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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (4)
Title: The Life of a Weird Animal!
Description: In this lesson, students will collect facts about a weird animal assigned by the teacher.  Based on the information they read, they will create a short story about the life of the weird animal.  After they create their story, they will get into partners and read each others story.  Based on their partners story, they will use a graphic organizer to determine the main idea and details of the story.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5)
Title: Don't get lost in story writing: Follow the map!
Description: In this lesson, teachers will guide the students, as a group, through the process of writing a meaningful story using a story map. First the teacher will review the parts that make up a successful story. Then, the students will be guided through the planning process in which they will make selections for each part of the story. At the end of the exercise, the students will experience how each selection they made as a group, combines to make one cohesive story. Once the group activity is complete, students will have the opportunity to plan and write stories individually using the same story map.


Subject: English Language Arts (4 - 6), or Social Studies (3 - 5)
Title: Living in the Wild
Description: In this lesson, students will compare and contrast how the Prehistoric Americans lived off the land at Russell Cave and how Sam Gribley from "My Side of the Mountain" lived off the land. This lesson plan is made possible through the ALEX and the U.S. National Park Service Partnership.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Aunt Chip and the Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Pollaco
Description: In this lesson, students will read and summarize the book by pages. After publishing, students will use their slides as sequencing exercises. This lesson plan can be adapted for any grade level or book.


Subject: English Language Arts (4)
Title: It Happened to Me: Eruption of Mount St. Helens
Description: During this lesson, students navigate different websites to become familiar with volcanoes. Students then describe a volcanic eruption by creating their own stories about what it was like during the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Mystery Writing with Alfred Hitchcock
Description: During this lesson students will explore the life of Alfred Hitchcock by navigating the Internet. Students will learn about the mysteries involved in his films and become mystery writers themselves.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Unlocking the Author in You
Description: This lesson is designed to help students develop a love for writing. Students use the attached presentation to guide them in the writing process. They will navigate a variety of websites to help them learn about writing.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Writing Activity: Harris Burdick Stories
Description: After reading The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg, students create their own stories about the pictures. By navigating the Internet, students learn more about the writing process to help them create their stories.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Narrative Writing: "A Day in the Life of ..."
Description: In this lesson, students will use what they have learned about narrative writing in an authentic situation. This is part of a welcome packet for students who are new to the school. Students will work in groups to conduct research and compose narrative essays telling about a typical day in the life of a kindergartner, first grader, etc. The project will culminate in the creation of a brochure and slideshow presentation that can be used by teachers to introduce new students to their class.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Writing with Presentation Software
Description: During this lesson students use their imaginations to create short stories. Then they create alternative endings to their classmates' stories. Students present their stories using presentation software.


Subject: English Language Arts (4 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Writing the Biographical Sketch
Description: Working in pairs, students interview each other in order to collect information about their partners. They will practice the writing process as they write biographical sketches which incorporate scanned pictures.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Leaders of Our School
Description: During the first weeks of school, students will be introduced to the administration and faculty within the school. Students will conduct an interview to determine the role of each individual in creating and maintaining a thriving learning environment. Using a digital camera and presentation software, students will record each interview, along with a digital photograph, of the school leader. Students will present the slideshow presentation during Open House. From this lesson, students will better comprehend the importance of the leadership and teamwork within our school.


