Beware the Ides of March!!

Daggers done for Shakespeare project.

Daggers done for Shakespeare project.

If I could play any part in a Shakespeare drama, I would want to be the Soothsayer in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. “Beware the Ides of March!” Shakespeare is one of the units I miss most about not teaching English literature. I loved those units. I always taught them at this time of the year so that we were reading Julius Caesar over March 15. We also had a festival at the end of the unit and each student was expected to do some sort of hands on project to go with what we were reading. I opened it up to sewing, baking, woodworking, drawing or even creating a scene using toy action figures. It was lots of fun. Most years they had fun doing it. I was even allowed to keep some of the projects as students saw no value in taking them home. Some where in the basement I have a large box holding lots and lots of posters. Oh how I missed those units when I was doing middle school reading. If only I would have taken the time to find one of the stories that would have been suitable. The sad fact is the high school teachers didn’t really take any time doing those units. I also piggy backed the displays with the art or shop shows during the spring concerts. One of the most elaborate projects was done by a girl who was big into 4-H. She sewed a dress that she used as a senior fashion show project. I also loved the popsicle stick courtyards of Juliet’s home with little doll figures. There was also a bunch of toy soldiers dressed for the Julius Caesar battle and drawings of characters and castles and maps. I just can’t say how much I miss that. I didn’t take time to dig up my box of posters or even the old pictures I have of the displays, but I took one picture of two of the daggers that were made and left for me to keep. The long one was done by a student in Montpelier, ND and the other by one in Pollock, SD. They both earned an A. The projects were mainly judged on time spent and thought given to the project. Grades were mostly A or D. I did it to make them think about the time period and what the story was about. I knew that not all of them understood all of the words or lines or phrases, and some had difficulty on the test, but this would be a way to make them remember the unit and maybe someday remember it fondly enough to attend a play or movie by the bard. His stories are the best, and I still love to watch even a modernized version, just to see how it is done. May you enjoy this Ides of March.

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