Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prepostions Lesson Plan

Prepositions Lesson Plan

Grade Level: 3-4

Content Standards: Applying English Language Conventions 4.3- Students use standard English for composing and revising written text.
  • Use correct placement of prepositions.

Learner Background: Students should have a concrete understanding of standard sentence structure. They should know a sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. Students will begin learning about words that modify or change a sentence, such as adjectives and adverbs. Prepositions will be the next step for improving and elaborating sentence structure.

Student Learning Objective(s):
  • Students will be able to give a concrete definition of a preposition and determine the correct place to use it in a sentence.
  • Students will be able to find examples of prepositions in different literature genres.
  • Students will be able to create their own examples of prepositions within sentences.
  • Students will use prepositions in expository writing.

Assessment: Students will be assessed through observation and writing prompts. During group work, the teacher will be observing students for appropriate use of prepositions. This will be displayed when students play Preposition Boogie using the sentences their classmates created. The teacher can monitor students and observe that they are creating sentences using prepositions and are later able to physically complete the prepositions. The teacher will also use writing prompts to have students demonstrate an understanding of prepositions and be able to use them in their writing to show where something is.

  • Elephants Aloft by, Kathi Appelt
  • Chart Paper/Word Wall
  • Index Cards
  • Writer’s Journal

Learning Activities:
Reading Elephants Aloft with the whole class and finding examples of prepositions.
Creating classroom prepositions with a partner and demonstrating through Preposition Boogie as a whole class.
Expository writing prompt done individually.

Initiation: The teacher will begin this lesson by reminding students what makes a good sentence. At this point students should remember that a sentence has a subject and that subject needs to do something. Examples may be given. Once students show an understanding of a basic sentence, the teacher can continue by explaining how sentences can be modified and made more specific. It should be explained that this is where adjectives and adverbs come in. This is also where prepositions are introduced. Prepositions show location. Examples can be given along with student examples. A word wall can be created and expanded as students learn more prepositions.

Lesson Development: The lesson will begin, after the initiation of prepositions, with a read-aloud of Elephants Aloft. Students should be looking for examples of prepositions used in this book. After the reading, students will be called upon to give examples of prepositions that they found in the book. They will be expected to justify and explain their answers. The prepositions they find can be posted on a chart for the whole class to use as a reference or used on a word wall, which will later be posted in the classroom for students to use as a resource when improving their writing. This activity will give students an idea of what a preposition is. This will lead into the next activity, which will help students use prepositions in a sentence.

Students will be divided into groups of 2 or 3 to create their own classroom prepositions. The will write sentences using a preposition that students will later be able to act out. For example: put the book on top of the desk. Each group should come up with 3-5 sentences. These sentences should be appropriate and are able to be completed in the classroom. Students will be guided by the teacher to make realistic sentences and to use prepositions in the correct way. After 15 minutes, the cards will be collected and approved by the teacher. The students will rejoin the class as a whole and complete the actions the created, as read by the teacher. In order to stay on track, students should be reminded at different intervals what the preposition is in a specific sentence.

The final activity is for independent practice on prepositions. Students will respond to a writing prompt in their writer’s journals. An example writing prompt is: Describe your favorite room of your house. Pretend that we have never been there and take us on a guided tour of that room. Make sure to use prepositions to better direct and guide us through the room. This written response should be 1-2 pages in length and focus on prepositions. Students should focus on the placement of the preposition in the sentence as well as the meaning behind it. This activity, and lesson, will conclude in a group share among classmates and the teacher.

Closure: After, or during, the group share the teacher should acknowledge the purpose of prepositions. The students should be aware that prepositions make writing more meaningful and provide better visuals. Students will be expected to make use of prepositions in all written and oral responses.

Individuals Needing Differentiated Instruction:

Low level students may want to use visuals more during this lesson. During the read-aloud/ word wall activity, the teacher may want to incorporate pictures into the word wall or chart, as students may have a better understanding through pictures rather then words. During the partner activity, lower level students should be paired up with students of different levels so they can learn and reciprocate from them. More time may be given on this assignment so specific groups, if needed. Finally, during the writing prompt, students may be encouraged to draw pictures to illustrate their room as well as write about it. They can create an illustration and label prepositions rather then write in paragraph form, if this proves to be easier.

