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An Introduction to Julius Caesar Using Multiple-Perspective Universal Theme Analysis
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
New Wilmington, Pennsylvania
Students begin by evaluating the universal theme of betrayal from multiple perspectives. After reading time period scenarios as well as reflecting on personal experiences, students use critical thinking skills to explore and identify interventions for each the betrayal scenario, including their personal examples. Students research Roman history, the setting of Shakespeare’s drama, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Applying this research, students write their own critical perspective of a scenario depicting plausible betrayal scenes from Roman times. As the culminating project and assessment, students create comic strips with the student interactive Comic Creator.
- Scenarios Guides and PowerPoint: Use the guides to investigate the feelings of betrayal in different places and time periods and the PowerPoint to project each scenario to the entire class during discussion.
- Comic Strip Assignment Checklist: Use this handout to explain the assignment and highlight the process for the completing the assignment.
- Comic Strip Assignment Rubric: Use this rubric to score the comic strip example and guide students when creating their comic strips.
- Comic Strip Example: Use this example to score the grading rubric with the students.
In their article, “Reading From Different Interpretative Stances: In Search of a Critical Perspective,” Leland, Ociepka, and Kuonen (2012) report a study that they conducted in which eighth grade American students were introduced to several critical perspectives while reading short stories (430). Speaking of the results, Leland, Ociepka, and Kuonen (2012) report, “The data we collected provides evidence that the activity of reading from different stances encouraged students to engage in flexible thinking and to see multiple perspectives” (436). Morgan and York (2009) support this concept by explaining that “To grow in understanding, students need to consider the views of the people whose stories are told and explore those views in the context of the world as seen through the eyes of those people” (307). Therefore, through the exploration of stories that include many different perspectives, students use critical thinking skills to empathize with people and characters who may seem very different from them (Morgan and York 308). Specifically, Morgan and York (2009) describe specific strategies as a means for role playing to introduce multiple perspectives. DelliCarpini and Gulla (2006) describe the value of inviting students to add their perspectives to the mix of perspectives in the classroom. DelliCarpini and Gulla (2006) explain, “All students can benefit from the opportunities that our story-sharing approach provides, and they can begin to understand how their unique stories add perspective to events and see the connections between their background experiences, world events, and the classroom” (49).
Because “engagement with multiple perspectives under the skilled guidance of a teacher is potentially transformative,” in this lesson, students explore multiple perspectives to address critical thinking skills involved in understanding universal themes (Morgan and York 307). The Tragedy of Julius Caesar takes place in 44 B.C.; therefore, students initially may find the lives of Julius Caesar and his contemporaries irrelevant to their lives in the 21st century. However, using multiple perspectives to investigate the universal theme of betrayal, students gain a sense of empathy for the characters experiencing betrayal and familiarity with their feelings. An additional value of this lesson is that students use otherwise hard to address critical thinking skills to develop an appreciation for differences in cultures and understanding of universal themes, while also finding relevancy in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
DelliCarpini, M., & Gulla, A. N. "Sharing Stories and Developing Multiple Perspectives in Post-9/11
Classrooms." English Journal 96(2): 47 – 51.
Leland, Christine, Anne Ociepka, and Kate Kuonen. “Reading From Different Interpretative Stances: In
Search of a Critical Perspective.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 55.5 (February 2012): 428-437.
Morgan, Hani, and Kathleen C. York. “Examining Multiple Perspectives With Creative Think-Alouds.” The Reading Teacher 63.4 (December 2009): 307-311.