Lesson Plan

Renaissance Men and Women: An Introduction to Discussion & Communication Strategies in an Online & Blended Environment

Students will learn and practice appropriate online communication strategies and synthesize their learning about the Renaissance and Renaissance Men (and Women) in an online discussion. Teachers will need to set up a free Collaborize Classroom account.
Mary K.
Online & Blended Learning Specialist
San Diego County Office Of Education
San Diego, CA
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Students will be able to...

  1. Engage in an online discussion about the men and women of the Renaissance utilizing appropriate online communication strategies.
  2. Synthesize learning from digital and print media content into a collaborative discussion with classmates. 
  3. Reflect on their learning by creating a Voki character of one of the Renaissance Men or Women highlighted in the lesson. 

Common Core Standards for this Lesson

Grades 6-8 Literacy in History- Social Science

  1. Key Ideas and Details

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3 Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  2. Craft and Structure

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).

  3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.8 Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9 Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

College and Career Readiness K-12 Anchor Standards- Speaking and Listening

  1. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Free, Paid
  1. Watch the YouTube video "Renaissance Men" which uses the music video format "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. This will be a fun introduction to the men who characterized the Renaissance period.
  2. While watching the video (as many times as you want!) record any vocabulary, terms, or language references for which you or your classmates may need clarification. For example, have you heard of patron, purgatory, Florentine, Utopia or Bard?
  3. Investigate more about the Renaissance and Renaissance Men on Quizlet.
  4. Investigate more about Renaissance Women from this Sparknotes resource. 

2 Direct Instruction

Please read "The Dos and Don't's for Online Student Communication" on our Collaborize Classroom discussion space. (Teachers will need to create their own free discussion space on Collaborize Classroom.) Once you are at our discussion site you will learn about online communication by engaging in this practice prompt:

  1. Is there anything you would add to this list? Vote yes or no, then support your answer with a clear explanation. If you voted "yes," clearly state the behavior that you believe should be added to this list and explain how you feel it will positively impact our online discussions. If you vote "no," explain why you think this list will effectively keep our online discussions respectful and supportive.
  2. Once you have posted your response, read and reply thoughtfully to at least 2 other members of the class. Compliment strong additions to the list, ask questions, and build on ideas shared. 
  3. As part of your responses to your classmates, clearly state the Dos and Don'ts for Online Student Communication strategy you used in your response. 

Example of response to a classmate:


At first I really didn't understand what you meant in your post. You are a really good writer, so I thought I should probably go back and reread what you shared in case I missed something. And guess what? I totally missed one of your points about how you thought it was important to back up your opinion with facts. I agree with you that this will positively impact our discussions as a class.


Dos and Don'ts Strategies I used: 1. Really read your peers responses. Avoid skimming. Respect the time your peers have spent articulating their thoughts by reading carefully and thoughtfully. 2. Use each other’s names. Using a person’s name when you respond to his/her postings creates a friendly online tone.

3 Guided Practice

  1. Go to our Collaborize Classroom discussion space.
  2. Click on the discussion titled "Maintaining a Safe Space Online: Which Behaviors are Most Important."
  3. Read the list of 10 behaviors select the 3 you feel are most important to maintaining a safe space online. Explain why you think these behaviors will keep our online discussions respectful and supportive.
  4. Once you have posted your response, read and reply thoughtfully to at least 2 other members of the class. Compliment strong points made, ask questions, and/or build on ideas shared.
  5. In your responses, state the strategy you used from Dos and Don'ts of Student Online Communication or Help Students Say Something Substantial

An example was provided in our first practice discussion "Dos and Dont's of Online Student Communication"


4 Independent Practice

Discuss: Answer question 1 and either 2 or 3.  Question #4 is optional. 

  1. What do you think is the "central idea" of the Renaissance period?
  2. Women of the Renaissance were treated quite differently from Renaissance Men. What did you learn about the few women who did not fit the mold of a typical women of the time and what do you think was the key to their success and survival?
  3. Choose one of the Renaissance Men or Women highlighted in the video or from the resources provided. If you could sit down for lunch with him/her, what are three questions you would ask? (Your questions must be specific to that individual and shows evidence of your learning.)
  4. The term "Renaissance Man" is still used today. What character traits do you think a modern-day Renaissance Man would have? Who specifically could you identify as a Renaissance Man that is alive today?

Assignment Guidelines:

  1. Create an original post addressing the questions above. Your post must reflect academic language, completely answer the questions and reflect the guidelines in the rubric below. Your original post is due by Sunday 11:59 PM. 
  2. Respond to at least two of your classmates' posts. Your responses must reflect the guidelines in the rubric below. For this discussion, you will be using the Strategies for Online Student Communication we learned about earlier. Like we practiced, when you respond to your classmates (not your original post) you are required to state the strategy you used to further the conversation. Please use a Collaborize Classroom strategy from Dos and Don'ts of Student Online Communication or Help Students Say Something Substantial. Responses are due by Wednesday 11:59 PM.
  3. Reminder: you have all signed the Online Student Code of Conduct in which you agreed to adhere to the expectations of responsible discussion board etiquette.

Discussion Rubric 




5 Wrap-Up

Voki Classroom
Free to Try, Paid
  1. Create a Voki of a Renaissance Man or Woman you learned about through the video, resources or from the discussion with your peers. 
  2. Give him or her a voice that reflects the character traits of a Renaissance Man or Woman. 
  3. Make sure your Renaissance character "talks about" some of his/her accomplishments or other reasons he fits the description of a man or woman from the Renaissance period.