Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Oh Man, History in Language Arts

Leslie Briggs
Santa Rosa District Schools


As an introduction to a video-literature unit on [Jane Eyre], students research aspects of the Victorian Era.


The student uses strategies to clarify meaning, such as rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, and writing a grade level-appropriate report.

The student locates, organizes, and interprets written information for a variety of purposes, including classroom research, collaborative decision making, and performing a school or real-world task.

The student uses a variety of reference materials, including indexes, magazines, newspapers, and journals, and tools, including card catalogs and computer catalogs, to gather information for research topics.

The student synthesizes and separates collected information into useful components using a variety of techniques, such as source cards, note cards, spreadsheets, and outlines.

The student drafts and revises writing that -is focused, purposeful, reflects insight into the writing situation;-conveys a sense of completeness and wholeness with adherence to the main idea;-has an organizational pattern that provide for a logical progression of ideas;-has support that is substantial, specific, revelant, concrete, and/or illustrative;-demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject;-has clarity in presentation of ideas;uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the purpose of the paper;demonstrates a command of language (word choice) with freshness of expression;has varied sentence structure and sentences that are complete except when fragments are used and purposefully; andhas few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.

The student organizes information using alphabetical, chronological, and numerical systems.

The student uses electronic technology including databases and software to gather information and communicate new knowledge.


-Computers with Internet Access
-Computer Printer
-Markers & Colored Pencils
-Reference Materials
-Butcher Paper
-FL Writes! Scoring Rubric
-Copies of Assessment Sheets
-Copies of Cooperative Group Research Sheet


The teacher will do the following:
1. Gather materials for the introduction: CD’s/recordings of the classical music, copies of excerpts for sharing with students.
2. Print and copy “research assignment” sheet for all students.
3. Assign students to cooperative research groups. Limit the group to 3 to 5 students.
4. Print and copy “assessment rubric” sheet for each group.
5. Obtain a copy of the FL Writes! Scoring guide for writing.
6. Preview all web sites.


This research activity’s length will vary from school to school. Depending on the materials available in your school and local libraries and the number of computers you have access to at a given moment, you may need to adjust your lesson.

Day One

Set the mood for the start of this research project. Expose the students to the literary and musical sounds of the Victorian Era. As students enter the room, have classical music playing softly in the background. Beethoven, Tschaikovsky, and Wagner are excellent composers of the 19th century and are readily available in local music shops.

1. Teacher displays the following journal topic for students to copy and respond to in 10 minutes:

Close your eyes and listen to this music of the 19th century. Now, pretend as though you are a teenager during the 19th century (1800-1899), what is your life like?

2. After 10 minutes, the teacher asks the students to orally share what they wrote.

3. Teacher shares the following information with her students: during the 19th century children were expected to be prim & proper, little miniature adults. Now, the teacher shares some of the stories young people may have read or heard during this era. Examples:

Lewis Carroll-excerpt from [Alice in Wonderland]
Charles Dickens-excerpt from [Oliver Twist]
Craik, Dinah Maria Mulock:[The Little Lame Prince]
After reading the excerpts, ask students to share their reaction to the stories.

4. Teacher reviews the day’s activity and explains the purpose: we are going to study a major novel of the 19th century, [Jane Eyre]by Charlotte Bronte, but before you can understand and appreciate this work you need to understand the history of the Victorian Era.

5. Teacher passes out research assignment sheet & assigns cooperative learning groups. (see attached file)

Day Two – Day Five

Teacher reviews the “research assignment sheet” and students work on their assigned topic for the Victorian Era. Students will need access to the library, Internet, word processing programs, and printers. To save time, you may want to pull all book sources to have available in your room. The teacher will need to constantly monitor and facilitate the work of the cooperative groups.

Day Six – Eight

1. Students present completed bulletin boards. The audience takes notes on the history presented by the other groups.

2. Teacher displays all bulletin boards.

3. Students walk the room to see the Victorian Era.

4. Teacher assesses all completed boards. (See attached file.)

5. Students test on the history of the Victorian Era and complete individual writing assignment.


The project and individual writing assignment are scored using a rubric. The project/bulletin board’s rubric is in the file attachment. The group project is rated as “Very Good”, “Adequate”, and “Needs Work.” Each check of “Very Good equals 3 points, “Adequate” equals 2 points, and “Needs Work” equals 1 point. After each category is rated, the teacher will add the total number of points earned by the group and assign a grade. I usually divide this number by the highest number of points possible in the “Very Good” category because this is the best the students will hope to achieve.

The writing assignment is scored using the FL Writes! Rubric. A copy of the rubric can be found at the following web site:

After all presentations are complete, the students should be tested on the notes taken during presentations. Create 2 to 3 questions for each group. Use a true / false format. The score will be based on the number of questions you create. The teacher may even allow the students to use any notes taken.

The teacher has the option to count each of the assessments as separate grades, or the teacher may decide to give the student one grade only. This is factored by adding each individual grade and dividing by 3 (project, writing assignment, objective test).


The time constraints of your particular teaching situation, and the availabity of resources must be considered before you embark on this lesson.

Be sure organize your cooperative groups so that everyone can contribute something. It is a good idea to meet with each group on day 2 or 3 to be sure everyone understands the assignments. You also want to be sure that the group is actually doing the work.

To save time, you may also want to go ahead and locate all appropriate Victorian web sites.

Attached Files

The file VICTORIAN ERA. The file has three documents.     File Extension: pdf

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