For students that are gifted and talented or at the higher end of the spectrum, more challenging tasks are recommended. They should be encouraged to create more challenging sentences for the Preposition Boogie. They may also work independently by using different books and finding examples of prepositions used in them. For the writing prompt, they can go beyond describing one room in the house, and describe the whole house, if they wish. They may also describe their classroom, instead of a room in their house. This writing prompt can be specific or broad depending on the student.

One-Handed Catch- MJ Auch

Auch, Mary Jane(Author). One-Handed Catch   [1-HANDED CATCH] [Hardcover]. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2006. Print.
Norman Schmidt is just a normal eleven year old boy when an accident changes his life forever. While working at his family's store, a freak accident occurs, in which Norm loses his left hand. Simple things like tying his shoes become obstacles, and baseball seems out of the question. Norm adapts to his new life and comes up with creative ways to go back to his normal life. His dream of playing baseball still lingers in the back of his mind, and he spends the summer of 1946 practicing one-handed catches. Will Norm make the team? Find out in this story of resilience and determination and ask yourself: Can dreams really come true?
Key Vocabulary
  • Amputation
  • Orienteering
  • Mellophone
  • Handicapped
  • Rations
Electronic Resources

The story of Norm Schmidt is ficticious, but the story of Pete Gray is anything but. Pete Gray was the only one-armed man to play major league baseball. Students can learn more about his miraculous story and how Pete Gray looked past his disability and did what he loved to do: play baseball. Pete Gray, like Norm Schmidt, proves that nothing is impossible.

Education World offeres several lesson plans, activities, and even informational sites to help children become aware about different disabilities. From children with physical disabilities (like Norm) to those with learning disabilities, this site covers all of them. Teaching about differences isn't always easy, and this site provides support to aid teachers along the way. April is Special-Education Month, so that might be a perfect time to teach children all about diversity!

Teaching Suggestions

Before Reading: Certain vocabulary may need to be explicitly taught before reading. This book has a focus on baseball, so there is a good amount of baseball terminology that may need to be explained as well. Students may want to focus on the 1940's before reading One-Handed Catch to better understand what life was like back then. They can learn about the impact of World War II and specifically what it was like to be a kid during this time period. Students can interview grandparents to get an eyewitness account and practice using primary sources. Learning about the 1940's will help set the scene for reading One-Handed Catch.

During Reading: Students can make a character web for Norm Schmidt. They could analyze him before his accident and later how the accident changed him. What did Norm have to do differently? How did his friendships change? How did his relationship with his parents change? Students can also have literature circles to guide their reading.

After Reading: Students can write journal entries as if they were Norm. What would their lives be like? What creative ways can they come up with to accomplish tasks such as getting dressed? Students can work in small groups and each group can be given a task. It will be the groups job to determine how they can accomplish the task with one arm, like Norm. Can the task be accomplished at all, or would it have to changed entirely. Norm proved that nothing was going to hold him back, including playing baseball. Do students feel the same way?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rules- Cynthia Lord

Lord, Cynthia. Rules. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2008. Print.
What is normal? Twelve year old Cathrine is dying to know the answer. Living with a brother who has autism definitely defines normality. Catherine spends most of her time creating rules for David to follow. When Catherine meets Jason, a boy who cannot speek, she begins to understand what different really means. Just as the two become fast friends, a new neighbor moves to town. Kristi is the friend Catherine has always wanted and Jason is the friend she never knew existed. Catherine stuggles to find herself in both worlds. This heartwarming story takes a closer look at difference and finding acceptance, without rules.
Key Vocabulay
  • Autism
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Communication
  • Therapist
  • Guinea Pig
Electronic Resources

This is a fabulous website for anyone that wants to learn more about autism. Apart from statistics and how to get involved with autism, the site also has a section for family and children. There are several videos and resources to help children understand what autism is. It is likely that students will share classrooms with autisitc kids and they should know more about it so they can be aware of the disorder and welcome it into their classroom. There are links off of this site for teachers and parents as well, with tips on how to incorporate autism into the classroom, as well as how to teach autistic kids.

