Shakespeare's England

Unit Plan

CONTEXT: Shakespeare Research - To precede a study of a Shakespearean play (see Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar).

Jenny Wilson
Adapted by Linda Scott
College Prep-Honors
1 week

California Language Arts Content Standards
Standards Addressed in this Unit
Reading Comprehension 9/10
2.2 Prepare a bibliography of reference materials for a report using a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents.
2.4 Synthesize the content from several sources or works by a single author dealing with a single issue; paraphrase the ideas and connect them to other sources and related topics to demonstrate comprehension.
Writing Strategies
Research and Technology
1.3 Use clear research questions and suitable research methods (e.g., library, electronic media, personal interview) to elicit and present evidence from primary and secondary sources.
1.7 Use appropriate conventions for documentation in the text, notes, and bibliographies by adhering to those in style manuals (e.g., Modern Language Association Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style).
Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.4 Choose appropriate techniques for developing the introduction and conclusion (e.g., by using literary quotations, anecdotes, references to authoritative sources).
1.7 Use props, visual aids, graphs, and electronic media to enhance the appeal and accuracy of presentations.
1.8 Produce concise notes for extemporaneous delivery.
Speaking Applications
2.2 Deliver expository presentations:
  1. Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently.
  2. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and display information on charts, maps, and graphs.


Smiley Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:

If your students have internet access, then an alternative introduction to Shakespeare and his life and times can be accessed at Tramline's Shakespeare Virtual Fieldtrip or The Shakespeare Dossier.

Students choose some aspect of the age they would like to explore eg. clothing; culture; profile of Queen Elizabeth I; major events and discoveries; what kind of place was the city of London? Assign one worksheet topic to each group to ensure coverage of topic. It is expected that they will use a variety of sources - Internet, CD-ROM, print resources, etc. The reliability of different research sources could be explored by using the Thinking Critically about Research unit from English Online New Zealand.

Students will use both primary and secondary sources and prepare a written bibliography following MLA style.

Students may work in small groups or individually, eg. in a group, one student may use the Internet, one a CD-ROM and one a print resource.

Give students the worksheet with suggestions for topics they may like to study.


Students will submit a written bibliography to the teacher when they present their seminar. See the assessment rubric.


Large sheets of news print and felt pens for brainstorming.

Student Overview
Student Worksheet