One of the most crucial components in the "Making Caesar Fun!" project is classroom atmosphere. In this section there are suggestions for:
If the Roman military emphasizes cooperation and teamwork, why shouldn't the classroom? The students can be divided into cohortes of 3-5 students each for the entire Caesar unit. They must work together on any translation assignments, group activies, or unit projects. Their grade will be at least partially based on cooperation so that they have additional motivation to work together.
Their first assignment should be to:
A legion in Caesar's time was typically made up of three battle lines, each composed of cohorts, and auxiliary troops or calvary on either side. This can be modeled physically in a class in the following ways:
Nothing gets students more eager in a classroom than a system of rewards. The Roman military had several different awards, the most famous of which are the coronae. The corona graminea, the "grass crown," was given to the soldier who saved his entire army from a besieging enemy. The corona civica, or "civic crown," was made of oak leaves and was given to a soldier who saved the life of another in battle. The corona aurea, or "golden crown," was given to the first soldier who climbed an enemy fortification (this crown was also sometimes called the corona muralis for this reason). Minor awards for valor that could be given to any solider included the torques (necklaces), armillae (armbands), and the phalerae (embossed discs worn over armor).
You don't have to have all of these awards available, but you should have at least three or four. Each should be linked to a particular goal you have for the class. The corona graminea, for example, might be awarded to the student with the highest grade on a test or quiz. You can even link the crowns to more tangible rewards (other than getting to wear it in class): free homework passes, extra credit, etc.
Bulletin boards should be placed in prominent positions (at the front of the classroom or by the door), and should have large pictures and text. No one reads text in small print if it happens to be on a bulletin board. There are many themes for bulletin boards in a Caesar classroom, including:
You could make these boards yourself, of course, but you could also assign them to students as a project and then keep the best ones for use in future years. You can encourage students to use these boards as resources by giving them some time to examine them and then test them on that knowledge in the future.
Materials around the classroom can be very effective in promoting a proper Caesarian atmosphere. The room should look like a war room. Some items to consider including are:
Consider having these books available to students during the Caesar unit:
Bruns, Roger. Julius Caesar. Chelsea House Publishers. 1987.
Connolly, Peter. The Cavalryman. Oxford University Press. 1988.
Connolly, Peter. The Legionary. Oxford University Press. 1998.
Connolly, Peter. The Roman Fort. Oxford University Press. 1991.
Deary, Terry. Horrible Histories: The Rotten Romans. Scholastic, Inc. 1994.
Frost, Abigail. Celts: Myths and Legends. Cherrytree Books. 1994.
Jenney. Second Year Latin. 1970.
Nardo, Don. Caesar's Conquest of Gaul. Lucent Books. 1996.
Rolleston, T.W. Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race. London. 1929.
Rutherford, Ward. Celtic Lore The History of the Druids and their Timeless Traditions. London. 1993.
Simkina, M., and Simkins, Michael. Roman Army: Caesar to Trajan. Osprey Books. 1998.
Time-Life Books. What Life was Like When Rome Ruled the World. Time-Life. 1997.
Warry, John. Warfare in the Classical World. London: Salamander Books Ltd. 1980.
Wilcox, Peter. Rome's Enemies (2): Gallic and British Celts. Osprey Books. 1988.
Back to Gilbert