Ides of March Madness

Post Date: March 17th, 2010

“But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.”

–Cobbler, Julius Caesar, Act 1, scene 1, 32-33

Us nerds, us voracious readers, us dreamers of purple prose…we get psyched when a book is about to drop. We start counting days and talking about running by the bookstore, if not waiting in line, or being one of the first to click that “Buy” button.

And we get especially excited when it’s our own.

My very own book of lessons, Teaching Julius Caesar: A Differentiated Approach, will release on April 5 with the National Council of Teachers of English. In time for the Bard’s birthday: how nice is that?

Back in 2004, I brought together some colleagues and said, I have an idea for a book. Within three years, Teaching Romeo and Juliet: A Differentiated Approach was born. Now, off on my own, I’ve created the next book in the series.

Look for signs of my excitement soon: the Facebook fan page, the web site updates, where buyers can access even more content in a members-only section of the site, and invitations to spread the word among teachers who would like support for all the great work they do. And guaranteed will be much blogging.

I wonder how I should “make holiday” and “rejoice.” A toast! To Julius Caesar, from an author who speaks to us for over 400 years!

Shakespeare, you’re amazing.

Writing Prompts: Please note that writing prompts should always be pursued in emotionally-safe environments with the supervision of someone who interested in encouraging good writing, self-awareness, and reflection. A wonderful resource is Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and With Others.

© Lyn Hawks. Writing prompts for one-time classroom use only and not for publication in any form elsewhere without permission of this author.

Elementary Prompts

— What book would you stand in line to get? Why?
— Imagine you have a chance to write the first paragraph of The Best Book Ever or The Most Boring Book Ever. Write it!
— What is the perfect way to read a book? Snuggled up in a corner? With a favorite snack? With a friend, out loud? With your cat in your lap? Describe all the best things to have near you, around you, and with you when you have a great reading experience.
— Ask three people whose opinion you admire for the name of their “favorite book of all time.” Then ask three questions about the books. Do you want to read any of these books? Why?
— You can only take one book with you for the rest of life. Which one do you take?
— Who do you know is very good at reading out loud? What do they do to make a story come alive?
— Finish this sentence: The next most famous book of this year will be about…
— Watch this video of students celebrating reading. Write how you feel after watching this. (Thanks to Carol Henderson for posting this on her blog.)

Secondary and Adult Prompts

— What’s the book that has shaped you or changed you? What book do you see in your head like a movie? Why?
— What’s the perfect way to read a book? Draw a verbal picture of you reading, with your ideal set-up (sounds, sights, scents, textures, everything.
— Do you like e-books? Does reading need to be tactile, or can it be digital? Which experience suits you better?
— Where do you go for book recommendations? Why? What do you listen for in a book recommendation?
— Finish this sentence: The next most famous book of this decade will be about…
— You can only live on one book for the rest of your life — your “survival” book of literature or nonfiction to feed your soul. Which book is it?
— Watch this video of students celebrating reading. Write your reaction after watching this. Do you think music video helps get people excited about reading? Do you think publicity and knowing you’ll be seen on youtube makes reading more palatable? Do you think that in this age of online words, words, words, more people are reading than ever, so the tide is changing where reading is becoming “cool”? (Thanks to Carol Henderson for posting this on her blog.)


  1. Good stuff! You found a niche, filled it, now you’re on a roll!

  2. Thanks, Diane. The most gratifying part of writing is hearing from a reader who’s excited about something you’ve written.