June 28, 2022

How to Teach Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Wrapping Up The Play

After students finish reading Julius Caesar, they continue to apply their understanding through film analysis, a final exam, and a Socratic Seminar.

After students finish reading Act V of Julius Caesar, they will continue to apply their knowledge and understanding in the form of various assessments. We watch a film version or two, review for and then take a final exam, and have one last discussion in a Socratic Seminar.

Film Analysis

At the time of teaching this unit, I always check to see if anyone is doing a local production of Julius Caesar. If so and if a field trip is within my school’s means, students watch the play production and write an analysis or compare the play production to the written play.

Otherwise, there is both a 1953 and 1970 film adaptation of Julius Caesar which students can watch. You can decide whether to show key scenes from the film adaptation and have students compare and contrast the different representations of Julius Caesar or, if time permits, show students the entire film adaptation and decide whether students will write an analysis or compare the film adaptation to the written play.

Terminology Review

Terms have been introduced and sometimes reviewed within the acts of the play, and assessed on weekly act by act assessments. I give students a review guide of all of the terms and their definitions we discussed throughout the unit. This terminology review also includes a practice assessment to give students another chance to practice and review key plot points through multiple choice questions, fill in the blank questions, and matching questions. Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of all of the terminology they learned throughout the unit. 

Jeopardy Review Game

We also play a review game will help to reinforce the terms in the review guide. You can choose whether or not you want students to reference their review guide while playing. Up to five teams of students can play the game with five categories of questions and five questions in each category. The Jeopardy review game is great for whole group, small group, in person, and distance learning. All questions are in the form of short answer and allow students to apply their knowledge of the plot and the terminology in a collaborative and friendly yet competitive manner. 

Differentiated Assessments

Like me, you probably have students with a variety of abilities and needs. My final exam for Julius Caesar has three different levels to meet all of my students where they are. Each exam contains a passage from Act V, general comprehension questions, interpretation of Shakespearean terms, and analysis of examples of figurative language, types of speech, and persuasive techniques from the play. All three assessments include a total of 30 multiple-­choice questions as well as a writing prompt, but have a variety of supports built in such as reduced answer choices, defined terms, and sentence frames for the writing prompt.

Socratic Seminar

Last but not least, teachers can prepare students for a Socratic Seminar discussion of Julius Caesar. To hold an effective Socratic Seminar discussion, it is essential that students are given adequate time to prepare ahead of time. Teachers can assign several open-ended discussion questions and give students time to prepare, or even have students create their own questions. You can check out my approach in this blog post or for more strategies on how to hold a successful student-centered Socratic Seminar discussion, visit Teaching Strategy: Socratic Seminar | Facing History and even have students review this website ahead of time if these types of discussions are new to them.

You can find all of my resources for teaching Julius Caesar, including the materials described above that I use to wrap up the play, here.

After students finish reading Julius Caesar, they continue to apply their understanding through film analysis, a final exam, and a Socratic Seminar.

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