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A Julius Caesar Unit

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Teachers: you can mix and match these activities as much as you want. I have changed this page to be less of a diary and more of a guide! I hope you like the activities. They are ideas from many other teachers online who have posted their ideas for other teachers. Thank you, online lesson sharing teachers!

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Day One - Overview of Unit on PowerPoint. Making of Julius Caesar folders and decorating folders to be judged on Friday. Hand out syllabus for Julius Caesar Unit. Explain iambic pentameter, vocabulary words and meanings for each Act, history of the time, Globe Theater, etc. Handout on Shakespeare’s time, and a Character List.


There need to be two tapebooks, if possible, of Julius Caesar so that students may check it out for a week at a time if they want to.


Text read ­ link to paraphrase on internet. We will learn vocabulary words for each scene.


There is a NEW production of Caesar that has recently been on Broadway.


Students receive a photocopy of the original Julius Caesar, a paraphrase of the play, plus memorable lines and quotes from the play on a flyer too. Have the students read the paraphrase only up to where we are studying to make it more interesting.


Overview, pretesting, syllabus, groups assigned, learning styles, “how to study” guide, maybe copied play so it’s easier to carry. Assign groups and seating areas with decorated name tags. Groups select what they want to report on for the class and put down the name on the class signup sheet along with the day they want to give their report. Rubrics will be given out to each group showing what they will be graded on.


Today we do an Introduction Activity ­ a get-to-know-you game. Each person interviews another student and introduces them to the class. Questions to ask each other:

What is something about you that makes you unique?

Tell us about your hobbies.

What is your favorite subject in school and why?

Where is your family from?

What is something about you that most people don’t know?


Journal assignment for Thursday: What does the name Julius Caesar mean to you? How about William Shakespeare? Have you studied other plays by Shakespeare?

How does a leader in Caesar’s time differ from world leaders today? How are they the same?

What do you think that this play is going to be about on the surface? How about a deeper meaning?

Have you already studied this play in another class? If “yes”, you may want to take the pre-test tomorrow and do another project instead of reading it over again.


Day One ­ Class does the rest of pre-testing today and hands in their Journal assignment for a grade. Journal assignments go in the Journal File. Journal entries should have a cover sheet on them so that the grade and comments do not show. All journal entries need to be at least three paragraphs long.



Students who have already studied Julius Caesar may take the pre-test. This pre-test will include vocabulary words, quotations, and ideas from the play. Students can write short essays about the play explaining what they know about the play, its characters, and their motivation, the exposition, rising and falling action, the play’s climax, etc. and themes of the play.


We go over procedures today ­ how to get in groups, how to quiet down from group activities. We practice getting into groups and back into single desks so that we can get a lot done this Unit. We want to be able to do more fun activities and not waste time.


Today, the class does research in the computer room for their group presentation for 15-20 minutes. History of William Shakespeare, the Globe Theater, etc. in group webquest. I will use this webquest for a guide:


Mr. Fell’s Fact-Finding Webquest

An Introduction to Julius Caesar ­ there are 5 different topics

here on this Webquest. Each group researches one topic and

presents it to the class in preparation for reading Julius Caesar.


1. Life and Times of William Shakespeare

2. The Globe Theater

3. The Authorship Debate

4. Queen Elizabeth I

5. Julius Caesar


The links were down on this Webquest so I’ll have to design a link page myself for the class to use. The class will work in a group for one additional class period, (tomorrow) and be ready to present the next week. Students may choose different kinds of reports using artwork, a PowerPoint presentation, a play, role-playing, flyers for all other students. Students will speak in front of the class as a group. The groups will decide who covers what in the presentation. Presentations may last no more than 5 minutes each. Groups may meet out of class if they wish.


If there is time, we will have SSR for at least 10 minutes today (Sustained Silent Reading). The book read may be Julius Caesar or the book of choice.


