“No way, he’s not actually dead.”
“Dead?? He was protecting Romeo and now he’s dead??”
“He was my favorite– I’m gonna cry!”
“Can we stop reading this?”

While this level of excitement might not always be expected as students clamor to understand Shakespeare, it’s something you can expect in the DCD classroom– especially when a class favorite receives a mortal wound! In Mr. Thacher’s 8th grade English class, students are confused and outraged as it dawns upon them that this seemingly innocuous scene in their reading of Romeo and Juliet has led unexpectedly to the death of Mercutio. A moment like this provides the perfect opportunity for a close reading of the text, as students work together to break down the Elizabethan language of the play in order to form a fuller understanding of not only the events, but also the thematic interpretations and character insights that they offer. After rereading and discussing this significant scene, students will block the action in class to visualize the play as it could appear on stage. This collaborative and supportive approach turns an otherwise challenging or disconnected text into a story students not only understand, but actively invest in.