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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Constructing Narratives: A Unit Plan for Taking Apart and Reconstructing Stories
Description: This lesson is designed as a project-based unit plan that will take students through the narrative process from deconstruction to construction.  After initial discussion, students will use the Interactive Story Map feature at Read Write Think to deconstruct a short story.  Students will use pictures to put together a PowerPoint-based storyboard that other students will use to construct a story.


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or Social Studies (6 - 7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Personal Heritage Project
Description: This research project requires students to connect with the past by researching both primary and secondary sources for family history. Their findings are presented in a keepsake portfolio and in a multimedia presentation comparing the historical time period of an ancestor to their own.


Subject: English Language Arts (5 - 7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Understanding Comics
Description: Using the book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud as the primary resource, this unit focuses on comics as a tool for communication. Students participate in activities which include journal and essay writing, a graphic organizer, and a distance learning field trip.


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8), or Information Literacy (K - 12), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Newspapers: Facts and Opinions
Description: In order to sharpen a student's understanding of the differences between facts and opinions, this lesson incorporates both the close reading of a newspaper and the writing of a factual article and a letter to the editor.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Language Arts
Title: Get the Gist: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area      Add Bookmark
Description: Gist is a summarizing technique that can be used in any content area. Students will learn and apply the strategy while doing online research and writing activities on news stories.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Biography Project: Research and Class Presentation      Add Bookmark
Description: Classroom biography study offers high-interest reading with a purpose, as students begin with inquiry and research, summarize and organize their information, and prepare oral presentations to share with the class.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Student Contracting      Add Bookmark
Description: Students develop learning contracts that focus on language arts education. This lesson includes a basic student contract format, sustained silent reading (SSR) extension activities, and literature response activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Colonial Broadsides and the American Revolution      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students become familiar with broadsides from the American Revolution. Broadsides were notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper printed on one side only, intended to have an immediate impact on readers. Students use resources to experience the news as the colonists heard it. They connect broadsides to events leading to the American Revolution.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Arts,Language Arts
Title: Childhood Through the Looking-Glass      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson from EDSITEment explores the vision of childhood created by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. Students begin by looking at Carroll's photographs of the real Alice for whom Carroll imagined his story and compare the image of childhood that he captured on film with images of children in our culture. Then students read Alice in Wonderland with special attention to the illustrations that Carroll made for his book, and explore the relationship between words and pictures by creating an Alice illustration of their own. Next, for contrast, students compare Carroll's vision of childhood with that presented by the Romantic poet William Blake in his illuminated Songs of Innocence and Experience. Finally, students consider the interplay of image and text in their own favorite children's literature and how the vision of childhood presented there compares to their experiences as children. Several pieces of literature appropriate for use with this lesson are suggested.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: The Boston Tea Party: Costume Optional?      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, contains three activities for students to study the events of the Boston Tea Party of 1776 and reflect upon the methodology by which historians reconstruct the past. The activities involve a close study of primary sources describing the Boston Tea Party and a consideration of the effect of bias in both primary and secondary historical sources.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, contains four activities for students to examine the contributions and perspectives of some of the less-renowned of the Founding Fathers in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. The activities involve a biographical study of four of the Founding Fathers (Ellsworth, Hamilton, Paterson, and Randolph), oral presentations arguing for their significance in the events of the period, and a puzzle to match characteristic quotes with the Founding Father responsible for uttering them.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: The Constitutional Convention: What the Founding Fathers Said      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, contains four activities for students to examine debates of the Constitutional Congress, and to reflect on what we can learn from them about democratic statesmanship. The activities involve a close study of transcripts of the debates themselves, a dramatic recreation of some of the debates, and a discussion of how democratic ideas were developed through these debates.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Why Do We Remember Revere? Paul Revere's Ride in History and Literature      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students examine the essential differences between Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's account of Paul Revere's ride and historical fact. They then reflect on why this event is so significant in American cultural history. The activities involve a study of the historical context of both Revere and Longfellow, a discussion of Longfellow's poem and its central themes and historical references, and an analysis of the ride's iconic status for the developing American nation.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: The Industrial Age in America: Sweatshops, Steel Mills, and Factories      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson from EDSITEment, students research working conditions in the Age of Industrialization and examine worker responses to these conditions. They then read arguments for and against modern sweatshops and write a position paper on sweatshops today.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Expository Escapade Detectives Handbook      Add Bookmark
