PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 5/1/2017 Who Let the Dogs of War Out?



Dear Families,

To understand the rise of a dictator, it’s necessary to take note of simultaneous moving parts. We may be making a pit-stop in Ancient Rome, but as we transition into our study of World War II, it all makes sense. (There are even some startling connections to current events, but I digress!).

First, we looked at women’s roles in Ancient Rome and how those roles were so very different from the men’s — be he patrician, plebeian, or servant. We also examined the conspirators closely by imagining conversation extensions through a creative writing project with an art component. Based on the secret Facebook group, Pantsuit Nation, we created our own Toga Nation to discuss everything we disliked or were unsure about in connection with Julius Caesar. In the end, the assassination seemed like a necessary evil.

We really wanted to place total responsibility for this act with Caius Cassius. He was the man with the plan, he recruited the others, and the assassination of Julius Caesar was such a singular goal for him. But the truth is, if we were to check the microchips on those war dogs, they would reveal Marcus Brutus’ contact info. It really was the most unkindest cut of all, and without Brutus, the plan would have come to nothing.

Et tu Brute.


Here, we contrasted the development of the female characters in Julius Caesar with those of the conspiring (male) senators . . .






After “becoming” a conspirator of choice, we accepted an invitation to a secret Facebook-esque group to discuss, well, the conspiracy!


Screenshot 2017-04-27 at 7.53.23 PM






We also took a look at how Julius Caesar continues to influence popular culture by viewing the Season 13 Project Runway winner, Sean Kelly’s collection . . .

On Thursday, we hit “pause” for just a moment on Julius Caesar to answer the question: what’s in your pocket? Classic Strawberry Chapstick, keys, empty candy wrappers, and poems topped the list! Of course, it was Poem in Your Pocket Day, so we celebrated by sharing some favorites from William Carlos Williams to Tupac Shakur to Dr. Seuss to Emily Dickinson — we read, discussed, and enjoyed. And poems were provided to those with empty pockets  . . .





Ms. Sacilotto


“And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.”

–Mark Antony, Act III, i