found in Romeo and Juliet Act 2 - Scene 3 Summary before reading the scene aloud and building their flow maps. Encourage students to begin to taper off their use of Say Something to 2-3 times per page.
  • Finish Act II by reading Scenes 4 and 5 as a whole class. Model the use of the Say Something approach by calling on students and responding to their statements and questions. Direct the reading groups to create a flow map for the final two scenes. They can check their work by using the summaries found in Romeo and Juliet Act 2 - Scene 4 Summary and Romeo and Juliet Act 2 - Scene 5 Summary.
  • Assess their understanding of the plot events by using the Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Summary & Study Guide Chapter Exam
  • To assess understanding of the instruction on the role of tension, have groups cut out all the boxes from their flow maps. They'll shuffle these slips of paper and randomly select three boxes. Then they'll paste them on a scale from one (calm) to ten (nail-bitingly suspenseful) and write two to three sentences explaining their ratings.

Related Lessons

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.