Description: Students create a Detective's Handbook based on a detective mystery they have read. The handbooks include expository and descriptive writing, as well as a letter.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Finding Figurative Language in The Phantom Tollbooth       Add Bookmark
Description: Students examine figurative language in The Phantom Tollbooth and create a chart representing the literal and figurative meanings of words and phrases.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Building Reading Comprehension Through Think-Alouds      Add Bookmark
Description: Students learn components of think-alouds and type-of-text interactions through teacher modeling. In the process, students develop the ability to use think-alouds to aid in reading comprehension tasks.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Proverbs: Contemporary Proverbs      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson challenges students to craft more apparent meanings for traditional maxims by updating proverbs from around the world and writing proverbs of their own.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Beyond the Story: A Dickens of a Party      Add Bookmark
Description: Students attend a 19th Century Victorian party to celebrate Scrooge's new outlook on life. They research characters from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and assume those personas for the party.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Scaling Back to Essentials: Scaffolding Summarization With Fishbone Mapping      Add Bookmark
Description: Students work in pairs and groups as they complete fishbone maps that highlight main ideas and relevant details from a cause-effect text and then write summaries of content area texts.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Reading and Analyzing Multigenre Texts      Add Bookmark
Description: Students develop a definition of multigenre texts by exploring multigenre picture books. They brainstorm what it takes to read these texts successfully and discuss strategies needed to comprehend the texts.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Picture Books as Framing Texts: Research Paper Strategies for Struggling Writers      Add Bookmark
Description: Students use picture books as framing texts for research, freeing them from the language of encyclopedia sources and allowing them to focus their attention on the content of their papers.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Promoting Diversity in the Classroom and School Library through Social Action      Add Bookmark
Description: Students explore the effects of stereotypes by analyzing children's books. Then they create bookmarks that encourage readers to question the assumptions of stereotyped books and to seek out matching, balanced texts.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Timelines and Texts: Motivating Students to Read Nonfiction      Add Bookmark
Description: In an effort to help motivate students to read nonfiction, students are challenged to use a timeline to help them name the year when certain products were invented.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Arts - Photography - Language Arts - Journalism - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Don't Be Fooled by a Photograph      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students study images that were altered digitally to create a desired effect. Students discuss how a photograph conveys information, and how changing that photograph can change its message. This lesson plan is based on the National Geographic News story, Shark Photo of the Year Is E-Mail Hoax, which covers an urban legend based on a doctored photograph.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: The New York Times used the slogan '' All the News That's Fit to Print.''       Add Bookmark
Description: After discussing newspapers and their different points of view, students choose a current event, read editorials on the event, and share them with the class to identify the editor's point of view.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Poems That Tell a Story: Narrative and Persona in the Poetry of Robert Frost      Add Bookmark
Description: In this four-lesson unit, from EDSITEment, students read, discuss, and analyze selected poems by Robert Frost. The activities that make up this unit encourage students to draw inferences about a poem's speaker based on evidence contained within the poem and to gather evidence supporting those inferences.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: The Statue of Liberty: Bringing the ''New Colossus'' to America      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students learn about the effort to convince a skeptical American public to contribute to the effort to erect a pedestal and to bring the Statue of Liberty to New York. The activities in this lesson guide students through an investigation of primary historical documents and an analysis of the poem The New Colossus, written by the nineteenth-century poet Emma Lazarus.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Jack London's ''The Call of the Wild'': ''Nature Faker''?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students analyze Jack London's The Call of the Wild. They take a stand on whether London can be called a nature faker and on what he is attempting to communicate through his portrayal of Buck. They support their stands with historical evidence or evidence from the text. Finally, students write an essay, complete with hypothesis and textual support, on London's approach to the animal story in The Call of the Wild.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: The Big, Bad Wolf...Is This a Fact?      Add Bookmark
Description: Reading is revamped in this lesson in which students use a multimedia approach to study the books by Seymour Simon.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Making Personal and Cultural Connections Using A Girl Named Disaster       Add Bookmark
Description: Struggling to survive is one of the many themes explored in A Girl Named Disaster. As students read, they look for connections between themselves and the main character, Nhamo.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Book Report Alternative: Creating Careers for Characters      Add Bookmark
