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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (8 - 9), or Social Studies (11)
Title: Fried Green Tomatoes & Cultural Crossroads
Description: Having read Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, students will conduct research through an interview with an elderly person from the community (a field trip to local nursing home facility) to determine the validity of the author’s message (setting, cultural, and historical observations).  They will develop interview questions derived from observations and events from the book as a large group. Small student groups will use iPods/MP3s, laptop computers with webcams, or digital cameras to capture pictures, videos, or audio clips from their interview, as well as take notes. On their return, groups will compare facts from the book to findings during interview and collaborate to create a presentation that finds Flagg’s depiction of the Alabama of the Great Depression days credible or not.


Subject: English Language Arts (8)
Title: A Voice for the Silent
Description: This lesson is designed to help students make a connection between the events of World War II to the events happening in the world today. Students will compare examples of genocide from World War II and today. This lesson is taught  in conjunction with The Diary of Anne Frank in the eighth grade.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: The Giver - Authority
Description: A unit lesson using the book The Giver by Louis Lowry that will have students be researchers and recorders in the process of finding information on Utopian societies, cults and authority. Students will complete a Powerpoint, Glogster, essay or news broadcast by the conclusion of the essay.  


Subject: English Language Arts (8)
Title: Teaching Tolerance and DiversityThe Diary of Anne Frank
Description: The aims of this unit are to develop an altruistic attitude which enriches the life of the student through enhanced insight into different social patterns and ways of life. I want my students to be reflective thinkers who are principled, open-minded, caring, and balanced communicators. Students will be given the opportunity to use a multimedia tool of their choice to illustrate the knowledge gained through the reading of Anne Frank. Topics for the project will include, but are not limited to; modern day genocide, discrimination of any group of people, diversity in the community and the attitudes presented by the community, and how different cultures impact varying social patterns.


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 - 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,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: 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,Social Studies
Title: The Industrial Age in America: Robber Barons and Captains of Industry      Add Bookmark
Description: In this EDSITEment lesson, students research several industrialists and financiers to attempt to establish a distinction between robber barons and captains of industry. Students uncover some of the less honorable deeds as well as the shrewd business moves and highly charitable acts of the great industrialists and financiers.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Women's Suffrage: Why the West First?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this EDSITEment lesson, students compile information to examine hypotheses explaining why the first nine states to grant full voting rights for women were located in the West. The take a stand, supported by historical evidence, as to whether or not a single theory can explain why the Western states were the first to grant full voting rights to women.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Memories Matter: The Giver and Descriptive Writing Memoirs      Add Bookmark
Description: Using The Giver, students discuss the importance recorded history. This provides context for descriptive writing of students own history in a lesson that integrates personal writing, research, and literary response.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Fairy Tale Autobiographies      Add Bookmark
Description: Students read and analyze fairy tales from several cultures, identifying common elements. Choosing common situations, students write original fairy tales, using picture books as models and a peer review process.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9



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: Reading and Writing Workshop: Freak the Mighty       Add Bookmark
Description: Students use a variety of reading and writing strategies as they read Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Writing a Flashback and Flash-Forward Story Using Movies and Texts as Models      Add Bookmark
Description: Using the film The Sandlot, students are introduced to the literary devices of flashbacks and flash-forwards. They then write their own stories using those devices.
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: Persuasive Essay: Environmental Issues      Add Bookmark
Description: How can we convince others to agree with us on important issues? In this lesson, students explore relevant environmental issues and gather information to write persuasive essays.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni's Nikki-Rosa       Add Bookmark
Description: Students explore what Carol Jago calls the place where life and art intersect by reading Nikki Giovanni's poem, Nikki-Rosa, and then writing about childhood memories of their own.
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: 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: Language Arts
Title: Author Study: Improving Reading Comprehension Using Inference and Comparison      Add Bookmark
Description: Reading between the lines can be as crucial to comprehension as understanding the words on the page. Through guided author studies, students experience the benefits and the limitations of inference.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies,Language Arts
Title: Women in the White House      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students explore the role and impact of recent First Ladies through research and family interviews, and then work in groups to present a documentary portrait to the class.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Listening to History      Add Bookmark
Description: This unit of four lessons, from EDSITEment, is designed to help students tap the resource of family stories and local history by conducting oral history interviews with family members. Through a series of classroom activities, the lessons introduce students to the riches historians can discover in firsthand recollections, help them choose a topic and prepare for a productive family interview, provide tips for conducting and recording the interview, and offer suggestions for sharing their family stories in a historical narrative or report.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Metaphorical Gold: Mining the Gold Rush for Stories      Add Bookmark
Description: In this EDSITEment lesson, students research the Gold Rush era to provide authentic background for their own fictional prose. By mining online databases for primary texts and period photographs, students can explore the Klondike Stampede and glean from their visit sufficient period details to help them create their own narratives based on the Gold Rush. While the emphasis of this lesson is on history and research rather than literature, selections from Jack London's The Call of the Wild are used to provide focus and structure for students research in online databases of primary sources, and to serve as models of vivid narrative prose for students own stories.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Proverbs: At Home and around the World      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students work with proverbs from home and from around the world, exploring how these maxims are tied to a cultures values and everyday experience.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Improve Comprehension: A Word Game Using Root Words and Affixes      Add Bookmark
Description: Students study common root words and affixes, improve their comprehension and spelling, and make a card game in which they form words with a prefix, root word, and suffix.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



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