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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Subject ArtsDrama
Grade Level Grade 6
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards

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Unit 5, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, focuses on themes of friendship, betrayal, and leadership. Students will identify how themes are introduced and developed through a dramatic work, how a historical drama can prompt us to reflect upon events in history, and how the distinctly different experiences of reading and viewing a play can cause us to examine the events, characters, motivations, and themes in a drama in different ways and in different contexts. Through reading the play and participating in writing activities, students will reflect on how informed and active citizens should judge leaders and their actions. Lessons and activities address various aspects of a comprehensive language arts curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards–English Language Arts (CCSS–ELA): reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and morphology.

Students will read selections the from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by the English playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s history plays used historical subjects as the basis for inventive and original dramatic works that usually explored ethical, political, and dramatic themes that were relevant to the time in which his plays were written and performed. Students will consider the role of the audience, both contemporary and modern; how the audience’s expectations influenced how the material was used; and how a modern historian can use this to gain insights about historical mindsets and attitudes. Students will consider what it means to be a leader, what it means to display leadership, and how such figures shape the world around them, for better or worse. Students are challenged to consider that leaders are human beings, with human strengths, weaknesses, talents, and flaws.

A notable aspect of Shakespeare’s plays is that, because they were written in the Elizabethan era of England, much of the language is archaic and uses words, grammar, and syntax that may be challenging for readers. This unit uses the following Core Knowledge Core Classics: The Tragedy of Julius Caesar ISBN 978-1-68380-616-5, copyright © 2020 Core Knowledge.

Standards

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others’ writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.

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