Heroes, Villains, and Underdogs in Literature

GPS alignment - I'd like feedback - this seems kind of long IMO

Focus standards: RL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; LSV 2, 4
Other included standards: RC 2; W 1, 2, 3, 4

I want students to understand
  • the conventions of script format
  • the connection between culture, audience expectations, an artist's experiences, and the work itself
  • the similarities and differences between performing, watching a performance, and reading a work
  • connections within a work - cause & effect between events, motives for actions, nothing is extraneous
  • literary techniques used & the effects of those techniques
  • thematic connections between the work & others; and between the work & RL

Essential Questions

1)What makes a performance interesting or exciting, and how does this apply to Julius Caesar?
2)Why and how does an author create a particular work?
3)How can we make our writing more effective?
4)How does cause and effect link the events in Julius Caesar?
5)Why do characters choose to act as they do in Julius Caesar?
6)How are a script, a performance, and a film, similar to and/or different from a story in other formats?

Skills and concepts: allusion, antagonist, aside, climax, conflict, crisis, dialogue, drama, English - standard/formal, essay format (intro/body/concl), figurative, format (document), genre, irony - dramatic, irony - situational, irony - verbal, literal, main idea, monologue, poetry, prose, protagonist, resolution, rising action, setting, slang, soliloquy, sonnet, symbolism, theme, thesis, topic


1)Quiz on dramatic techniques, referencing characters & events from the play
2)Written response linked to a theme from the play (patriotism, sacrifice, ambition, vanity, revenge) - students will read a short story that illustrates a theme also found in the play, and will identify the theme and compare how the two works illustrate it, using examples from each work to support their explanation.
3)Presentation on whether or not Brutus should be held as an example for others to follow (trial format; not sure how to do this)
4)Create script from a scene in a self-selected reading novel

Learning Plan

1)Read and understand the play – use modern version at home, then watch a movie using the original language in class. Note: will need to go over & quiz on summary first; language has been a barrier to surface-level understanding, preventing further exploration
2)Write – For homework or freewrite time in class (not sure which yet), students will choose from a list of writing prompts that touch on themes in Julius Caesar (choosing a different prompt each day).
3)Provide support – Students will revise their freewrites to include examples from the play that illustrate their ideas.
4)Presentation – Projection: We will go outside to the parking lot. Students, in pairs, will start perhaps 50 yards apart. One student will begin walking toward the other. The second student should call the first one’s name. When the first student hears the second, he/she should stop walking. We will practice this twice: once with the students facing each other, then with the first student facing away.
5)Presentation – Acting: Later, the students will go to the auditorium and “scatter” through the seats, with pencil and paper (should be at least 2 seats away from anyone else in any direction). They will be called up one by one and will choose an index card from a box. The index card will have a “dramatic line” with some direction. Each student will state his/her name, then perform the line chosen. While not performing, the students will write down the names of the performers & what line each student performed. Note - I need to give students a paper with the lines written out & labeled A-H, so that they don't have to write out every line; it took too long last time. Listeners should write the performer's name & the letter of the line.
6)Script analysis – Students will discuss the format of the play; how they know who's talking, where actors are placed, how they should move, etc.

Possible movie tie-ins (cuz watching either of our Caesar films is painful at best)
Minority Report - being punished for crimes that haven't yet been committed
Star Wars Episode 2 - Palpatine's rise to power; what might have happened if Caesar had not been assassinated


Do not copy out the prompt. Write out the title and the date at the top of the page. For full credit, at least 1/2 page must be in response to the prompt. The other half may be a freewrite. Responses that stay on topic for the full page will receive extra credit.
  • Write about anything you know/ remember/ have heard about Shakespeare and what he wrote.
  • Choose oneof the statements and defend it.
    1. A powerful leader is good for a country and its people.
    2. A powerful leader is bad for a country and its people.
  • Defend or refute the following claim: Loyalty to your country is more important than loyalty to your friends.
  • Who does the protagonist in your SSR book trust? Why? Is that character trustworthy? Why or why not? Support with details from the story – cite!
  • Defend or refute the following claim: If someone is planning to do something that will seriously harm or even kill others, it is (not) okay to kill that person to prevent him/her from doing it.
  • What mistakes does the protagonist in your SSR book make? Why? Support with details from the story – cite!
  • Choose one of the statements and defend it.
    1. When a situation is really bad, it is acceptable to go outside the law to solve the problem.
    2. No one is above the law, even in a bad situation.