JB + JC + FB + GE3D = A Better Mousetrap for Teaching Julius Caesar

“So, your teaching Julius Caesar and that means you’re in Rome. What do you eat in Rome — Italian Ice, right?”

Jen Brinson in AM Class

So Jennifer Brinson began her Google Earth Tour with 8 varieties of Italian Ice for my tenth grade students who are currently working on putting the characters from the play on their Fakebooks. So let’s begin with the Fakebook project.

PM Class avidly participating

I live to see an email in my inbox from Brinson because I know it likely has another great idea for Project-Based Learning. The template replicates Facebook but is actually a PowerPoint with total flexibility for editing. As we are using it, this project is an exemplar for characterization and point of view, as our Assistant Principal and former English teacher Bill Dovico noted as he viewed student work in progress. You could, however, use this template for any academic discipline and diverse content objectives. What I love most about this project is the level of my students’ engagement and the depth of their research and learning (for more engagement strategies, see Brinson’s Prezi).

Here’s the original template from Brinson via the CFF Coaches Listserv; to use the template, your students replace JF Kennedy information to reflect your project design.
Facebook Sample Page – JFK (from Jen Brinson via CFF Listserv)

Two student samples of Act 1 follow. As we build this project, each Act will add an additional requirement. For example, in Act II, characters will have to deliver status updates in iambic pentameter.

First Example from Brandon L.

Second Example from Abby S.

Brinson created a generic Fakebook Rubric and it worked perfectly for my objectives, so I merely added the project synthesis (in red) and point values for ease of student reference. Based on student feedback, we are using Fakebook for the entire play but assessing each act separately. As we add a new component to each Act, the rubric’s flexibility allows for a new objective.

Jennifer Brinson’s Fakebook Rubric

Troy Miller, SHS ’07 returns for PM visit

Part of the Fakebook template was creating a profile. To help students accomplish this task with authenticity beyond their research, Brinson created a Google Earth 3-D virtual field trip to Ancient Rome. The goal was to give students a window into the world their characters inhabited, to let them walk virtually through the same streets, to see Google’s re-creations of ancient structures. A former Social Studies teacher before accepting her position as Salisbury High School’s Instructional Coach for the past 2 years, Brinson’s depth of knowledge and first-hand travel experience enriched the commentary of the sites we visited. For those who have not traveled to Italy, GE includes a short synopsis of the site visited.

The trip began at our high school, and then we flew over the ocean to Ancient Rome. Brinson’s Field Trip of Julius Caesar’s Rome is followed by a list of the places we toured.

  1. Colosseum of Rome
  2. The Pantheon
  3. Roman Forum
  4. Arch of Septimus Severus
  5. Capitoline Hill  
  6. Piazza Navono
  7. Palatine Hill
  8. Roman Baths of Diocletian
  9. Baths of Caracalla
  10. Trajan’s Market
  11. Via Appia Antica
  12. Ostia Antica
  13. Piazza di Spagna
  14. Arch of Titus
  15. Piazza del Popolo
  16. Campidoglio
  17. Mausoleum of Augustus
  18. Appian Way
  19. Spanish Steps
  20. (Hadrian’s Wall–Great Britain wall/fortification; not in Italy–my error)
For more Google Tools, see Brinson’s wiki.

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