PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 5/8/2017 On Why You Shouldn’t Be Roommates Or Conspirators With Your BFF


Dear Families,

Friendships, even strong ones, only flourish in particular contexts (especially as we get a little older!). Here are five basic rules that everyone should follow:

  • #1: Don’t become roommates. Remember that time you got in that fight about pardoning Lucius Pella but were fine just a few hours later when you saw each other next? The two of you probably got over it so quickly because you didn’t have to spend your cool down time crammed in the same tent, with your armies amassed outside.
  •  #2: Benjamin Franklin once said, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” True, it’s a blast to stay up until the early hours playing Tesserae or dissing Lepidus, but the best part is that tomorrow night you know you’ll be able to make up that lost sleep in your own tent. Slumber parties are only fun because they end; it’s not a sustainable source of enjoyment, especially when civil war is impending.
  • #3: You love your best friend for all they are: fortes and faults. Sometimes, though, faults are easier to love at a distance. You’ve kidded each other about your bad habits in the past, but what about when you have to live with them? Your friend’s bribery-taking-and-giving addiction might have seemed like a joke to the both of you, but it won’t be when it’s time to raise an army and you need some gold.
  • #4: Don’t plan and execute an assassination together. Setting aside morality, the law, and logistics for a moment, the duo-led assassination idea has some other truly obvious drawbacks.
  • #5: Ghosts


We noticed that the brotherhood between Brutus and Cassius became more evident only after they started to argue vehemently. We decided to look at how much context really does matter, especially in powers struggles. To that end, we re-wrote, updated, and otherwise appropriated the verbal ‘fist fight’ between Brutus and Cassius, changing the characterization and scenario to look at how power differentials in relationships can shift, sometimes many times. This was also preparation for our final essay project exploring how plebeians sometimes have no power or all the power, depending on the situation. And, since we had completed 3 straight days of math tests, we really wanted to get out of our seats and act . . .

On Friday, we were finally reunited with our long lost love: current events! A few months ago on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah did a hilarious segment called, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!” to attempt to chronicle how the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t allow us to process information anymore as it moves rapidly to the next to the next to the next. Funny, but also true, so maybe not so funny 😐  At any rate, we made up for it by looking at Trump’s First 100 days in pictures . . .


And created our own reference point: the first 100 days of eighth grade! We wanted to see what we had accomplished (or left undone!) at an important interval in our own lives. Including, but not limited to:


Bard test

Turning 13

Improving in Algebra

Reading Their Eyes Were Watching God

Then, we chose an event from the last 100 days, foreign or domestic to create an illustration or political cartoon for . . .

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Cassius and Brutus aren’t the only duo whose relationship has changed. Here Antony and Octavius take some vicious swipes at each other, while Lepidus tries to keep his head down . . .


At this point in the play, there is lots of material to begin gathering ideas for the culminating essay. Creating notes that can be referenced within drafts is a great writing practice . . .

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Drafting and editing . . .

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Ms. Sacilotto


“Strike, as thou didst at Caesar. For I know when thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better than ever thou lovedst Cassius.” — Cassius  Act IV, iii