Day Two ­ Today, we finish doing group presentations. Other groups will grade each other with a rubric next week. Presentations are in one week. Groups sign up for what day they want to present ­ Thursday or Friday on the signup sheet. Students may meet out of class to finish their presentation, or call each other on the phone to finish the assignment. Group members will grade each other with a group rubric so make sure that everyone does their part for the presentation.


Also: Julius Caesar folders are judged by rubric by class members today. These are handed in to me along with folders today. (Check with Mrs. Townsend).  Each student will show their folders in front of the class for votes. Whoever wins the contest will be awarded 50 extra bonus points towards their Unit Grade. There will be five winners, 1st through 5th place. Students will be judged on quality of work, originality, design, and neatness using a rubric.


For next lesson: students will read a plot overview of Act One, Scene I and Act One, Scene II. 


Study Guide for Act One, Scene I:

Do you think that the soldiers in Act I are treating the common people they talk to in the street with respect? Why or why not?

Do you think that the cobbler felt that he was less equal than the soldier? Why or why not?

Why did the soldiers think that Pompey was greater than Caesar?


Study Guide for Act One, Scene II:

Why does the soothsayer keep repeating “Beware the Ides of March?”

Why doesn’t Caesar take heed of this warning? Why does he call the soothsayer a dreamer?

Do you think that Calpurnia wanted to get pregnant? Why or why not? Why was only she blamed for not being able to get pregnant?

Why doesn’t Brutus want Caesar to be King?

Why doesn’t Caesar trust Cassius?

Why is Cassius telling Brutus about when he saved Caesar?

What is wrong with Caesar that he shakes? Cassius said that “the fit was upon him”?

Do you think that Brutus knows what Cassius is talking about when he says, “Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and we petty men walk under his huge legs and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves.”

What did Casca mean when he said “it was Greek to me”? Have you ever heard that phrase before?


Vocabulary Instruction for Act One, Scene I:

Vocabulary words to be learned include: hence, sterile, cobbler, thou, knave, beseech, apparel, cull, plague, exalted, vulgar, servile. All vocabulary lists need to be filled in and put in the Julius Caesar folder.


Vocabulary words and phrases for Act One, Scene II:


The Ides of March, soothsayer, gamesome, veiled, countenance, vexed, grieved, construe, neglect, cogitations, oaths, banqueting, virtue, chafing, accoutered, controversy, luster, majestic, Colossus, brooked, entreat, repute, pluck, mocked, aye, durst, rogues, wenches, blunt, mettle, enterprise, citizen.


Journal entry for today: Do you think that Caesar’s female characters seem to be as brave and smart as his male characters? Why or why not?



Day Three ­  Then class reads Act 1, Scene 1 in class. Students fill out answers to the homework question sheets for Act 1, Scene I as a group activity during the last 20 minutes of class in order to see how the sheets are done. Students will help their group members fill out the form and take turns with answers if possible.


Assignment for tomorrow: Act 1, Scene II. Students will fill out the Study guide for Act 1, Scene II as homework. If there is time, the groups can help each other fill out the questions for this second study guide also.


Students may choose to do an Extra Credit Independent Caesar activity. This activity will be done by Tuesday,


They may choose from the following:


1. Design a memo or email message from the soothsayer to Julius Caesar.

2. Design a fax message from Artimedorus to Julius Caesar.

3. Design a fake web page for Julius Caesar.

4. Design a fake web page for the conspirators.

5. Write a scene that is not in the play, like a conversation between Portia and Brutus, where he tells her his plan to kill Caesar.

6. Draw a comic strip of one scene.

7. Write a letter to Brutus with good opinions of him.

8. Make a bulleted list of Cassius's plan to convince Brutus to join the conspiracy.

9. Make a three-column list of who is for, against, and undecided.

10. Describe Antony before and after Caesar's death.

11. Write a resume of a conspirator.

12. Develop an armed forces ad, recruiting conspirators.

13. Write Caesar's will.

14. Compare and contrast Brutus and Antony's speeches.


Journal Exercise:

Do you think that there are still social “classes” in this country, much like the ancient Romans had? How do you think that each is alike or different? 


