Well, much to my students' excitement, we have finally finished reading Julius Caesar.
|How can they not love a play that includes plotting an assassination and a woman swallowing fire?|
I gave them tests after each Act to ensure they were understanding it and the literary terminology associated with it, such as tragic hero, tragic flaw, theme, soliloquy, etc.
By the way, a really cool short cartoon film version of the play by Cliff Notes that I showed and they loved can be found here.
|It does a nice job of hitting all main points, as well as labeling characters and including things like persuasion and rhetoric.|
In the past I've had them write in-class essays as sort of the capstone project, but I got bored with those, so I know the kids did, too. Plus we start our persuasive writing unit very soon, so they will be writing'd out.
Instead, I decided to come up with some more creative project options and let them choose which one they want to do.
I gave them 6 choices. On the handout they received, I inserted all of these into a chart and gave a description of the requirements for each. Here, I will be more brief.
1) Write a newspaper article including interviews with characters, photos, a headline, etc. that reports on all the major happenings in the play.
2) Write a modern-day version of this play: Students should write it in play format, but update it to 2013. They can change character names, setting, etc. but the THEME must remain the same. (I used the example of updating The Taming of the Shrew to the 90s film 10 Things I Hate About You.) Then the girls gushed about Heath Ledger for a few minutes lol.
3) Write a detailed interview with three of the main characters with you as the interviewer. I am making them do at least 2 pages for this one and write detailed and accurate responses for each question that are based on info from the play.
4) Plan out your own movie version of JC, including casting all main parts with modern-day actors, coming up with a setting, deciding which scenes you will cut and planning out at least 3 songs for the soundtrack.
5) Pretend you are one of the main characters and write three separate blog entries from that person's perspective. My students got so caught up on the fact that Portia killed herself by swallowing coals, so an example I gave was they could pretend they are Portia on the day of her suicide and blog about her thoughts and feelings leading up to her decision to kill herself as one entry.
6) Pick one Act and depict it in graphic novel format. It should contain at least ten frames, the drawings should have good detail, and the words can be in modern day language, but must be accurate to the play.
On Friday, I introduced the options and had them turn in a brief proposal outlining which option they chose and some preliminary decisions they made. So far, I have one student on each option except #6, but I had two absent students who both love drawing, so I think at least one will pick #6.
I love doing projects like this from time-to-time. Not only is it more interesting for the kids and they can hopefully find an option they really get into, but it is more interesting for the teacher to be able to read a bunch of different projects, rather than almost the same paper over and over again.
These options can be easily adapted to another play or even a novel or short story, as well as other content areas altogether. Feel free to steal it and tweak as necessary!