ALEX Lesson Plan


A Dickens of a Time: Discovering the Victorian Period

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Alicia Driskill
System: Huntsville City
School: Challenger Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 16728


A Dickens of a Time: Discovering the Victorian Period


Before reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, students examine different aspects of Victorian Life in London through a variety of research projects requiring hands-on computer activities.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (6-8)
2. Publish digital products that communicate curriculum concepts.
Examples: Web pages, videos, podcasts, multimedia presentations
TC2 (6-8)
5. Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
Examples: word processing—reports, letters, brochures
spreadsheets—discovering patterns, tracking spending, creating budgets
databases—contact list of addresses and telephone numbers
presentation software—slideshow
TC2 (6-8)
6. Select specific digital tools for completing curriculum-related tasks.
Examples: spreadsheet for budgets, word processing software for essays, probes for data collection
TC2 (6-8)
9. Practice responsible and legal use of technology systems and digital content.
Examples: avoiding plagiarism; complying with acceptable-use policies, copyright laws, and fair use standards; recognizing secure Web sites
  • Identifying examples of computer crime and related penalties
  • Examples: computer crime—phishing, spoofing, virus and worm dissemination, cyberbullying
    penalties—fines, incarceration
  • Citing sources of digital content
  • TC2 (6-8)
    11. Use digital tools and strategies to locate, collect, organize, evaluate, and synthesize information.
    Examples: locating—Boolean searches, graphic organizers, spreadsheets, databases
    collecting—probeware, graphing calculators
    organizing—graphic organizers, spreadsheets
    evaluating—reviewing publication dates, determining credibility
    synthesizing—word processing software, concept-mapping software
    ELA2015 (8)
    2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.8.2]
    ELA2015 (8)
    4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts. [RL.8.4]
    ELA2015 (8)
    9. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of Grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently. [RL.8.10]
    ELA2015 (8)
    11. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text. [RI.8.2]
    ELA2015 (8)
    12. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories). [RI.8.3]
    ELA2015 (8)
    16. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea. [RI.8.7]
    ELA2015 (8)
    19. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the Grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently. [RI.8.10]
    ELA2015 (8)
    26. Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. [W.8.7]
    ELA2015 (8)
    27. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. [W.8.8]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will research the characteristics of the Victorian Period in London. Students will create a slideshow presentation which will depict one aspect of the Victorian Age and present to the class. Students will discuss the elements of fiction (characterization, plot, setting, themes, and figurative language) as used in A Christmas Carol.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will work cooperatively in a group to design and create a newspaper that depicts different aspects of Victorian life.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Copies of handouts (see attached), copies of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computers with Internet access (lab setting preferred, word processing or desktop publishing software such as MS Word, presentation software such as PowerPoint, LCD projector or other computer projection device


    Students will need a basic working knowledge of word processing and presentation software. Note: Before using the student newspaper sample, download and insert a picture of Dickens in the space indicated. Teacher will need to make arrangements for students to visit the media center for research as needed.

    1.)Give a brief introductory lecture on Charles Dickens and the Victorian Period in London.
    (Charles Dickens)
    A great resource page for teacher and student, links

    2.)Explain to the students that they will be conducting research in the media center and on the Internet to complete a two-part Victorian Project. The first part will be done individually and presented orally. Instruct students to randomly draw a project idea from a box (a list is attached). Each student will then write his/her name on the sign-up sheet (see attached) and include the project idea drawn from the box.

    3.)Distribute copies of the guidelines for the slideshow presentations and discuss each step with the students (see attached).

    4.)Give each student a copy of the assessment sheet and a copy of the research sheet before research begins (both attached). Be sure students understand that the research sheet must be completely filled out before they are allowed to begin designing their slideshows. Review all guidelines for the project with the students as necessary.

    5.)Show the attached PowerPoint set-up of the project. Schedule computer time for the completion of the slideshow presentations. Assist as needed.

    6.)Allow students to present their slideshows to the class. Require students to turn in the research sheets to the teacher at this time. (Using the attached rubric, assess projects as they are presented.)

    7.)Upon completion of the student presentations, introduce the short novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Discuss the importance of the PowerPoint presentations and their relevance to the story.

    8.)Read A Christmas Carol aloud in class. Lead discussions on the literary elements and vocabulary in the novel as each stave is read.

    9.)Upon completion of the novel, introduce the newspaper project. Pass out the guidelines for the project (see attached). Divide the students into groups of four to work cooperatively on this project. Returning the research sheets to the students at this time may help generate ideas and save research time.

    10.)Allow computer time for students to put their newspapers together. Remind students to follow all of the guidelines and to consult their assessment sheets.

    11.)Display finished projects in a prominent place in the classroom or media center.

    **Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

    Assessment Strategies

    Students will be evaluated on the following criteria: following written and oral directions, accuracy/completeness of work, and grammar and spelling using the attached rubric.





    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.