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Lesson 23 "Good Words are Better than Bad Strokes"

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  9 ratings

C.K. Berryman. "Which He Did Thrice Refuse". Print, early 20th century

April 2008
Julia Perlowski, Pompano Beach High School, Pompano Beach, Florida

Plays/Scenes Covered

Julius Caesar:





What's On for Today and Why

Working in groups as either Antony's or Brutus' campaign teams, students will determine how they wish to represent their own and their opponent's camps visually and with audio. Using 5.1 as a starting place, students will examine lines 29-72 to see how each camp depicts the other. Many scenes from the entire play must be re-examined to determine just how the two characters depict themselves. Attention must be paid to how other characters see them, too.


Students will be directed to several web sites, such as: "Going Negative"  to discern differences in positive and negative campaigning; and www.rubistar.com to allow students to create rubrics.


In addition, students will have the option of using any one of a number of multimedia software (For example: PowerPoint for Macintosh, or Keynote for PC, I-movie, Photoshop, Garageband for Macintosh, or Audacity for PC Inspiration, Video and/or digital cameras). It may be necessary to instruct students on how to make use of this material. Please note that the class will have to agree on the software that every group will have access to before creating these projects.


This lesson may take four to five class periods.

What You Need

Folger edition of Julius Caesar
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

Worksheet 1 Negative Campaigning
Worksheet 2 Character Chart
Worksheet 3 Commercial input
Worksheet 4 Reflective essay
What To Do

1. Analyzing Negative Campaigns

Assign students to small groups and then ask the class to view 4 negative campaigns from " Going Negative" 

Each member of the group will be responsible for analyzing a different aspect of the negative campaign: sound, image, and voice-over for each of the three videos they will view at the website noted above (also see Worksheet 1-Campaigns for Feinstein, Wilson, Clinton). Give students time to provide feedback. Using www.rubistar.com , have students create a rubric indicating the quality aspects of negative campaigning.


2. Mining the Play for Propaganda

Have students form groups of four. Assign each student in each group a role: Brutus, Antony, Cassius, and Octavius. Have each group read 5.1. After one or two readings, have the students reading Brutus and Cassius list the aspects of negativity that they are verbalizing about Antony. Have the students reading Antony and Octavius list the negative things they say about Brutus' camp (see Worksheet 2--Character Charts). Students will use Worksheet 2 to identify those passages in the rest of the play to which the opposing camps refer.


3. Making a Negative Campaign Commercial

Have the groups of four split into two camps or production teams. Using any visual software listed above and agreed upon by the entire class, create a negative commercial of the opposing camp (see Worksheet 3--What to include in your commercial--for what must be included from the text).


4. Showtime!

Have each camp present its negative campaign commercial which will be rated by the rest of the class in terms of the rubric the students created earlier at  www.rubistar.com   . A second viewing may be conducted for the class to check to see if the image and line requirements were followed. At the end of the viewing, give students the opportunity to discuss the production elements involved in each of the presentations.


5. Change up! New Audio over Old Images

The Brutus/Cassius and the Antony/Octavius pair must exchange only their visual prsentation with one another. Using these visuals, each camp must overlay an audio that puts a positive spin on the images supplied (Worksheet 3 must be used again, this time from a positive perspetive and omitting the Image category).


6. Analyzing Positive Campaigns

Have students look at the corresponding positive ad. You may show the negative ad first. Discuss with the students how effective the audio is over the orginally negative images.


7. Showtime!

Each group shows its new positive campaign commercial. First, students will present the original negative campaign, and then they will present the new commercial with the positive spin.



Each student picks the positive commercial that, in his/her estimation, does the best job of redeeming its camp's reputation. In writing, they explain why. An optional follow-up might be that the class stages debate to end the project.

How Did It Go?
The teacher is responsible for checking textual based information by collecting the worksheet that each pair filled out. Rubrics that were created and completed by students should also be consulted. Finally, the teacher distributes a list of short reflective questions to students asking them to identify what their responsibilities were during the project and what they learned (See Worksheet 4--Reflective Essay).

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

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