Day Four ­ Students turn in Study Guides for both scenes at beginning of class, after copying them on the printer. Class reads Act 1, Scene II and Act 2, Scene I in class using the “pass” method. Groups can help each other fill out homework questions if there is time at the end of class. Today we are going to do Vocabulary Cards.


Students will sit at tables of 4 students each. These group tables are the assigned group tables. They will have a deadline of 20 minutes for this activity. Each team will research a different word and make a drawing that best describes the word they have been given in the context it is used in this Scene. Each word will be located and underlined as part of the homework of the day before. Extra underlined sheets will be available for each group.


The students will be divided into jobs:

  1. One student will draw the picture
  2. One student will look up the definition
  3. One student will write the definition on the card
  4. One student will hang up the card, stand, read and explain the word definition, and help each team member with their job.
  5. These drawings will be done on cards that have a hole punched in the top. Groups of cards will be made into hanging mobiles.


Time for activity: 15 minutes total. 10 minutes for the cards, and 5 minutes for all the groups to explain the cards (1 minute each). The group decides who will explain each card.


Under the word in smaller type, Student 3 will brainstorm a SHORT definition for the word. They will use the dictionary definition as a guide. They will punch a hole in the top of the card.

Each card grouping will be put on a coat hanger or other hanger and hung up in the room OR the students will put the cards on the bulletin board. Student #4 will stand and say the word the group researched and the definition of the word. They will hold up the card to show to the rest of the class, then will put the card on the bulletin board or attach it to a mobile.


Homework: Act 1, Scene III and Act 2, Scene I study questions.


Act 1, Scene III Study Guide:

Is Casca upset about the storm? Why or why not?

Why does Casca think that strange things are going on?

Why does Cassius tell Casca that he isn’t using his head?

What do Casca and Cassius seem to be talking about in this scene?

Why does Cassius call Caesar “vile”?

Why do Cinna, Cassius, and Casca want to get Brutus on their side?


Act 2, Scene I Study Guide:

Why does Brutus ask his servant, Lucius, to find out whether the next day is the Ides of March?

Why is Brutus having trouble sleeping?

Why do Brutus’ visitors have their cloaks up hiding their faces as they come to Brutus’s house?

Did the group of visitors know that Brutus would join them?

Why doesn’t the group of conspirators want Cicero to join them?

Who wants to kill Mark Antony?

Who stops the group from killing him?

Why is Portia worried about Brutus?

Why does Portia remind Brutus who her father was?

Ligarius seems to think highly of Brutus. Why does he go along with him, not knowing the plan?


Day Five­ Students turn in Study Guides for both scenes at beginning of class, after copying them on the printer.


Students or the teacher will read Act 2, Scene I in class out loud, using the “pass” method.


Students will do a Word Scavenger Hunt this week.


The Word Scavenger Hunt

Today, students are going to start this contest. All students receive a rubric that explains the Word Scavenger Hunt today and complete directions.


Each group will pick objects and pictures by next week. Everyone has a week (5 days) to get these together. (by next Wednesday). Each group will receive 3 points for an actual object, 2 points for a model, and 1 point for a picture. If a drawing is used, it must be an original drawing that takes some time to make. Teams must keep absolute secrecy about their words because otherwise other groups might copy them. Each team needs to do at least 5 words, but may do more for more points. They may pick the words from any Vocabulary list sheet from any Act or Scene.


The more words the team does, the more points they will get.


Students may bring in slide shows, books, collages, picture books, newspapers or comics, and completed words will be shown on an exhibit table. Students get 20 minutes today (or half the class) to work on this project in groups. All projects and words will be graded using a Project Rubric.


Then the groups can fill out homework questions about this scene if there is time at the end of class. Groups may work on the Word Scavenger Hunt outside of class if they wish, or call each other about the project too. It is up to each group how they want to do the words. Each group member will rate the other group members on a Group Rubric as well.


