Rogue 1 Bio

Adam Watson
Rogue 1


ADAM WATSON (NBCT) has been an educator since 2005. From 2006 to 2014, he was an English teacher at South Oldham High School (Crestwood, KY, just outside of Louisville), where he was voted Teacher of the Year in 2009. Watson's educational accomplishments, particularly in technology, have earned him various accolades, such as the cover story of Kentucky Teacher (April 2009) and a mention in NCTE's international newsletter INBOX (February 2009). He has written articles for NCTE's Classroom Notes Plus (October 2010) and the British user-created book profile website Book Drum (June 2011). In 2011, Watson founded and co-led the teacher-centered edtech support community for his district, the Oldham County Technology Initiative, or OCTI. In July 2014, Watson became the first District Technology Integration Coach of Shelby County (KY). Contact Adam via Twitter @watsonedtech or email at

When not teaching or watching the Star Wars saga, Adam enjoys writing plays, poetry, and other fiction.

How I Use Star Wars in the Classroom

My love of Star Wars began at four years old, when in 1978 I watched Episode IV at a Las Vegas drive-in. My parents took me for multiple viewings -- twice? three times? -- and upon each return home, gave me a gift of a Kenner action figure. My fate was sealed.

I have been an English high school teacher since 2005. In my classroom, it seemed natural to include Star Wars references whenever possible. Thanks to the prequels, a new generation had been introduced to Lucas's vision, and Star Wars often became short-hand for characterizations or analogous comparisons. Still, except for some scattered lessons in my Myths and Legends class (Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, Jungian archetypes -- using Star Wars as a teaching tool in such a class is easy!), I struggled to find an academically sound reason to anchor an entire English unit around my beloved universe.

Until Ian Doescher.

When I picked up Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope (hereafter referred to as WSSW), I was struck that such an attempt hadn't been done earlier. I had low expectations, really. I thought that Doescher would rely on the clever premise, crack a few jokes, and be forgettable. I was wrong. As I read, I marveled at Doescher's craftsmanship. With its meticulous iambic pentameter, sparkling allusions both Shakespearean and in-universe, and a hefty sense of wit, I became a fan. And I instantly began seeing the possibilities of using it in my freshmen English class, as a way of introduction to another unit where Romeo and Juliet would be the main text. Here's an obvious problem most English teachers face: Shakespearean language causes students to be wary or downright grumpy. What if we could introduce the language in a different, more engaging, and better scaffolded way? In addition to offering a solution to that problem, WSSW is tailor-made for a way to explore a major Core Content standard, RL.9-10.9: "Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare)." Doescher is the very definition of "a later author draw[ing] on a play by Shakespeare"! As I began creating a three week unit around WSSW, I also saw ways to teach how this "source material" of Star Wars changes in other writing formats, such as its 1981 public radio drama.

I already mentioned this "Shakespeare and Star Wars" unit is best used right before an actual Shakespearean text; in our case, Romeo and Juliet. (I should mention that Doescher makes several obvious references in WSSW to R & J, starting with "star-crossed" in the Prologue!) In an earlier unit, my freshmen students did film analysis and learned cinematic technique vocabulary. This enriched their analysis of the Star Wars film, but it's not a deal-breaker if your students have not done this work.

As a final point, I should say in closing that this unit would not have been possible without local community funding. The Oldham County Educational Foundation provides Pyramid Grants of up to $1000 for Oldham County teachers with innovative ideas for their classroom. I was fortunate enough to earn one in 2014 to pay for my copies of WSSW and other materials, and I am forever grateful for their assistance.

Available Resources

William Shakespeare's Star Wars Unit

**Lesson Plan Days 5, 7, and 10 are in-class Reading Days and do not have special instructional plans.

Additional Photos

Adam & his daughter, Ayla at Disney World

Adam's Appropriately Decorated Classroom Door

**All information shared with permission.