EN9: 21 Feb

Thank you for an excellent class today looking at gender roles in the world of Romeo and Juliet. I know time was tight but you all worked to try and engage with the issue of gender. Remember what we talked about today as we move through the rest of the play. The expectations and roles of gender feature very prominently in this play.

For next class, be sure to review the plot of Act IV. I will be returning the Plot Timeline assignment on Friday. We will be looking at Juliet’s speech from Act 4, Scene 3 on Thursday. Don’t forget the reading quiz on Acts 1 & 2!

EN9M: 20 Feb

Thank you for an excellent session today looking at gender roles in the world of Romeo and Juliet. Everyone had some awesome thoughts. Between the writing piece that I returned today and the exercise in class, I am feeling very good about how everyone is working with the text. Remember what we talked about today as we move through the rest of the play. The expectations and roles of gender feature very prominently in this play.

For next class, be sure to review the plot of Act IV. I will be returning the Plot Timeline assignment tomorrow. We will be looking at Juliet’s speech from Act 4, Scene 4 on Thursday.

EN9M: 15 Feb

Thanks for a great class today; everyone did some good work today. A reminder that the Plot timeline assignment for Act 1 and 2 is due at the beginning of class. Also, please read Friar Lawrence’s speech on p. 76-77 (Act 3, Scene 3) and Juliet’s interaction with her father on p. 85-86 (Act 3, Scene 5).

Here’s a recap of what we covered in today’s class:

Act 2, Scene 6: The Wedding Scene

  • What stands out to you about the language in this scene?
  • Romeo:
    • but come what sorrow can, It cannot countervail the exchange of joy that one short minute gives me in her sight” (line 3-5). He’s saying that regardless of what happens, nothing will outweigh the joy that comes from being with Juliet.
  • Juliet
    • my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth” (line 33-34). Figuratively, Juliet is saying that she is so rich with love that she cannot count her wealth. Literally, she is saying that she is willing to sacrifice her monetary wealth for the wealth of love she receives with Romeo.
  • Friar Lawrence
    • These violent delights have violent ends” (line 9). This could be foreshadowing but more broadly, he’s speaking about how sudden and disruptive their love has been.
    • The sweetest honey Is loathsome in his own deliciousness” (line 12-13). Even something that seems so sweet (i.e. their love) can have negative consequences.

Act 3, Scene 1: Another “Uncivil” Brawl

  • There’s a lot of conflict in this scene. The whole play really pivots around this scene. Consider the following interactions:
    • Mercutio and Tybalt: Why are they fighting? Tybalt shows up for one reason: to pick a fight with the Montagues. Mercutio has a quick temper, like Tybalt. If you front on Mercutio, he will not back down.
    • Tybalt and Romeo: Why won’t Romeo fight Tybalt? Because at this time, marriages were all about family. Think back to the party in Act 1, Scene 5 when Tybalt wanted to fight Romeo. Lord Capulet forbade it and Tybalt had to obey his uncle. So Romeo won’t fight Tybalt because they’re now cousins but Tybalt doesn’t know about the marriage.
    • Romeo and Mercutio: What is Mercutio’s response to Romeo refusing to fight Tybalt? “O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!” (line 70). Mercutio cannot believe that Romeo is behaving so cowardly and if Romeo won’t defend his own honour, Mercutio will do it for him.

Act 3, Scene 2: Juliet’s Speech

  • Juliet has no idea that Tybalt has killed Mercutio and Romeo has killed Tybalt. She is waiting for Romeo, her new husband, to visit her and celebrate their marriage.
  • Remember, there are no other characters on stage at this point. Nobody can hear Juliet speak, which means that she is speaking directly to us, the audience.
  • Text references:
    • Juliet is excited and anxious for the night to come. Romeo can only sneak into her house over the cover of darkness (lines 5-8) So Juliet is willing the mythical “fiery-footed steeds” who pull the sun across the sky to “gallop apace” and “bring in cloudy night immediately” (lines 1-4).
    • learn me how to lose a winning match” (line 12). Juliet shows her age here; she is referring to marriage and love as a casual game. In this time, who you married was hugely important. It determined your social standing and your wealth. She is also saying that she is willing to give up a “winning match” with Paris in favour of true love with Romeo.
    • … upon a raven’s back” (line 19). The raven is a symbol of death.
    • … when I shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars” (lines 21-22). Stars are representative of heaven. When Juliet dies, she wants Romeo to die with her.
    • “he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will… pay no worship to the garish sun” (lines 23-25). Remember that Romeo refers to Juliet as the sun in Act 2, Scene 2. Juliet is saying that Romeo is so beautiful that nobody should pay attention to her.
    • O, I have bought the mansion of a love, But not possess’d it, and though I am sold, Not yet enjoy’d” (line 26). Marriage and women are referred to as a property; something to be bought and sold. So Juliet is being “sold” by her parents to Paris but he has not yet “enjoy’d” her. So Juliet has “bought” for herself, a “mansion of a love” with Romeo.
    • So tedious is this day As is the night before some festival To an impatient child that hath new robes And may not wear them” (lines 28-31). Juliet literally refers to her excitement as childish. She is excited the way a child would be excited for their birthday. Remember in Act 2, Scene 2, Romeo tells Juliet to “cast off” her robes which show her devotion to Diana, the goddess of virgins. Now Juliet has the “new robes” of a married woman and is excited to wear them. (Remember: these are not actual robes; she’s speaking figuratively)

