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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans
Julius Caesar-the Historical Figure and the Character

HOW IT WORKS

While reading “Julius Caesar,” students learn about Shakespeare, his time, Elizabethan culture, and Shakespearean language. Students' learning is no longer limited by a teacher's knowledge. They can visit a virtual Globe Theater and learn about Roman history and related subjects. Students will also learn to critique others' work online and absorb what they read in the Internet and create their original work.
     Teacher preparation steps include doing research online to several helpful Web sites that inform students of the history of ancient Rome and about Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, and posting them on your Web site as resources for your students' research. Prepare questions that tap into the different levels of cognitive skills and ask the student to discuss online.

    Student activities include visit Web sites and getting familiar with the history of ancient Rome, and visiting a virtual Globe Theater and reading background information about Shakespeare. They also publish their reactions to the play online.

     A project can be designed to help assess the student's understanding, such as the analysis of a character or theme, or they can debate over issues raised in the play. After reading articles that critique “Julius Caesar” and allow them to see other people's perspectives on the play, the students can write responses to one or two of the articles and share them with the class online.

 WHAT YOU NEED

Computers with Internet access are needed for students to do research and share their opinions with other students,  Software materials used include Microsoft FrontPage for web creation and any Internet browser (4.x or higher version).  Required teacher technology skills include Web creation and building a discussion forum, and students are required to have a basic knowledge of computers and using the Internet.
 
THE STUDENTS

This unit is tailored for high school English students.  The students need not be Internet savvy but must be able to catch on to e-mail, and using web resources. 

OVERALL VALUE

The use of technology enables students to learn at their own pace, according to their needs or interests, and allows the multidisciplinary approach to happen naturally (this unit involves history, architecture, culture studies, and language arts). It also provides more opportunities for individual instruction since lessons are posted online, and it instills a sense of pride in students as writers when they see their work published on the Web. It also enhances their communication with pupils from other schools who are doing the same project.  

For teachers, this unit demonstrates how effective teaching can take place within a heterogeneous classroom. Within the unit, there are lessons that incorporate basic cognitive skills such as answering questions based on the text. There are also projects that need more advanced cognitive skills such as analyzing the characters and themes, and debating over certain ideas, issues etc. Students have more opportunities to receive individual instructions and are able to work at their own pace. Teachers are removed from the center of the classroom and pass the role to the student. The four ELA Regents tasks based on the play help the students to reexamine the issues discussed in the play from another perspective, which also familiarizes them with the NY State Regents exam. 

TIPS
This unit is designed for teachers who have had experiences in doing an Internet project. As a beginner, you may like to pick a part of the unit and implement it in your class.  As you start teaching the play, you can use an online gallery to help students understand and keep track of the characters.

STANDARDS
Standards addressed by this unit include analyzing the author's point of view toward an issue raised in one of the author's works; analyzing the literary, cultural, and social context of a literary work: producing work in reflective essays; making thematic connections among literary texts, public discourse, and media; and evaluating the impact of the author's decisions regarding word choice, style, content, and literary elements.  

 

Bo Wu teaches English at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.  She is a TeachNet Project Mentor.

                                                bodamato@hotmail.com

Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 10 or more

 

Subject: English & Social Studies

 

Grade level 10 - 11

 

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