Vocabulary Words for Act One, Scene III:

tempest, civil strife, incenses, ghastly, construe, perilous, heralds, faculties, monstrous, sufferance, tyrant, offal, factious, hinds, consequence, illuminate, captivity, gait, repair to, alchemy, bestow.


Vocabulary words for Act 2, Scene I:

taper, wary, adder, remorse, augmented, extremities, flint, exhalations, et cetera, lowliness, ascend, redress, petition, phantasma, visage, conspiracy, betwixt, doth, carrions, mettle, gravity, wrath, dismember, prodigies, hither, disperse, sufficeth.


  Day Six ­ Students will watch part of the movie of Julius Caesar next Friday. Today is the day that half of the student groups will give group presentations on:


1. Life and Times of William Shakespeare

2. The Globe Theater and

3. The Authorship Debate


Each presentation will take 5 minutes, and then the class will rate each group on a Presentation Rubric. All rubrics will be handed in with the student’s name on it and who filled out the rubric.

After the presentations, the class will have 15 minutes of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) in order to catch up on Julius Caesar or the Book of Choice.


Day Seven ­ Today we see the last two Group presentations ­ on:


4. Queen Elizabeth I and

  1. Julius Caesar


Each will be graded with a rubric. All rubrics will be handed in with the student’s name on it and who filled out the rubric. Group presentations will be graded using a Group Presentation Rubric.


Viewing of movie is to be next Friday (or parts of the movie... Caesar and the soothsayer, the agreement by Brutus, the assassination scene with the “et tu, Brutus”, the speech by Antony,and Antony discovering Brutus’ body at the end). We will watch the movie highlights if possible, or watch just part of the movie each Friday.


  We will read Act II, Scene II today. Groups may answer the questions on the study guide today if there is time. Study Questions for Act 2, Scene II are due next class.


Act II, Scene II Study Guide:

Why is Calpurnia dreaming about Caesar’s murder?

Why does Caesar want the priests to make a sacrifice?

Why does Caesar not take the advice of his wife, Calpurnia. and the priests?

Decius decides to interpret Caesar’s dream. Why does he do this?

Do you think that Caesar wants to have a crown? Why or why not?

Why does Artemidorus call himself Caesar’s lover in his note to him?


Day Eight


We read Act II, Scene VI, and Act Three, Scene I today.


Study Questions for Act II, Scene VI:

Portia, Lucius, and the Soothsayer


Why is Portia nervous today?

Do you think that Lucius knows what is going on?

Do you think that the soothsayer knows what will happen? Why does he want to speak to Caesar again?


Study Questions for Act Three, Scene I:

What do you think that Popilius Lena whispers to Caesar?

Why won’t Caesar let Cassius’ brother come back to Rome?

Do you think things would have been different if Caesar had let Cassius’ brother do that?

Why does Caesar say “Et tu, Brute?”

Why are the people of Rome confused after what happens to Caesar?

Why did Antony send his servant to talk to the conspirators?

Why does Antony shake hands with the conspirators?

Do you think that everyone trusts Antony? Why or why not?

Why are the conspirators letting Antony speak at Caesar’s funeral?


Vocabulary list for Act Three, Scene I:


Petition, thrive, redress, banished, tyranny, prostrate, valiant, presently, beseech, reverence, hart, spectacle, prophesy, oration


Vocabulary Keywords:


The students will be asked to help the other students come up with a “key” to one word each using imagery (chapter 6, page 242).


Each word can have a “key” to help students learn the word. For instance, the word “Tyranny” has a deep root word history. The students can link to this history to remember this word. A word picture can be formed. The students can brainstorm these word links together to come up with great ways to remember these words.


How has the word changed through time? Where did this word originally come from? The teacher can look these words up for additional interest in an etymological dictionary. The histories of each word may provide clues as to how a student can put the word into long-term memory.


Journal writing assignment:

The students will write in their journal and say if this word study method helped them more or less than the other strategy (making sentences out of the vocabulary words).


Day Nine


Today we read Act 3, Scene 2 ­ OR watch it. The journal assignment from yesterday will be put in the Journal Box.


