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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
The Tudors' True Story
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for teachers is divided into five sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson
Extensions -- Additional activities
Community Connections -- Real world actions for students after completion of the lesson


Have your students view THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII in sections as suggested by the activity plans outlined below. Prior to the viewing, students should complete the activities indicated. Be sure to download and copy all organizers for students prior to the activities in question. In addition, be sure to preview the video, double check in advance that Internet access is functional, and preview the sites listed in the “bookmarked sites” section below.

Media Components

Video Resource:

Computer Resources:
  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.
  • Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows® 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM
    Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.
  • Software: Microsoft Office; Word, PowerPoint


Students will need the following supplies:

  • A copy of each “organizer” handout
  • Handouts of Web resources (if computers are not available in the classroom)
  • One journal per student

    Bookmarked sites:

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    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 follow.

  • 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 needed:
    1. What do you think of when one says “Tudor”; “Henry VIII”; “The Reformation”?
    2. What does the word “reform” mean and how do you think that might relate to the Church of England?
    3. Who ruled the Catholic Religion in the 15th Century?
    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):
    The Reformation
    Martin Luther
    Sir Thomas More
    Pilgrimage of Grace
    Tudor England
    Social Mores
    Social Organization
    Thomas Cromwell

    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 # 5.

    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 VIII

  • 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 on.

  • 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 their writing.

    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.

    Community Connections:
    • 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!

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students