Subject: English Language Arts (4 - 5), or Social Studies (6), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Who Will Be President?
Description: This lesson will allow students to experience the election process of an American President through a mock election. Students will learn the steps that must be followed in order to have an election. This is a great way to get students motivated to be involved in the election process.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (4 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: The Underground Railroad
Description: The Underground Railroad of the 1800's inspired talented writers of all ages. This lesson will integrate some of these famous writings to encourage students to develop their questioning techniques for analysis of literature while furthering their knowledge of this era in American history. As an extension of this study, students will create a class quilt to illustrate the depth of their research.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Rabbit Tales
Description: During this lesson students will be exposed to different types of writing. Students will have the opportunity to create their own story based on the characteristics of the literature they have read. Students will also learn the history of trickster tales and their significance.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (3 - 4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Creek War Journals
Description: After a study of the Creek War, students will explore perspectives of families on both sides of the war. Students will compose journal entries from a selected social class of the era to develop and exhibit an understanding and appreciation for lives led by those who lived during the early 1800's.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Sandwich Story Starters
Description: These simple activities actively reinforce the importance of writing a story that is complete: one that has a good, solid beginning; a middle of substance, detail, and high interest; and a satisfying ending.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Science (4 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Systems Every "body" Needs to Know
Description: This lesson is designed to allow students to explore the human body through a WebQuest with Internet and multimedia resources provided for research. Students will create a cell diagram, write a letter, and create a slideshow presentation to demonstrate knowledge of the subject and appropriate use of technology.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Mathematics (3 - 4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: HeartLine Express
Description: During this lesson, students will plan and execute a week-long school-wide valentine sales business. From the Grand Plan to job applications, interviews, valentine production, advertising, sales and profits students are immersed in the job experience and using a variety of math skills.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Using Vivid Adjectives
Description: This upper elementary lesson focuses on the use of vivid adjectives to enhance student writing. Students will explore vivid adjectives in a variety of activities including thesaurus use and story development software.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Information Literacy (K - 12), or Science (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Animals: Unique Creatures With Great Features
Description: During this unit of study, students will become knowledgeable of animals' characteristics, basic needs and habitats. The purpose of this unit is to educate students through investigation and research about various animals and the characteristics which link them to specific animal groups. Students will present information through models, oral reports and presentations.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Presidential Biographical Sketch
Description: Each student will choose a former President of the United States to research and present to the class. Students will develop timelines based on biographical information found through search engines on the Internet as well as in books, reference books, and periodicals. They will also write and give campaign speeches for their Presidential selections.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Exploring the World of Cinderella Tales
Description: Students will read three different Cinderella tales, including tales from Africa, China, and America. Upon completion of a Venn diagram comparing the similarities and differences of these tales, the students will complete and present multimedia presentations showing their results.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: What Are Idioms?
Description: After listening to More Parts by Tedd Arnold read aloud, intermediate school students distinguish between literal and figurative meaning by using a graphic organizer, playing an online game, and incorporating an idiom into their writing.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Multimedia Book Report
Description: This lesson gives students a clear understanding of how to create a slide show presentation using PowerPoint. The students will use this information to create a slide show book report.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5)
Title: Hershey Kiss Descriptive Essay
Description: This is a fun lesson to demonstrate the power of words to describe a simple chocolate treat prior to writing a five-paragraph descriptive essay.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: "Dear Santa, It's Me!"
Description: In this lesson students will become familiar with a digital camera and will increase word processing and keyboarding skills by writing a friendly letter to Santa.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: The Big Dropper – The Life Cycle of a Raindrop
Description: Students will research the Internet, Alabama Virtual Library, online and printed encyclopedias, and other reference material to gather information on the water cycle. Students will then use the gathered data to create a slideshow presentation and a newsletter demonstrating their understanding of the water cycle.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Mathematics (3 - 4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Abundant Area
Description: This is an inquiry and technology-based lesson that allows students to discover the relationship between perimeter and area. Students apply problem-solving strategies to solve the real-life problem posed in this lesson. This lesson may easily be divided into sections and completed over several days if needed.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Alabama the Beautiful
Description: This hands–on unit combines social studies, map skills, writing, and technology. Researching famous Alabamians and exploring the state's landmarks help students develop an appreciation for their state.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Clay Animation
Description: This is a hands-on, technology-based project to incorporate creative writing and technology in the classroom. Clay Animation is one way of presenting a story in a nonverbal way.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Science (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: The Power of the Presentation
Description: Students will research an endangered African animal using resources from the Alabama Virtual Library and other Internet sites, and then design and present a persuasive and informative digital slideshow presentation on the animal and how to prevent extinction.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Social Studies (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Did You Hear the News?
Description: After studying about the differences between the North and South prior to the Civil War and how Alabama decided to secede from the Union, students will write a newspaper article on this important decision. They will go back in time and imagine they lived in Alabama as a journalist in the year of 1861. The articles will be published in newspaper format using Microsoft Publisher and distributed.


Subject: English Language Arts (2 - 4)
Title: Descriptive Essay
Description: Students learn to use one-main-idea think-sheets when producing simple descriptive essays.


Subject: English Language Arts (4)
Title: Hook those fish!
Description: Students will read chapter and picture books to discover how the author "hooked" the reader. Students will then practice using the same strategies in their own writing.


