Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Days of Jane Eyre's Life

Leslie Briggs
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students watch the video [Jane Eyre] by Charlotte Bronte and visually discover the elements of the novel.


The student identifies the defining characteristics of classic literature, such as timelessness, deals with universal themes and experiences, and communicates across cultures.

The student recognizes complex elements of plot, including setting, character development, conflicts, and resolutions.

The student understands various elements of authors' craft appropriate at this grade level, including word choice, symbolism, figurative language, mood, irony, foreshadowing, flashback, persuasion techniques, and point of view in both fiction and nonfiction.

The student understands how character and plot development, point of view, and tone are used in various selections to support a central conflict or story line.

The student recognizes different approaches that can be applied to the study of literature, including thematic approaches such as change, personal approaches such as what an individual brings to his or her study of literature, historical approaches such as how a piece of literature reflects the time period in which it was written.


-Pen or pencil
-Video of the movie [Jane Eyre] (Director: Alexander Baron; BBC Video; CBS/FOX Video 1983)
-TV and VCR
-[Jane Eyre] Background Sheet
-Viewing Guide Handout
-Novel/Movie Review Sheet
-[Jane Eyre] final test


1. Secure a copy of the movie [Jane Eyre].
2. Familiarize yourself with the movie.
3. Print a copy of all handouts and tests provided in the attached file.
4. Make necessary transparencies.
5. Make a class set of tests.
6. Visit Websites to familiarize self with the history of the Victorian Era.


1. Introduce the topic. If the teacher has completed the companion lesson: Oh man, history in Language Arts? then the students are very aware of the history of the Victorian Era. Otherwise, display the [Jane Eyre] Background Sheet and summarize the Victorian Era and biography information of the author, Charlotte Bronte. (See associated file.)

2. Discuss the idea of serial story and explains that this movie will feel like you are watching a soap opera. Many books of the Victorian Era were published one chapter at a time.

3. Display [Jane Eyre]: Viewing Guide. After viewing day 1 and 2, demonstrate how to complete the guide.

4. Students copy the guide onto notebook paper. Students write in the Viewing Guide daily. Students write a quick summary of the movie’s plot events, settings, and characters. After writing the summary, students write a question about the segment, make a statement / personal connection, or make a prediction of what’s to come.

5. Start the video and follow the viewing schedule:
Tape 1:
Day 1: 26 minutes
Day 2: 23 minutes
Day 3: 11 minutes
Day 4: 24 minutes
Day 5: complete tape 1

Tape 2:
Day 1: 30 minutes
Day 2: 19 minutes
Day 3: 21 minutes
Day 4: 23 minutes
Day 5: complete tape 2

Stop the viewing each day at moments of change or of high-interest. This version of the movie was produced by the BBC and is distributed through CBS/FOX video. The copyright year of the movie is 1983, and it stars Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke.

6. Review the previous day’s viewing at the start of each new day.

7. Assign journal writings on days when viewing time is short. Possible journal writings include the following ideas:

 Would you like to visit the Victorian Era? Why / why not?
 Miss Fairfax’s nervousness when Jane wants to go on the roof and Grace Poole’s laughter are both examples of foreshadowing. What is foreshadowing, and what do you think the two examples are leading to?
 Jane is opinionated, educated, and abandoned. How have her experiences prepared her for her new job?
 Does Mr. Rochester deserve Jane’s love?
 What are things Jane has done which prove she is a strong woman?

8. Students complete a Novel/Movie Review Sheet. (See attached file.)

9. Review with students for the test by going over the Novel/Movie Review Sheet.

10. Students complete movie test.

11. Assess all student work.


The viewing log, movie review sheet, and the final test are assessed individually. The viewing log is checked for completeness. Minus 10 points per day for each missing summary and minus 5 points per day for each missing viewing strategy is one method for marking the grade.

The Movie Review Sheet is merely checked for completeness. I encourage students to fill in more information when the class is discussing the answers.

The final test on the video is scored by awarding point values for each type of question. The true/false questions are worth 1 point each. The short answer questions are worth 2 points, and the extended questions are worth 4 points. The extended questions are scored using the rubric for extended response questions on the FCAT test. The grade is calculated by dividing the number of points earned by the total number of points possible.


I have found that my students absolutely love watching the movie. Once they get used to the language of the period, they find the story easy to follow. As a matter of fact, they always want to watch more than what I show in one day.

The lesson requires that the students know the literary elements of a story or novel. If your class is unsure about the terms, a quick review of the terms should do the trick, or you may want to do a short story prior to this lesson to re-familiarize your students with the terms.

Many districts have a central media center for checking out movies. Check the movie you have available and adjust the viewing times to fit your version. You may also need to secure parent permission for your students to view the movie. Check with your media specialist to be sure.

Web Links

This site contains much helpful information.
The Victorian Web

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.