The students will write three questions that they would like answered about Julius Caesar on slips of paper (to use the DRAW activity ­ Chapter 3, page 90).


These slips of paper will be put into a box for the class to answer. After answering the questions, the students will be quizzed on two or three of them without looking at their notes. They will write the answers on a sheet of lined paper.

Then they will hand the quiz papers in with their name at the top today.


Students will receive a synopsis of the rest of the play today ­ and touch on the last part of the play. Hope is gone, and Brutus knows that. He chooses to do the honorable thing and kill himself so he can have an “honorable” death.


Study questions about Act 5, Scene 5 (Brutus’s death):

Why did Brutus want his servant to help him with the sword?

Why didn’t Brutus just give up and live?

Do you think that Brutus regretted joining the conspirators before he died?

Why did Caesar’s ghost visit him earlier in the play?

Why did Antony say that Brutus was “the noblest Roman of them all”?

Day Ten

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt word projects are due today. Each group will show the words and projects to the rest of the class. Half of the class will present today, and the other half tomorrow. Each group has 5 minutes to show the project to the class. Students will grade each project using a rubric.


Day Eleven

We will share the other group projects with the class if they are not already done.

Students will start a webquest project in the computer lab today that will be due on Monday.


Day Twelve This will be an independent study day for groups who are doing the webquest activity in the computer lab. The second half of the class will include at least 15 minutes of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). Students may choose Julius Caesar or their Independent Reading book of choice. A reminder: Final Julius Caesar notebooks will be due next Tuesday, along with each Students’ Personal Growth Plan chapter. All folders will be graded using a rubric. 


Day 13

Today we show the Independent Projects ­ anyone who has completed an Independent Julius Caesar project will show the class what they did. Everyone gets 5 minutes to present, and will be graded by the other class members using a rubric.


Also today we will see an overview (or part One) of the Julius Caesar movie if there is time. (clips). Final folders are due tomorrow.


Day 14

Today we will collect all Julius Caesar folders. Students will include all Extra Credit projects along with the folders, which will have the students’ Personal Growth Plan in it as a section. All folders must include:


  1. The student’s name
  2. A title page
  3. A table of contents
  4. The Folder Rubric
  5. All journal entries
  6. Julius Caesar drawings/illustrations or additional projects
  7. The Personal Growth plan
  8. All corrected papers and assignments


All folders will go on the Teacher Cart.


Homework Journal Writing: What things does Julius Caesar make you think about in the modern day world? Do you think there are modern day “Caesars”? Explain your answer.

Do you believe that the President of the United States is anything like Caesar was? Why or why not?


We will discuss the class reaction to the entire play.

Did the class enjoy this play so far?

How could this Unit be improved for next year to make it more fun? The students will write the answers to these questions in their Julius Caesar folders.


A glossary of Elizabethan words used in the play

“Julius Caesar”



A synopsis of Julius Caesar with other links



Another overview of Julius Caesar:



Full text of Julius Caesar online



Julius Caesar paraphrase (read with the original)



Some other activities for the class:


1. Design a memo or email message from the soothsayer to Julius Caesar.

2. Design a fax message from Artimedorus to Julius Caesar.

3. Design a fake web page for Julius Caesar.

4. Design a fake web page for the conspirators.

5. Write a scene that is not in the play, like a conversation between Portia and Brutus, where he tells her his plan to kill Caesar.

6. Draw a comic strip of one scene.

7. Write a letter to Brutus with good opinions of him.

8. Make a bulleted list of Cassius's plan to convince Brutus to join the conspiracy.

9. Make a three-column list of who is for, against, and undecided.

10. Describe Antony before and after Caesar's death.

11. Write a resume of a conspirator.

12. Develop an armed forces ad, recruiting conspirators.

13. Write Caesar's will.

14. Compare and contrast Brutus and Antony's speeches.


We can watch the rest of the Julius Caesar movie today or tomorrow.

My thanks to many other teachers freely sharing their ideas on the web for these ideas and lesson plans. You rock!




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