Author Cynthia Lord has a section on her web page that is purposefully created for teachers. A discussion guide, reproducible worksheets, interviews, and information on how to speak to a non-verbal child are all included. Interested readers can also learn about other books by Cynthia Lord, as well as read her personal biography. A must-have site for fans of Rules, by Cynthia Lord

Teaching Suggestions

Before reading: Key vocabulary should be taught before reading. Students should also have an idea of what autism is and how it impacts daily living. This should be taught before students meet David. As a class, students can preview the text using the table of contents as a guide. Each chapter is a rule that Catherine creates for David and find herself using as well. Students can make connections to these rules to their own lives. Do they use these rules too? Students can discuss the importance of rules and incorporate their own classroom rules into the discussion. Why do we have classroom rules? What purpose do they serve? What would happen if there were no rules?

During reading: Students can make character sketches of Catherine as they learn more about her. They can analyze her relationship with her brother, as well as her relationship with new friend Jason and new neighbor Kristi. Literature circles may promote and expand student interest in this book. Students can be divided into small groups and discuss each chapter with pre-determined discussion questions as their guide. The teacher should be a facilitator as well as a silent participant. Groups should stay on track and answer both literary and inferential questions. Students should think critically as well.

After reading: Using Jason's words, students can create their own illustrations to represent the words, like Catherine did for Jason. After students can practice communicating silently, using only the cards to help them. By doing this, students can experience what it is like to be non-verbal, or to communicate with someone who is non-verbal. Students can also choose their own words they would like to have if they were Jason, and they can explain the importance of the words they choose. These may be illustrated as well.
  • As a written response, students can use the rules that Catherine has written and decide if and how they are applicable in their own lives. For instance, how can the rule Not everything worth keeping has to be useful be used in your life? In other words, what do these rules mean to you? Do you think this rule is important? How does it apply to David and you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stones in Water- Donna Jo Napoli

Napoli, Donna Jo. Stones in Water. New York City: Puffin, 1999. Print.

Everyone has heard the stories about the Holocaust from the Jewish perspective. Books like The Diary of Anne Frank have painted vivid pictures in our minds on what the world was like during Hitler's reign of terror. Stones in Water tells the story from the point of view of a young Italian boy named Roberto. He is taken, along with his friends, at a movie theater by German soldiers. Forced to do the work of an adult, Roberto build holding cells for Jewish prisoners, all while his Jewish best friend Samuele works along side him. Once Roberto learns what he is really doing, he escapes and this book chronicles his journey back home. This tragic story is graphic and gruesome and viewer discretion is advised.

Key Vocabulary
There are several German, Italian, and Jewish terms and dialect used throughout the book. These words should be taught prior to reading along with these terms:
  • Swastika
  • Gondola
  • Tarmac
  • Dialect
  • Infantry/Cavalry
Electronic Resources

Donna Jo Napoli
This is author, Donna Jo Napoli's official webpage. A biography is given as well as her other novels. She has written novels for early readers, elementary school/middle school students, and young adults. Interviews with the author are given as well as contact information. Donna Jo visits many schools to promote her books, give presentations, and give writers workshops. Do you want her to come to your school?

How to teach the Holocaust
This website offers different webquests, novels, and teaching tips for educating students on the Holocast. Since this is such a sensitive subject, this web site is perfect for helping teachers lead the way on teaching about the Holocaust.

Teaching Suggestions

Before reading: There are several key words and vocabulary that should be taught prior to reading the novel. It is recommended to read this book as content material for social studies. Prior knowledge should also be activated before reading. If this book is read in a Holocast unit, students can read The Diary of Anne Frank first and compare and contrast while reading Stones in Water.

During reading: If students have read The Diary of Anne Frank first (or after) students can make a venn diagram to compare and contrast Anne Frank and Roberto. If they haven't read about Anne Frank yet, they can make venn diagrams about Roberto and Samuele (Enzo). Both of these boys were taken by German soldiers, but one is Jewish and one is Italian. How are these boys different? The same? How is the way they are treated the same? Different? Student can create character sketches or a character analysis on either of these boys while reading.

