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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

Teaching Shakespeare: Othello


A Shmoop study guide for Othello by William Shakespeare. Includes overview and study questions.

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Investigating Issues in Othello


This lesson was created using the LearniT-TeachiT 6E + S template for integrating technology within the curriculum.


When reading Othello, students may be drawn to the issue of race because our society still grapples with this issue today. But to focus just on ace will keep readers from exploring the other issues in the play which, along with race, help to make Othello one of the most powerful dramas to study.

To see how the many issues in the play are interrelated, the class will divide into groups and focus on one aspect of the play. They will then share their findings, looking for relationships between issues. Students will learn to analyze a piece of literature by looking at it from one perspective and then by re-evaluating what they have discovered when other layers of meaning are added.

Technology Integration:

Discovering the Internet, Video Productions, Webpage Creation

Prerequisite Experience:

Complete reading of Othello, use of Flip cameras, video editing, use of class wiki or web page, blogging, mywebspiration account, Diigo or del.ic.ious (social bookmarking http://delicious.com/) account.

Teacher Prep Time:

Teacher prep time is minimal if the wiki and blogs have already been set up and used throughout the school year.

Estimated Time for Completion:

one week


Internet-ready computer with digital video camera (e.g. Flip camera) and video-processing software.


Students will investigate issues in Shakepeare's Othello, report findings on a class wiki and their blogs, and then record a presentation of their findings using Flip cameras.

Time Management Tips:

Students will work in groups of three or four to complete this project.


An evaluation rubric for the video presentation has been attached to this lesson plan as a Word document.


Instructor will show students this video from YouTube: 


It is an excerpt from “Sanford and Son” where Lamont plays Othello. At first it would seem unrelated, but it addresses some issues that are also presented in the play.

Class discussion about the issues in the video that relate to the play. Pass around wireless keyboard and have students type their ideas. Then go to Wordle and insert the student list to create a graphic representation of their ideas.


Divide the students into small groups. Each group will examine one of the issues listed below, using the provided web sites for assistance:

  • the pathology of the evil person
  • how militarism affects characters and events
  • the role of racism throughout the play
  • the treatment of women
  • how colonialism affects characters and events
  • building and destroying reputations in the play
http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/othello/themes.htmlhttp://www.gradesaver.com/othello/study-guide/major-themes/" title="http://www.gradesaver.com/othello/study-guide/major-themes/" class="undefined">


(Note: these issues are discussed in the introduction to the New Folger edition of Othello.) Each group will look at one act each day and select lines or passages to illuminate its issue.


Each group will look at one act each day and select lines or passages to illuminate its issue.  Students will use the provided websites as reources and will share any other relevant online information with their group members using a chosen social bookmarking site, such as Diigo or del.ic.ious.

This page contains a video explaining social bookmarking to help the instructor set up accounts:  http://nortellearnit.org/resources/Web_Sites/default_page#3b1ec31f_33fa_4b7c_8876_773a404ac7b9

Students will add findings from the play and the web to the group’s space on the class wiki and explain how the information they found relates to their issue.

At the end of each day, each group will have a few minutes to read the findings posted on the wiki by the other groups.

Students will make note of recurring words, lines, or passages in a blog entry; they will also include in the blog entry new information that can help explain their issue or that works against their issue.

After all five acts have been covered, each student will write in his or her blog about the intersection of issues. How did they interrelate? Did hearing these other perspectives on the play change the student's original ideas about Othello?


Each group will compile the information they have found and create a storyboard for presenting their information using mywebspiration.com, where they can invite group members to collaborate online.

They will then record their findings using Flip video cameras.
Students may use the video tutorials about video production on the Nortel LearniT site: http://nortellearnit.org/technology/Video_Productions/

They will edit their videos using Flip video software.
Then they will present their videos to the class.

If Flip cameras or other video cameras are not available, students may create audio presentations using Garage Band on a Mac, or Audacity on Windows.  Garage Band is intuitive and has an option for creating a podcast. 

This page includes many good resources for learning to use Audacity:  http://nortellearnit.org/search?SearchString=audacity+tutorial&searchtype=keyword&x=0&y=0


An evaluation rubric for the video presentation project has been attached as a Word document.


Students could turn their videos into vodcasts and submit them to iTunes.

Students could upload their videos to YouTube or other video sharing sites.


Required Attachments:


Othello by William Shakespeare

Othello by William Shakespeare, e-Text in English. From Project Gutenberg as part of the collection of The 43 Most Frequently Taught Books in at Least 5% of Public Schools, Grades 7-12.

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Teaching Othello: Folger Shakespeare Library


Collection of lesson plans and teaching resources from Folger Shakespeare Library

Navigate to This External Web Link:

Othello Worksheets-TES


Collection of worksheets for teaching Othello from TES.