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HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

March 15

Beware the Ides of March!

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Beware the Ides of March!

Grades 3 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

In Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar to "Beware the Ides of March." Caesar ignores the warning and is, in fact, murdered on March 15, called "the Ides" on the Roman calendar. Over time, the date has become associated with doom and momentous events-particularly ones with disastrous effects.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

In addition to teaching your students a famous Shakespearean play, you could use the Ides of March to explore the role of superstitions in our lives and culture.

  • Begin by asking students to list the superstitions they know: the number 13, spilling salt, breaking a mirror, finding a penny, etc.
  • Next, have them try to categorize these superstitions. For example, which ones relate to good luck, bad luck, death, happiness, etc.?
  • After they have categorized them, ask students to define a superstition. What is their purpose or role? What do they tend to relate to?
  • Finally, have students think about superstitions and proverbs. Share a list of proverbs from around the world. Which ones on the list also sound like superstitions? What are the similarities and differences between proverbs and superstitions? You can use the ReadWriteThink Venn Diagram interactive for this activity.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Stage to Screen Educator's Guide: Julius Caesar

    Turner Classic Movies creates sites for educators on several of their most popular films. This one on Julius Caesar includes activities and resources for the play and the 1953 version of the film.

  • Ides of March Marked Murder of Julius Caesar

    This National Geographic article describes the events leading up to the assassination of Caesar, including a discussion of Plutarch's, Shakespeare's, and Dante's treatments of the leader.

  • Digital Photography Challenge

    This is a site where people have sent in visual depictions of a superstition or urban legend. Be sure to preview the images to ensure they are appropriate for your students. Students might try a similar activity using photography or other media.

  • Superstitions Library

    The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal offers information about common superstitions. They also offer ideas for a Superstition Obstacle Course.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Proverbs: An Introduction

Students are introduced to proverbs and explore how proverbs are often tied to a culture’s values and everyday experience, although their meanings are not always readily apparent to us today.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Happily Ever After? Exploring Character, Conflict, and Plot in Dramatic Tragedy

By exploring the decisions points in a tragedy, students consider how the plot of the story can change if the key characters make a different choice at the turning point.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Becoming History Detectives Using Shakespeare’s Secret

Is the case closed on the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays? Student history detectives explore the evidence for and against one of the possible alternatives, Edward deVere, using the novel Shakespeare’s Secret plus a variety of online sources.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan

An Introduction to Julius Caesar Using Multiple-Perspective Universal Theme Analysis

This resource is an introduction to William Shakespeare’s tragic play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, through the study of universal themes using multiple-perspective investigations of betrayal scenarios.