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Lesson Plan

Becoming History Detectives Using Shakespeare's Secret

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Becoming History Detectives Using Shakespeare's Secret

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa L. Owens

Lisa L. Owens

Issaquah, Washington


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach (Henry Holt, 2005)

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability

  • Chart paper and marker

  • Stopwatch

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ReadWriteThink Notetaker

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

ReadWriteThink Notetaker

Useful for a wide variety of reading and writing activities, this outlining tool allows students to organize up to five levels of information.


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1. Students should read the book Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach prior to starting this lesson. They can read the novel as part of a class literature unit (e.g., a mystery/adventure genre study), in literature circles, or independently.

2. Bookmark the ReadWriteThink Notetaker tool on your classroom or school computers. Check to make sure that computers have the most recent version of the Flash plug-in. (This plug-in can be downloaded for free from the ReadWriteThink.org Site Tools page.) If you are using computers in your school's computer lab, be sure to reserve sufficient blocks of time for your needs.

3. Familiarize yourself with the ReadWriteThink Notetaker tool. A prerequisite for students' use of this tool is prior experience using research to develop an outline. You will want to adapt the outlining activity to match your students' needs and abilities, providing additional instruction as necessary. Create and print a sample page for reference when discussing and modeling the tool in Session 1.

4. Bookmark the websites listed in the Websites section on the computers students will be using. Be sure to familiarize yourself with each site (and any other related sites you choose) so you can guide students to effectively use them for their research in Session 2.

5. Print and makes copies of the History Detective Notetaker: Checklist and Reflections and the History Detective: Skit Assessment to distribute to students.

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