Focus on "Henry V":

Navigating Digital Text, Performance, & Historical Resources


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This chapter provides sample lesson plans designed for 8th-12th grade students, specifically in Georgia. Each plan shows how they connect to particular English Language Arts Georgia Standards of Excellence and provides fitting activities to build these literary skills. Each plan also includes a focus on source study and adaptation, aiding students in learning about primary and secondary sources and in applying their knowledge to film adaptations of a famous literary work. In addition to lesson plans, this chapter also includes study questions for each essay found in this OER, which educators, students, and general readers can use to further engage with these works. 

In an English and Language Arts classroom, educators encourage analysis and discussion, leading Henry V and its adaptations to be beneficial tools in building such skills for students. The text of Henry V has several instances that complicate Henry’s character. At times, he is a just king taking back his land; at others, he appears to be a violent conqueror, threatening to rape French women and ordering the slaughter of the French prisoners. Studying how each film adaptation changes Henry’s portrayal through the use of sound, body language, performance, and by restructuring the events of the play helps students understand how the directors drew from and adapted their source material to send a particular message, in this case their view on Henry’s character, to the audience. Furthermore, observing the sources Shakespeare used when writing Henry V helps students better understand the connection among literature, culture, and history, leading the play and its historical background to be a helpful resource in the ELA classroom.  

With the rise of the internet, it has never been easier to access the sources that Shakespeare used when writing Henry V, those of which are highlighted in Mikaela LaFave’s essay on sources. With emerging online databases, users have access to view a wide range of historical sources. Due to this ease of access, instructors can also use the sources of Henry V to teach students valuable research skills by creating lessons that revolve around searching for such sources.  

Each grade level includes a deepening focus on the relationship to the sources and the play. Furthermore, each lesson plan has optional assignments that educators can use or adapt to encourage engaged and active learning in their classrooms. These optional assignments aim to build upon class discussion and engage student interest, as “student interest in the work they are doing has a positive effect on their performance of the task." 

By implementing these lessons in their classrooms, educators can effectively teach the themes, literary importance, and historical aspects of Shakespeare’s Henry V in their ELA classrooms, engaging students in active learning and increasing student interest in something that students may initially believe to be beyond their reach.

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