EN9: 14 Feb

Hey Grade 9s! Thanks for a great first class. I’m really looking forward into diving into Romeo and Juliet with you. If you’re having trouble tracking all the characters and how they’re related, look here for a breakdown.

Information about the plot timeline assignment:

  • Click here to see the marking rubric for this assignment.

Here are some highlights from today’s class:

We talked about the Queen Mab speech. I recommend that you take a moment to read it once more on your own time. Here are some things to think about as you read:

  • Mercutio spends a great deal of time describing Queen Mab (lines 53-70). Why does he do this? What do you notice about the language?
  • What is he saying about love in lines 70-75? Is this a positive description of love?
  • When Romeo says “You talk of nothing”, Mercutio responds, “True, I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain…” What does Mercutio mean by that? What was the point of this speech?


We also talked about Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting. What do you notice about the language in this scene? How does Romeo refer to himself and Juliet? How would that type of language be thought about at this time?


Finally, we read Romeo’s first speech in Act 2, Scene 2 as he waits for Juliet in the garden. Please review this speech and consider the following:

  • In the previous act, Romeo compared himself to a pilgrim and Juliet to a saint. How does he speak about her in this scene? Is it similar in nature or different? Remember how English Christian people viewed the sky and the stars in the 17th century.

SS9M: 14 Feb

Thanks for a great class today. I know it’s early but I appreciate the work everyone put in once your brains were warmed up! Here’s a quick reminder of what we talked about this class.

You can view the slides from today’s class by clicking here. Just a reminder that the slides are useful as reminders only. If you’re relying on the slides to research or study, they will not be sufficient.

Your work on identifying judgements in texts was very strong. You all picked up the concept very quickly and did an excellent job of finding clues to the writer’s thoughts and feelings. We will revisit this skill later in the unit and you will be tested on identifying judgements in texts.

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Recognizing bias is all about identifying the implicit judgements a writer makes through their choice of words. What can we tell about the writers of each of these three statements through their choice of words?

We will pick up the ethical judgement exercise at the beginning of Friday’s class. You all got the right idea after some discussion; so we’ll keep working on it next class.

SS9M: 9 Feb

Click here for the slides from today’s class. The slides may be useful for jogging your memory but I delivered most of the material for today’s class orally. We will review this information before the unit test but it is your responsibility to keep your own notes. The notes templates are designed to help focus your attention during lecture so that you don’t have to write down every single thing I say. They are only as useful as you make them.

Your Historical Perspective work on the annexation of Rupert’s Land was excellent. I answered a few questions but you all worked well and stayed focused. I’m very impressed. Here are some highlights from this exercise:

  • Canadian Government
    • Benefits of Canada purchasing Rupert’s Land:
      • More room for settlement will lead to more immigration
      • Rupert’s Land has room to push the Métis off the prime land and expand the settler population
      • Rupert’s Land has extremely high quality farmland.
      • Expanded settler population will expand trade routes, eventually as far as the Pacific Ocean and Asia.
      • Increased settlement will improve the economy. Farmers, industrialists, and land speculators will all make profits.
    • Drawbacks of Canada purchasing Rupert’s Land: 
      • Purchasing Rupert’s Land costs money! We are a young nation in the midst of an economic depression and we just paid $1.5 million (today’s equivalent: ~$40 million dollars)
      • Purchasing Rupert’s Land means that we have to administer it, which will be difficult. The HBC wasn’t able to stop settlers from arriving and claiming land. How are we going to judge disputes between citizens? Increased population means increased revenue, in theory, but h ow are we going to collect taxes?
      • Métis might fight back against our expansion; one way or the other, we have to deal with the Métis
      • Economic depression hits shortly after Confederation; buying Rupert’s Land is a risky move to undertake at this time.
  • Métis:
    • Benefits of Canada purchasing Rupert’s Land:
      • Canada is already a dual nation of Anglophones and Francophones; could probably keep our language and some of our culture
      • We could gain representation in Canadian Parliament
      • Our trading partnerships would be expanded.
      • Our lives have been drastically changed through access to manufactured goods. Presumably that trend would continue.
    • Drawbacks of Canada purchasing Rupert’s Land: 
      • Can we trust the Canadian government? They didn’t even let us know they were purchasing Rupert’s land
      • If we can’t trust the Canadian government, what will we do? Can we negotiate or will we have to fight to defend our rights?
      • The Canadian government might have legal control of Rupert’s Land but how will they stop settlers from coming and taking away our land?
      • We do not want to assimilate to the Anglo-Canadian culture. We are a proud people with a long history and we want to continue celebrating that.
      • The recent Protestant (Orange Order) immigrants tend to look down upon us. We don’t want to become part of a country where we are second-class citizens.
  • Hudson’s Bay Company
    • Benefits of Canada purchasing Rupert’s Land:
      • We get $1.5 million in cash from the Canadian government.
      • We can still trade in that area without the expense and hassle of trying to administer the area.
      • Our trading operations will benefit from any infrastructure (roads, railways, ports, etc.) built by Canadian government.
    • Drawbacks of Canada purchasing Rupert’s Land: 
      • Our trade relationships with the Métis and First Peoples might suffer.
      • We no longer have exclusive control of the land.


“No explanation it appears has been made of the arrangement by which [Rupert’s Land] is to be handed over. All these poor people know is that Canada has bought the country from the Hudson’s Bay Company and that they are handed over like a flock of sheep to us.”

– John A. MacDonald, Prime Minister of Canada, in 1869

EN9M: 8 Feb

Thanks for a great class, today. I know it was a lot of me talking so I appreciate your patience and engagement. As we move through the unit, it will be less-and-less of me-driven and more-and-more you-driven.

Anyone who is curious about the requirements and marking for the plot timeline assignment should click here. I recommend reading a summary of Act I to see where your character pops up and then using that as a starting point. You do not have to read the entire first act (although it would certainly help you later on).

We dove right into the plot of Act I, Scenes 1-4 today. We focused on the Queen Mab speech, which is one of Shakespeare’s most critically acclaimed speeches. It is heavy on poetry and light on substance/plot action. Remember that as we move to other speeches that will have a lot more to do with the plot.


There are a lot of characters introduced in the first Act; 14 in total. They can be hard to keep track of but you can always refer back here to figure out who is who.

The Montagues

  • Lord and Lady Montague: Romeo’s parents. Lord Montague is the OG of this feud between families.
  • Romeo: A young nobleman of Verona. The Romeo.
  • Mercutio: Romeo’s cousin. A calming, practical influence on Romeo’s group of friends.
  • Benvolio: Romeo’s BFF. A bit of a pot-stirrer.
  • Friar Lawrence: Romeo’s confidante*

The Capulets

  • Lord and Lady Capulet: Juliet’s parents. Lord Capulet is the other OG of this feud. Lady Capulet is very interested in getting Juliet married as soon as possible.
  • Juliet: A young lady of Verona. The Juliet.
  • Tybalt: Juliet’s cousin. Another pot-stirrer; he likes to cause trouble.
  • Nurse: Juliet’s confidante*
  • Peter: A servant in the Capulet household


  • Escalus, Prince of Verona: He arrives in Scene 1 and lays down the law. There is to be no more public brawling between the Montagues and the Capulets. He means business.
  • Paris: Cousin of Escalus. He is very interested in marrying Juliet.


  • Confidante: Someone with whom you share secrets. There is a great deal of deception in this play but Romeo totally trusts Friar Lawrence and Juliet totally trusts the Nurse.
  • Nurse: Remember that the Nurse is not like a nurse at a hospital. She would have raised Juliet from a baby. She is like a second mother to Juliet and she is the one person that Juliet completely trusts.
  • Ages: Remember the issues of age that we discussed in class. Keep this in mind when we’re discussing the characters.


SS9M: 7 Feb

Historical perspective taking

  • What do we need to know in order to take someone’s perspective? Who are they? What is their background? Their family? What are they doing day-to-day?

What challenges did the Red River Colony face during it’s establishment? (Horizons, 143-154)

EN9: Plot Timeline Assignment

The Plot Timeline Assignment should not cause you a great deal of stress. You have ample class time during which to work on it. Click here for the rubric: Plot Timeline Rubric. If you have questions, please come see me EARLY! We should be finished the text of the play by 26 February and the assignment will be due on 28 February (I will remind you). Do not leave it until the last minute! If you have questions, email me or see me after class.