After reading: It is important to have some type of literature discussion after students read this book. Many students may be confused, or upset by what they have read and a discussion will help clarify things and encourage students to express their opinions and concerns. Students may also address these concerns in a journal entry. Students can respond to what they have learned about the Holocaust and what questions they still may have.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brian's Winter- Gary Paulsen

Paulsen, Gary. Brian's Winter. Reissue ed. New York: Laurel Leaf, 1998. Print.

Do you think you have what it takes to survive on your own in the wild, in the dead of winter no less? Thirteen year old Brian Robeson is doing just that. Stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash, Brian relies on his intelligence and his instincts to survive. He uses his prized tool, a hatchet, to help him hunt for food and build a shelter. As most readers know, Brian is rescued at the end of Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, but this book takes on the perspective if he didn't get rescued. Tugging at heartstrings everywhere, this book is epitome of survival.

Key Vocabulary
  • Flint
  • Lance
  • Hatchet
  • Venison
  • Foolbird
Electronic Resources

Literature Unit
This is a complete literature unit for students in grades 5-8 on Brian's Winter. Each chapter is broken down into vocabulary lessons, quizzes, writing prompts, extended activities, review, and multiple other activities, such as word searches, crossword puzzles, etc... There is also a section with premade journal entries so students can respond to the book in their own writer's journal.

Wilderness Survival Guide for Kids
This is a complete guide for kids on what to do in order to survive in the wilderness. If students ever go camping, this site will tell them all they need to know. There are lists on what to pack, how to find water, how to build a fire, how to signal for help, and how to plan with unpredictable weather. Unlike Brian, who had to survive with nothing, this site will help kids be prepared for anything! There are also quizzes at the end to see what kids know after learning about wilderness survival.

Teaching Suggestions

Before reading: Key vocabulary should be taught before reading the novel. A word wall would be perfect for displaying the content vocabulary. Students may also create lists of what they believe would be necessary for a survival pack. Afterwards, students can share their ideas, determine which ideas they had in common, and then vote to decide what supplies are the most important. They will really be able to see how important these things are when they read the book and see how Brian survived without them.

During reading: As students are reading, they can make a character sketch for Brian. They will be able to see, with the help of the sketch, how Brian changes throughout the story and what is responsible for these changes. They can make notes of the decisions Brian makes and decide whether or not they agree with what he did. What would they do differently?

After reading: Students can respond to several writing prompts after reading the novel. They can write from the perspective of Brian and decide what they would do if they were left stranded in the wilderness. What would they do to survive? What would they miss the most? Since the main character is roughly around their age, it is easier to empathize with him. Students can make text-to-text connections and think about what characters from other books they have read does Brian compare to. The responses are endless when it comes to Brian's Winter by, Gary Paulsen.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Maniac Magee Lesson Plan

Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee. New York: Little, Brown Young Readers, 1999. Print.

Maniac Magee Lesson Plan

Grade Level: 5-6

Content Standards:
  • Reading and Responding 1.1  Students use appropriate strategies before, during and after reading in order to construct meaning.
  • Reading and Responding 1.2 Students interpret, analyze and evaluate text in order to extend understanding and appreciation.
    • Synthesize using multiple strategies/multiple sources for new insight, e.g., Visualizing, Think-Aloud, Question-Answer Relationship, List-Group-Label.
    • Determine the importance of ideas (main ideas, details and themes) in text.
    • Make inferences based on implicit and explicit information in the text;  provide justification for those inferences.
Student Learning Objective(s):
  • Students will use before, during, and after reading strategies to comprehend the novel.
  • Students will make text-to-text, text-to-world, and text-to-self connections while reading Maniac Magee.
  • Students will ask questions about the theme and deeper meaning of the text.
  • Students will be able to give concrete definitions and examples of literary terms such as similes, metaphors, and symbolism.

Assessment: Students will be assessed through discussion and written response. During literary discussions, the teacher will spend time with each group to make sure they are on task and making connections to the text. Students should be finding concrete examples of literary terms and the charts will be assessed for this. The literary discussions should be meaningful and students should be finding the deeper meaning of the text. The writing response should be assessed for the student’s opinion, evidence and examples from the text to support the opinion, and the incorporation of literary terms.

