Julius Caesar Lesson Plan Ideas

Download free Julius Caesar Lesson Plan Ideas. Julius Caesar Activities will engage tenth grade Shakespeare students. Use multiple Julius Caesar lessons. Teaching Julius Caesar can be engaging for high school language arts students.

I add to my Julius Caesar lesson plans every semester! Why? I love teaching Julius Caesar, and creating Julius Caesar activities stretches me as an educator.

Of all literature, Julius Caesar may be my favorite to teach. The deception, the plotting, the powerful speeches, and the memorable lines make it fun for me and students. When teachers love what they teach, students get involved and enjoy the material. I’ve brainstormed and implemented many Julius Caesar project ideas, but today, I’m only giving you the ones that been incredibly successful.

Plus? I can use TONS of student choice with activities. Young thespians might find Shakespeare intimidating and fear that they won’t understand the plays, but when I give them freedom to show me their understanding, their attitudes toward the play changes. That’s why I provide plenty of Julius Caesar activities for students to show me their understanding.

I may have taught Julius Caesar more than any other piece of literature and have years of acquiring materials. What I include in my Julius Caesar lesson plans are below, and you should be able to incorporate most of these ideas into any unit.

We start with primary source materials about the real Caesar, and the way Shakespeare used them.

What are the key events in Julius Caesar’s life?

Julius Caesar’s life was marked by significant events, including his rise to power, conquest of Gaul, the crossing of the Rubicon, his dictatorship, and ultimately his assassination on the Ides of March. These events shaped Roman history and Caesar’s legacy as a powerful leader.

Julius Caesar lesson plans that inspire:

After we establish that Caesar was a real person, we dive into several activities, listed below.

Ideas for William Shakespeare and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar abound. The following ideas allow for comprehension, analysis of ethos, pathos, and logos while studying a historical figure.

These Julius Caesar lesson ideas include connecting ELA to students’ lives, building comprehension, and explaining Shakespeare and Caesar.

Connect ELA to students’ lives.

Students want to understand why they are studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and they deserve to know. Connect this famous story to their lives.

Show students that movies and books today model many Shakespearean plays. A student told me that the movie “Mean Girls” was modeled after Julius Caesar. I have still never seen the movie, but many students bring up that point. There is some validity to the connection. Anytime I can connect a difficult process (like teaching Julius Caesar) to students’ lives, I take the opportunity.

Warn students of upsetting parts. If you show the movie, some students will be bothered with blood—so warn them. Caesar’s stabbing is a bit gruesome, and the conspiracy stoops and washes in his blood. Just… tell students what they will see. By doing so, you are enhancing SEL.

Connect the plebeians to today. At the end of Act III, the crowd riots! Have students ever seen riots regarding decisions made by the government or choices influencing the government? Hmmm. . . Ask students about the implications of human behavior over time.

Connect the Roman government to today’s government. In Act IV, Brutus accuses Cassius of taking bribes—of having an “itching palm.” Do politicians ever take bribes? Do students see that in today’s government? (Yes!)

Build comprehension: vocabulary, graphics, and quizzes.

The play is difficult—no doubt. Approach the comprehension seriously with several efforts.

Help students with characters. Many characters have similar names. Make a character list or print one. Normally, I make anchor charts for married people (Brutus and Portia), then conspirators, then the sides of the war. Making an anchor chart is normally one of my first Julius Caesar activities. Sometimes, I throw our notes into a Powerpoint to share with the entire class.

Explain different uses of words. For instance, men reference each other as “lovers,” but they really mean “friends.” The conspirators accuse Caesar of being “ambitious” which today is generally a positive word. During the play, Caesar is ambitious for power, and this has a negative meaning. Important Julius Caesar activities clarify language and show students how language change over time.

Research background information. My students read Romeo and Juliet the year before reading Julius Caesar, so I don’t repeat the study of Shakespeare. We focus on the Roman government, customs, and culture. Relate this information when reading about the treatment of women, the behavior of plebeians, and overall belief systems.

My Shakespeare. Just like in my Romeo and Juliet blog post, I suggest using parts of My Shakespeare. The interviews really bring the play to the present day. Even if you don’t entirely use the website and its videos, you can use pieces to enhance your Julius Caesar activities.

Explain Shakespeare and Caesar.

In the United States, I often review British time periods. We also discuss the Elizabethan time period to explain Shakespeare’s influence. PBS has some videos to choose from. Here are more ideas.

Show a commercial. After reading Act II, discuss how Calpurnia wants her husband to stay home with her. Discuss Caesar’s famous “the valiant never taste of death but once” speech. Talk about allusions and references to Shakespeare in pop culture. Then, show them the Caesar Geico commercial.

You, too? Students always wonder how Caesar could speak the line, “Et tu, Brute?” after being stabbed. The History Channel covers that answer.

Learn about the real Caesar. Sometimes students busy themselves with Shakespeare’s portrayal of the characters, sometimes they are curios about family trees, and other times the stories of the real Julius Caesar fascinate them. I suggest the A & E retelling of Caesar’s life. Plus, it’s free.

Julius Caesar lesson plan ideas should engage modern language arts students. Bring digital & interactive Julius Caesar activities to your Shakespeare lessons. Julius Caesar lessons can teach the history, content, & theatrical aspects of Shakespeare's play. Teaching Julius Caesar can help English teachers meet literature standards in high school English classes. Julius Caesar lessons allow for scaffolded literature activities.

Final ideas:

To start the unit, I create a modified KWL chart with students. I start with building on prior knowledge because students have often heard of a few ideas surrounding Caesar: He dated Cleopatra, his friends stabbed him in the back, he crossed the Rubicon, and he died on the Ideas of March.

Sometimes students know other factoids, but other times they have misconceptions, like that “caesarean sections” are named after him. Not only does this practice activate prior knowledge, but it also allows me to clarify history. You can take many approaches while teaching Julius Caesar!

After we make the first section of our chart, we watch this ten-minute video. We take notes on what we learn about Caesar.

Because Shakespeare’s plays can be difficult, I try to present information in varying ways. I hope you can incorporate some of these Julius Caesar project ideas into your Julius Caesar lessons.

Finally, I add ideas to my Julius Caesar lesson plans every semester. I want students to relate Shakespeare to their lives, and I want them to know they can read difficult material.

Are you interested in more specific ideas for other common stories? I have ideas for Animal Farm, The Hunger Games, and Romeo and Juliet.

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  • Louis J Santo

    We did a “Caesar Blog” for every act and scene within the act. Each scene had an interesting title, like “Discon-Tent” when Brutus and Cassius have their argument in Sardis, and “Blurred Lines” when Cinna The Poet was murdered for his Bad Verses. These posts were put on display on huge 3M easel Post-Its for the whole class to see.
    The challenge of doing Julius Caesar extended beyond the mere Shakespearean English. 75% of my students speak Spanish as their primary language. However, we all LOVED the play, and are doing a review, test, fun puzzles, and an essay.

  • Lauralee (author)

    That sounds amazing, Louis! It seems you have really connected with students. Did you keep the large Post-Its? When students invest in an activity like that, I struggle to toss our creations.

    Thanks for sharing. That honestly sounds amazing.


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