Students will be able to describe the moral conflict of Brutus and the motivations of Cassius and Casca in Act I, Scene II of Julius Caesar.
Students will be able to evaluate sources for research purposes and organize information onto notecards.
Some of my students have apparently never touched a real encyclopedia before. Today while finishing our research in the library the internet went out, and they needed to switch to old school books and enclopedias. One boy researching Roman mythology was directed to an entire encyclopedia set on “Ancient Mythology” and declared, “Oh, jackpot!” He was so excited to find it was like, “A dictionary, but with real stuff in it!” In addition to that revelation, I had way too many conversations that went like this:
Kid: Miss, I can’t find anything in this book.
Me: I’ll see if I can help. Remind me of your topic?
Kid: Daily life in ancient Rome.
Me: Well maybe you need a new book – which one are you looking in?
Kid: “Daily Life in Rome” [borrowed from the middle school library…there are cartoons in this book]
Me: Hmm…did you look in the table of contents?
Me: Did you look in the index?
Me: DID YOU READ THIS BOOK AT ALL??
Kid: [silence while aimlessly flipping pages]
Me: [stiffling humongous eyeroll and making polite suggestions that involve looking at the table of contents and the index…]
Next Kid: Miss!
[repeat previous exchange]
I rarely call them “kids” to their faces but I do occasionally call their behavior moronic, following it up with the assurance that because they are NOT morons I expect instant behavior improvement. Usually I get it, at least for a few minutes. Maybe half my kids finished all their research (16+ facts from 4+ sources), the rest ASSURED me they’d have it done by Monday. We’ll see, as it’s awfully hard to write a 3-4 page research paper with fewer than 16 facts. I don’t think many of them realize that it’s not just the notecard grade they’ll get docked on, but their rough draft and final draft will get docked for length as well. I don’t think too many of them have learned the college skills of BSing a paper on a topic on which you know nothing. That skill will come much later in their academic careers.
Next week is Homecoming, and my first period has decided they’d rather decorate my door for the contest instead of reading Julius Caesar. They told me so themselves, right after they informed me how boring Shakespeare was. I shall be girding my loins for battle starting Monday.
Also, I keep mixing up “Shakespeare” and “Caesar” in my lectures for no apparent reason other than they are now permanently connected in my brain. My students keep correcting me, saying, “You mean Caesar got assassinated.” “You mean Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter, right?” Seven weeks in and I’m already completely coming unhinged!
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