When in Rome…

OK, so as I’ve mentioned a number of times, I finished off my long-term sub gig at ACHS last week. I just want to share a pretty cool assessment that I put together for the end of Julius Caesar for the English 2 Honors class.

First, how we attacked the play. We read much of the first act, and did the imagery/physicalization exercise from Act One, Scene Three; then we watched the 1955 Brando film, the portion with the First Act. Did the same with Act Two (reading in class Scene One, focusing on Brutus’ soliloquy; then reading excerpts from Scene Two, focusing on the superstition in the first part, and Caesar being swayed in the second; then a brief fly-over for the last two scenes of the play–calling out the not-so-well-kept secret of the conspiracy, as well as our evidence that Brutus had confided in Portia; followed by a viewing of the ‘55 film). Act Three we read, with a focus on Antony’s prophetic soliloquy, and exercises acting out both the assassination and a major portion of Antony’s funeral oration; then we watched the 55 film Act Three section). I then did an overview of the last two acts, hitting the high points, and focusing on the major speeches, plot points, and themes of the last two acts. And we capped it off viewing what I consider to be the best version: the 2012 Royal Shakespeare Company version, set in modern-day West Africa.

For assessment, I had the students do a close reading of either Brutus’ or Antony’s soliloquies–their choice. And then this…

They were to put together the cover of a magazine that discussed the fallout of the play. I broke down the structure and composition of major magazines of different audiences (Time, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, GQ, Rolling Stone, People and the National Enquirer); I focused on the kind of stories each magazine would put on the cover, as well as the type/style of language used.

They created their covers, and presented them as flipgrid videos, so that they could discuss the rationale for the artistic decisions they made, then they turned in the physical cover as well.

What was great about the flipgrid was it allowed them to call attention to things that didn’t turn out well in the physical cover, and discuss what they tried to do. It really helped me evaluate their covers.

Not that the covers weren’t great… [if you click on the Instragram videos (there are two in the frame) below, you’ll see some of the covers]

Check out some of the killer work from my 2H class… Julius Caesar magazine covers…

A post shared by The Bill / Shakespeare Project (@billwalthall) on

I know that next time I’ll focus more on how each magazine uses its cover (I put together a great handout, but because of a time-crunch, I didn’t TEACH it as well as it needed), but for a first go, I’m pretty damned proud of the results!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *