Calling all Shakespeare lovers! TextWord has published a wonderful edition of Julius Caesar with an incredibly detailed teacher's manual. The student book opens with a 15-page overview covering the following topics:
This information provides all the background necessary to read and enjoy this play. The overview concludes with a ten-question CheckQuiz on the material.
- The English Renaissance
- Shakespeare's Origins
- Elizabethan Drama
- The Elizabethan Theater
- The Elizabethan Stage, Scenery, and Costumes
- Shakespeare's Stagecraft
- The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
- Julius Caesar: Martyr or Tyrant?
- Shakespeare's Sources
- The Contemporary Relevance of Julius Caesar
- The Text
On every page, copious notes and questions make Shakespeare understandable. "Helpful Definitions" at the bottom of most pages define archaic or unfamiliar words and phrases. (For example, "…lend me your ears" is defined as "listen to me.") "In Other Words" sections paraphrase Shakespeare in modern language. For example, when Antony says of Caesar, "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff," the TextWord footnote paraphrases him as follows: "If he were truly ambitious, he would not have demonstrated such sympathy."
A CheckQuiz (factual recall) and a Literary Critique (analysis questions) follow each scene. Additionally, writing and journal workshop assignments follow key scenes and all acts. Review lessons are built in, too; so by the time you reach the end of Julius Caesar, your student will be well prepared for the comprehensive test provided in the teacher's manual. This four-part test requires students to recall characters, to identify quotes (who said it, to whom, and why?), to answer short literary analysis questions, and to write two essays on theme, characterization, plot, or literary analysis questions.
The teacher's manual does not contain the text of Julius Caesar. It is well organized and clear, providing a summary for each scene and all answers to the questions in the student text. To see samples of both student and teacher books, visit www.textword.com/twbookjulius.html.
I hope TextWord publishes more individual titles in this unique format. It is much less overwhelming than their enormous literature anthologies, and I think many homeschoolers would like to see more full-length texts covered in such depth as this.