Description: Students select a job listing for a character in a book they have read, then create a resume and application letter for that character.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: He Said/She Said: Analyzing Gender Roles through Dialogue      Add Bookmark
Description: Students analyze dialogue tags used with male and female characters in a book they have read. They then evaluate the message the dialogue tags convey about gender roles.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: A Story of Epic Proportions: What Makes a Poem an Epic?      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment lesson introduces students to the epic poem form and to its roots in the oral tradition. Students learn about the epic hero cycle and learn how to recognize its pattern of events and elements--even in surprisingly contemporary places. Students are also introduced to the patterns embedded in these stories that have helped generations of storytellers remember such long, expansive poems.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Literary Characters on Trial: Combining Persuasion and Literary Analysis      Add Bookmark
Description: Students stage a mock trial for a literary character, with groups of students acting as the prosecution, defense, and jury.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Science writer Seymour Simon was born in 1931.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students select and explore a scientific topic in detail using Simon's nonfiction science books and then use what they learn to write original poetry on the topic.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Travel Brochures: Highlighting the Setting of a Story      Add Bookmark
Description: Readers are often transported to the places mentioned in texts through words and descriptions. This lesson invites students to create travel brochures about the setting of texts they have read.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: 'Esperanza Rising'': Not Being Afraid to Start Over      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson from EDSITEment students look behind the story Esperanza Rising at the historical, social, and cultural circumstances that help account for the great contrasts and contradictions that Esperanza experiences when she moves to California.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts - Reading - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Points of View in the News      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from Xpeditions, helps students sort through the myriad points of view offered on the Internet and evaluate the sources and purposes of news articles and Web sites. Students read articles from National Geographic News and answer questions describing each article's source, purpose, and viewpoint. Students then research the topics presented in an article of their choice and evaluate the resources they find. They conclude by creating checklists they can use in the future to evaluate articles, Web sites, and other information.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Myth and Truth: The First Thanksgiving       Add Bookmark
Description: By exploring myths surrounding the Wampanoag, the pilgrims, and the '' First Thanksgiving,'' this lesson asks students to think critically about commonly believed myths regarding the Wampanoag Indians in colonial America.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using THIEVES to Preview Nonfiction Texts      Add Bookmark
Description: Students become '' thieves'' in this lesson as they use a previewing strategy to '' steal'' information from textbooks and other nonfiction texts before actually reading them.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Creative Writing Through Wordless Picture Books      Add Bookmark
Description: Students are exposed to wordless picture books and begin developing story lines, both orally and in writing, using an online, interactive story map.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Book Reviews, Annotation, and Web Technology      Add Bookmark
Description: Students work in groups to create annotated book reviews with links to topics of interest related to their book.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using the Check and Line Method to Enhance Reading Comprehension      Add Bookmark
Description: Do your students skim assigned text material without even engaging their brains? The Check and Line method encourages students to think about what they are reading and monitor their own comprehension of the information.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Investigating the Holocaust: A Collaborative Inquiry Project      Add Bookmark
Description: Students explore a variety of resources as they learn about the Holocaust. Working collaboratively, they investigate the materials, prepare oral responses, and produce a topic-based newspaper to complete their research.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Let It Grow: An Inquiry-Based Organic Gardening Research Project      Add Bookmark
Description: Students learn about organic gardening by developing their own research questions, conducting research, gardening at their school, creating signs about their plants, and presenting their research to the class.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King, Jr.      Add Bookmark
Description: Nikki Giovanni's poem The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. is paired with Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech, taking students on a quest through time to the Civil Rights movement.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: I've Got It Covered! Creating Magazine Covers to Summarize Texts      Add Bookmark
Description: Start the presses! Catchy titles, eye-popping graphics, and attractive fonts are all on students agendas in this lesson as they create magazine covers to summarize a topic.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts - Writing (composition) - Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Culture Shock      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson asks students to think about how cultural customs differ throughout the world. Students research a foreign culture's customs and write stories pretending they are on vacation with a friend from the country they have researched. They pretend to travel to a new country that neither person is familiar with, and describe each person's reactions to the new culture. They consider how these reactions differ based on each person's own cultural customs and habits.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



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