During this busy week, we continued our study of Julius Caesar and looked more closely at elements of plot, including character motivations, types of obstacles, and types of conflict. Students are working in small groups to create “scenelets” in which they’ll act out different parts of Act I in order to identify these three elements of plot. On Wednesday and Thursday, Sam led discussions on the political climate of Shakespeare, including looking at classic historical literary criticism. We did this in order to put this play into a social, political, and historical context and emphasize what Shakespeare’s audience would have understood as the difference between regicide and tyrannicide. Students took a comprehension quiz on Act I as a way to assess learning and identify points in need of further study. Next week, we’ll continue with our study of Act II. At the end the week, we examined an article about a production of Caesar in New York City during the summer of 2017 that cast Caesar to resemble Trump. This led to class discussions about what it means to be “artistically risky” and the idea of the play as a cautionary tale. The students continue to be thoughtful and insightful in their interpretation of the play.
We will soon begin to work on our own production of Julius Caesar, which we’ll perform on November 8 (at 2pm for the school and 6pm for the larger community). Stay tuned for more details on that exciting aspect of this project.
In other news, on Thursday mornings, while our eighth graders meet with Rachel to discuss high school plans and upcoming visits, Sam has been taking the seventh graders to spend time with the preschoolers and the kindergarteners. This big kid/little kid buddy program is off to a great start and we’re looking forward to continuing it throughout the year (and getting the eighth graders in on the fun soon, too).
On the other end of the spectrum, our eighth graders went on their first high school visit this Friday. We spent the afternoon at WIHI (Washtenaw International High School), where we sat in on classes, took a brief tour, and met with the principal, Ms. Do, to talk about the school. We also got to meet with some of our beloved SK alumni and hear about their experiences in high school.