Introductory Activities and Research:
It is advisable that students view the Six Wives video after a
number of introductory steps are taken. The following activity will
prepare students for the main activities (Learning Activities) that
|| Conduct a general brainstorm of the concepts of The
Reformation and Tudor England by asking your class to verbally “shout
out” everything they know about the topics. Write their comments
on a blackboard or whiteboard so that everyone can see. To encourage
student thinking, prompt them by asking the following questions, as
When the blackboard is full, circle relevant terms on the board. Tell
students that they will now work in pairs or groups, either in class
or at home, to create a research presentation, for the purpose of
“teaching” the rest of the class. Assign sub-topics to
each group, using the suggested topics below (and/or any others):
- What do you think of when one says “Tudor”; “Henry
VIII”; “The Reformation”?
- What does the word “reform” mean and how do you
think that might relate to the Church of England?
- Who ruled the Catholic Religion in the 15th Century?
Sir Thomas More
Pilgrimage of Grace
The presentations should fulfill the following requirements:
- Utilize two or more of the bookmarked sites or other Internet
sites to develop an educational presentation for the entire class
on the assigned topics. Students should not be required to submit
a report but instead be encouraged to use presentation software
and to supplement any presentation with informational handouts
for the rest of the class. These handouts might be summary bullets,
maps, diagrams, etc.
- Answers the general questions outlined on Organizer
#1 as specifically as possible.
||After presenting and explaining the project and determining
a presentation date, ask groups to convene and determine roles in
the project (i.e.: who will do what). This may be broken up by requirement
or in some other manner, but regardless, students need to be encouraged
to take into account each others’ strengths and weaknesses when
determining roles. If students have trouble with this step, impose
additional parameters on the project planning stage by requiring that
each pair (group) submit to you a work plan detailing who will be
responsible for each specific part of the project and when each part
will be finished.
|| It is advisable to begin the research process with
your students in class. The amount of class time you decide to spend
will depend on your students’ ability to work together and to
work on research projects. If they have not been exposed to much Internet
research, you may need to take them through the basics of conducting
searches. If students are more adept at research, allow them to complete
a larger portion of the work independently, for homework. Encourage
students to communicate via email to ensure that they work productively
outside of class.
||The presentations should take place in one class period,
if possible, and should be scheduled after Learning Activity I and
before students go on to Activity II and the viewing of the video.
If you limit each group’s presentation to five minutes, you
should have time to fit all into one period. Schedule more time if
you feel that it is necessary.
|| When groups are ready to present to the class, tell
students that they must take notes in their journals on each group's
presentation because they will be quizzed on the content. Encourage
students to ask questions during or after each group’s presentation.
The presentation should not exceed 5-10 minutes per group.
|Learning Activities: Each learning
activity assumes that the Introductory Activities have been completed
in advance. Before beginning any of the activities, be sure to explain
the evaluation/assessment plan as it is outlined on Organizer
| ACTIVITY 1: Introduction of the Wives
|| Break your class into six groups and assign each group
to one of Henry’s six wives. Inform each group that they will
assume the identity of this one person for the duration of the unit.
Each group should read the description of their wife (Organizer
#2) and be sure that every one in the group understands who she
is. A summary of the wives as presented in the video is presented
in Organizer #2.
Do not make any group larger than five students; if your class exceeds
30, create duplicate groups. This should be decided before the students
view any of the video.
||Inform students that they will be expected to take
notes on the presentations and view the video with an eye toward
their assigned wife because they will eventually be asked to make
up and write a story for that character.
|| Tell students that as they take notes on the presentations
and view the video, they will need to make notes about their specific
wife in their journals. They should use the questions on Organizer
#3 to help guide their note taking. Make it clear that these journals
will be evaluated for a grade and that they will be useful for their
writing later on.
| Presentations should be scheduled to
take place at this point in the unit.
ACTIVITY 2: Viewing and Taking Notes on the SIX WIVES OF HENRY
|| Show the SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII video on consecutive
days, or break the four episodes up in any way that makes most sense
for your class schedule.
|| As mentioned above, require that students take notes
on the videos in their journals, and emphasize that they should pay
particular attention to their assigned wives. Hand out Organizer
#4, which provides students with a list of items to take notes
|| You may want to test them on the material later, depending
on the need to motivate them with a test “threat.” If
you are more inclined to assess their understanding of the material
in an alternative manner, you might tell students that they will need
to use a certain number of references in the video in a later writing
assignment. In Activity III, you will require that students incorporate
some of what they learned from the presentations and the video into
| ACTIVITY III: Writing about the Culture
of Tudor England
|| Ask your students to use the notes they have taken
in their journals in Activities I and II to create a fictional short
story about their wife that assumes that the particular wife had NOT
married King Henry VIII. They should draw on information from the
class research on Tudors and The Reformation and their own notes on
their wife’s personality to create a story that addresses the
question of what her life might have been like as a regular person/
a non-royal. Would she have been happier? Sadder? Freer? When would
she have died? How? Would she have married someone else? Who?
|| Ask students to brainstorm ideas for their stories
in class. This can be assigned for homework and the writing of the
first draft can be started in class so you can provide assistance.
|| Depending on the manner in which you teach writing,
conduct peer-revision sessions with your students so that they may
improve their stories over time, or you may elect to revise your students’
work yourself. Regardless, students should go through a writing/revision
process and be given a hard due date for the final copy.
| Culminating Activity/Assessment:
|| You are encouraged to ask your students to share their
stories with the class if they so desire. You might even organize
a “reading” that is the culmination of the entire unit
and allows for some closure.
Alternatively, or in addition, you may want to encourage
some of your students to illustrate and/or perform their stories
for the class.
|| Use Organizer #5
to assess your students’ work.
If you have the time and would like to extend the outcomes of this
activity, take the writing to the publication stage by asking students
to post their work on your school/classroom Web site.
- You might consider expanding the Web-based research to include
interviews with local historians and actors. Even a visit to a nearby theater for a tour of the stage for a 15th- or 16th-century production would be beneficial.
- If you can arrange a field trip to an appropriate museum or
a visit by a guest speaker, both would enhance student understanding
of England and the period in history.
- If you have the opportunity and resources, take your students
to England to tour the castles!