A modern take on Romeo
and Juliet.

Larry Reiff, a Grade 9 humanities teacher, has taught Shakespeare for years, but not quite like he does today. With iPad, Larry brings classics like Romeo and Juliet to life through apps and social media — making a play from 1597 relevant and relatable to modern‑day teenagers.

“How do I get my students excited about 400‑year‑old literature? By making it an experience, not just words on a page.”

Larry Reiff, Humanities Teacher, Roslyn High School, New York


Introduce the topic.

iPad gives students new ways to explore classic language.

Shakespeare’s language can be challenging for many students to understand. That’s why Larry starts with two close reading activities that help students decode the bard’s lines.


Words introduced into the English language by Shakespeare

“The iPad lets students go from reading something to interacting with it. And once they’re interacting, they’re interested, they’re engaged.”


Build student understanding.

iPad turns a literature lesson into an interactive experience.

Classroom reenactments are a traditional way to explore Shakespeare. Larry’s class takes it to a whole new level with student-led activities that culminate in an engaging performance piece.


Of Larry’s students felt iPad enhanced their learning of Romeo and Juliet

“What I love about teaching with iPad is that it gives my students an infinite number of methods to show me they understand the material.”


Demonstrate learning.

With iPad, each student’s abilities takes centre stage

The last act: for their final project, students analyze a scene from one of the play’s modern adaptations. Larry empowers students to choose whichever app will allow them to best express their ideas.


Shakespeare-related videos created by Larry’s students using iMovie and other apps

Students use social media to identify with the characters throughout the unit.

Profile pages. Keeping a character diary is one way students learn to relate to the play’s characters. Instead of a traditional text journal, Larry’s students create a social media profile page. Larry explains, “It’s the same exact assignment, just adapted for a 21st-century audience.”

Status updates. In a social media profile, students assume the identity of the play’s characters, posting and commenting in Shakespeare’s words. They “friend” each other, “like” movies and music, and update their statuses to match the action in the play.

140-character assessments. Larry’s students use short expressions and quotes to express their understanding of what a character is thinking or feeling during a specific scene. Through their writing and interactions, Larry can assess their level of understanding.

“No matter what level I’m teaching, I teach the same unit. If you’re an honours student or struggling to pass, you still get something out of it. The possibilities for learning are that differentiated.”

iTunes U

Everything in one place.

View in App Store

Larry Reiff uses iTunes U to organize and deliver all of his lesson’s books, materials, apps, movies and assignments directly to each student’s iPad.

See what you can do with iTunes U

Personalize and perfect your lesson.

With the variety of apps, books, podcasts, movies and music available through iTunes, designing a customized lesson is easier than you might think. Get started with the apps Larry’s class uses or explore other ways to integrate iPad into your classroom.

View the Shakespeare collection on iTunes