  • Maniac Magee by, Jerry Spinelli
  • Chart paper
  • Writer’s Journals
  • Story Maps                             
 Learning Activities:

  • Whole class instruction on metaphors, similes and symbolism.
  • Students will break up into small groups and read assigned chapters, which they will then have a literary discussion on.
  • Students will complete a writing prompt in their journals independently

Lesson Development:
Prior to reading the text, explicit instruction will be given on literary terms: similes, metaphors, and symbolism. These terms should be defined and guided with examples. It should be explained why these terms are important in both reading and writing. Students should be encouraged to give examples of their own and explain why they chose these examples. At this point in time, the book Maniac Magee can be introduced and the teacher can point out that there are several examples of literary terms within the book and students should find examples while they are reading. Later they will be composing their own writing response and will be expected to use the literary terms they learned within their writing.

Students will be broken up into groups and assigned certain chapters of Maniac Magee to read. On the day that their chapters are due, they will meet in their groups and have literary discussions. As a group, they will use graphic organizers such as story maps and character sketches to guide their reading. After discussing direct reading, groups will discuss inferential questions. They will look for the deeper meaning of their chapters and make inferences based on what they have read. At the end of their discussion, students will write examples of similes, metaphors, and symbolism that they found in their chapters on large chart paper. These examples will be used as a reference when students compose their writing response.

The final aspect of this lesson is a written response. When all the small groups have finished reading the text, all students will be expected to respond to a sample writing prompt in their writers journals. A possible writing prompt is: Describe the legendary acts that Jeffery Magee performs. How do these acts impact Jeffery? How do they impact the people that he encounters along his journey? Use examples from the text to support your ideas. Students will also be expected to incorporate the metaphors, similes, and symbolism they previously found in their small groups.

Closure: To wrap up the lesson, students can rejoin the class in a final discussion, using their writing prompts as guides. Students should be encouraged to share what they have written and compare it to the writing of their classmates.

Sidenote: This lesson plan is a work in progress and will be edited and revised.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw- Jeff Kinney

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw. 1 ed. New York: Amulet Books, 2009. Print.

It's not easy being the weakest kid, just ask Greg Heffley. Greg recounts his triumphs and tribulations in his most prized possesion, his journal. This time around, Greg's father wants his son to toughen up so he enlists Greg in several "manly" activities, including boy scouts and soccer. Can Greg shape up before his father ships him off to military school? And how will he ever be able to do this and impress Holly Hills? All this and more will be found in a Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Key Vocabulary
  • Resolution
  • Sarcastic
  • Situation
  • Taunt
  • Humiliation
Electronic Resources

Official Diary of a Wimpy Kid Page
  • Kids will absolutely love this page! They can learn all about author Jeff Kinney and read an exclusive interview with him. They can get a behind-the-scenes look at how this book was created. There are videos and audio clips of different interviews with Jeff Kinney as well as a blog. This site could easily inspire kids to create their own blogs as well!
Comic Book Generator for Kids
  • Much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and other graphic novels, students can create their own comic strips using this site. Offered in both English and Spanish, imaginations can run wild. Kids can use this site to make comics for representations of other books they have read. Comics are a great tool for reading comprehension as well!
Teaching Suggestions

Before Reading: Greg Heffley uses a wide range of vocabulary words, and some might be unfamiliar for kids. These words should be pulled out and explicitly taught before reading. A word wall might be useful for this strategy. Kids can also be taught about the graphic novel genre. What is a graphic novel? Students can preview Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and with their new knowledge of a graphic novel, decide what makes this text a graphic novel. They can also share other graphic novels they may have read.

During Reading: Character sketches are perfect for this type of book. Students can choose a character (Greg, Rodrick, Manny, Mom, Dad, etc...) and create a character sketch or character map. As they read, they can add more details, traits, characteristics, etc... for the character they chose. They may be surprised by how many details they have found by the end of the book. Illustrations can be added to make their character sketches more colorful and vivid.

After Reading: Now that students have read an example of a graphic novel, it's time for them to try their hand at it. Students can create comic strips, similar to the format of Diary of a Wimpy Kid about a specific topic. This encourages kids to be creative as well as informative. Comic strips can be used across content areas as well!