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This lesson provided by:
Author:Aaron Ball
System: Huntsville City
School: Huntsville City Board Of Education
Lesson Plan ID: 16999

Reading, Writing, and Sounder


The activities included in this lesson plan require the reading of William Armstrong's Sounder. This technology-based lesson fosters critical thinking and includes journal writing, student-led discussions with another class via video conferencing, vocabulary development, and persuasive writing.

Content Standard(s):
TC2(6-8) 5. Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
TC2(6-8) 6. Select specific digital tools for completing curriculum-related tasks.
TC2(6-8) 12. Use digital tools to communicate and collaborate at all levels from interpersonal to global.
ELA2015(6) 2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. [RL.6.2]
ELA2015(6) 3. Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution. [RL.6.3]
ELA2015(6) 27. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate. [W.6.7]
ELA2015(6) 35. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information. [SL.6.5]
ELA2015(7) 2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.7.2]
ELA2015(7) 3. Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot). [RL.7.3]
ELA2015(7) 27. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. [W.7.8]
ELA2015(7) 34. Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points. [SL.7.5]
ELA2015(8) 2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.8.2]
ELA2015(8) 3. Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. [RL.8.3]
ELA2015(8) 27. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. [W.8.8]
ELA2015(8) 34. Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. [SL.8.5]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will read Sounder and record reactions to each chapter of the novel in a journal. Students will work in a group to create questions which require critical thinking and literary analysis for one chapter of the novel. Students will lead a discussion of a selected chapter using prepared questions and notes. Students will define vocabulary words and complete an online activity using them. Students will participate in a video conference with a collaborating class. Students will write a letter to the editor defending an opinion of a literary character.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will work cooperatively in a group.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: Greater than 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Copies of Sounder by William H. Armstrong, copy of the video, Sounder, VCR or DVD player

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access, printer, two way (voice and video) Distance Learning equipment, LCD projector or large computer monitor


Students will need a review of the persuasive essay, introduction to the reading journal, and an introduction to the time period of the novel and its author, William H. Armstrong. The teacher will need to make arrangements to collaborate with another class through videoconference, meeting, etc. (see step 4). Examples of good discussion questions may be found at this site.

1.)Assign the reading of the novel Sounder by William H. Armstrong. As students read the novel, they should make notations in their reading journals. Encourage students to note their reactions to the story, questions raised by the story, and observations of the elements of story as they appear. Conduct journal checks as needed.
(Reading Journals)
A lesson plan with a list of sample questions to get kids started keeping a reading journal, list from Writing Process Activities Kit from Teacher Vision

2.)After everyone has read the novel and taken a basic comprehension quiz such as the one attached, divide the class into eight groups, one for each chapter of the book. (For smaller classes, assign two chapters per group. A group's chapters need not be sequential ones.)
Each group will discuss its chapter and develop questions about the assigned chapter. Questions should be those which provoke thought, generate discussion, and require critical thinking. (These questions will be used in the distance learning activity.)

3.)After group discussions, assign the writing of a persuasive letter to the editor in defense of the father's actions. The letter may call for the early release of the father, exoneration of the crime, etc. An assignment sheet is attached.
Once the letter has been written, direct students to exchange letters with a classmate for peer review. Each letter should contain the elements outlined in the letter writing activity sheet.
(Web English Teacher)
Lessons on teaching argument and persuasive writing

4.)Arrange a video conference with a collaborating school. (If this technology is not available, arrange for two classes to meet together in a single location large enough for both.)
Pair each of the eight groups to compare and contrast the previously developed questions. Students should introduce themselves to each other, discuss 2 questions from each group, and share the reading of the top 3 letters to the editor from each location. Each group member should participate.
Be sure to hold a follow-up class discussion after the two classes meet to discuss new ideas gained, impressions of the other class, etc. (an evaluation rubric is attached).

5.)For a fun vocabulary activity, schedule computer time for students to create crossword puzzles using the words on the attached list. Allow students to define the words on the word list using an online dictionary such as . The list could be divided among the groups to save time. Definitions can then be shared. Once the definitions have been completed, students should randomly choose between 25 and 50 words with which to make a crossword puzzle at the following website. Have students exchange puzzles as their vocabulary quiz.
(Puzzle Maker)
This site gives the user free access to make different types of puzzles.

6.)To end the study, show the video of Sounder. Assign a journal entry in which students review the film version of the book.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. Sounder Quiz.doc
letter to the editor.doc
word list.doc
video conference rubric.xls
Assessment Strategies:

Students will be assessed through a reading quiz (see attached or take the APTPlus multiple-choice quiz on line), participation in discussion, a grade-appropriate rubric for letter to the editor, and crossword puzzle.


Students could develop a slideshow presentation for the group report. Students may access an online thesaurus, such as, for synonyms of words on the word list. The teacher can gain additional ideas for teaching the book at Web English Teacher.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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