Subject: English Language Arts (4), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Story Add-Ons
Description: This is a technology-rich lesson plan which allows students to explore proper language conventions while utilizing portable keyboards for word processing.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Writing with Technology
Description: The students will use technology (portable keyboards) to write a narrative.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 4), or Social Studies (3), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Would you fit in with the Cherokees?
Description: By gaining knowledge of other cultures, students will gain respect and appreciation for all people. Students will also become more interested in their own culture by exploring their own beliefs and customs.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Language Arts
Title: Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Narrative Structure      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson uses comic strip frames to define plot and reinforce the structure that underlies a narrative. Students finish by writing their own original narratives.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Dust Bowl Days      Add Bookmark
Description: This unit of seven lessons, from EDSITEment, introduces the dramatic era of the Great Depression to students through photographs, songs, and interviews with people who lived through the Dust Bowl years. These lessons also help students understand the problems Americans were facing during the Great Depression and the attempts of the government and citizens to solve these problems.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Color Poems Using the Five Senses to Guide Prewriting      Add Bookmark
Description: Students use their five senses as a prewriting tool to guide their poetry writing as they compose free-form poems using imagery to describe a color.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Sequencing: A Strategy to Succeed at Reading Comprehension      Add Bookmark
Description: Did Paul Bunyan gouge out the Grand Canyon before or after he dug the Great Lakes? Students create a life-sized timeline showing the sequence of events in this tall tale.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Find favorite book picks in the Children's Choices.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students create lists of their favorite books and then the class creates a '' Top Picks'' class booklist. Students can use the Book Cover Creator to create a book jacket for their favorite book.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Exploring the Subtext Strategy: Thinking Beyond the Text      Add Bookmark
Description: What is it like to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? Students find out in this lesson in which they become the characters in Judith Viorst's book.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 2,3,4



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Author Lois Duncan was born on this date in 1934.      Add Bookmark
Description: Mysteries are shared with students for them to solve and brainstorm the attributes of a good mystery. Small groups then compose short mysteries using the Mystery Cube.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: A Genre Study of Letters With The Jolly Postman       Add Bookmark
Description: Students read The Jolly Postman, in which a postman delivers letters to storybook characters. They explore different types of mail and categorize letters from the book and their own mail.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Artistic Elements: Exploring Art Through Descriptive Writing      Add Bookmark
Description: Paint a vivid picture in your reader's mind with good descriptive writing! Artwork provides the perfect starting point for practicing descriptive writing that conveys color, shape, line, and mood.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Blending Fiction and Nonfiction to Improve Comprehension and Writing Skills      Add Bookmark
Description: Students use a text set to increase understanding of content area material and demonstrate what they have learned by writing an original piece that blends together narrative and expository elements.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Writing a Movie: Summarizing and Rereading a Film Script      Add Bookmark
Description: Lights! Camera! Action! In this lesson, students view a scene with no dialogue from E.T., write a script for that scene, and perform a dramatic reading while the scene plays.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Choosing Clear and Varied Dialogue Tags: A Minilesson      Add Bookmark
Description: In this minilesson, students explore the use of dialogue tags such as he said or she answered in picture books and novels, discussing their purpose, form, and style.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Flying to Freedom: Tar Beach and The People Could Fly       Add Bookmark
Description: Students look to the past and use historical context to compare and contrast two characters from folktales.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using Writing and Role-Play to Engage the Reluctant Writer      Add Bookmark
Description: What does the world look like through a javelina's eyes? Students become javelinas in this lesson when they analyze a character and write from his or her perspective.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Q is for Duck: Using Alphabet Books With Struggling Writers      Add Bookmark
Description: A is for zoo? Q is for duck? The alphabet as students know it is transformed when students create a class book that contains clever associations for each letter of the alphabet.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using Science Texts to Teach the Organizational Features of Nonfiction      Add Bookmark
Description: Students explore organizational features of nonfiction science. Students then work together to create a two-page spread using those features to present information about their local environment.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Readers Theatre      Add Bookmark
Description: Students develop scripts, perform, and use their voices to depict characters from texts, giving them the opportunity to develop fluency and further enhance comprehension of what they are reading.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Go West: Imagining the Oregon Trail      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson from EDSITEment, students compare imagined travel experiences of their own with the actual experiences of 19th-century pioneers. After writing stories about contemporary cross-country journeys, students learn about the experiences of the emigrants who traveled on the Oregon Trail. They then create works of historical fiction in the form of picture books or letters, drawing upon the information they have gathered.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Plot and Setting      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students compare and contrast several versions of Cinderella stories told around the world to find differences and similarities in plot and setting. They then write a narrative--a Cinderella variation--with a plot appropriate to the genre and an original setting.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using Historical Fiction to Learn About the Civil War      Add Bookmark
Description: Students in grades 4 and 5 discuss inferential comprehension and visualization as they use a think-aloud questioning strategy to develop a deeper understanding of a historical novel.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846.      Add Bookmark
Description: After exploring an exhibit online, students use the information they learned to write '' A Day in the Life'' narratives that tell about a person, animal, or object they saw in the exhibit.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8



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: How Big Are Martin's Big Words ? Thinking Big about the Future      Add Bookmark
Description: Inspired by the book Martin's Big Words, students explore information on Dr. King to think about his '' big'' words, then they write about their own '' big'' words and dreams.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Caldecott Medal-winner Virginia Lee Burton was born on this day in 1909.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students discuss similarities in Burton's illustrations and writing style in her many books, in addition to her use of personification.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Patriot Day is celebrated today on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 2001.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students write about the name '' Patriot Day'' and how it marks the anniversary of a huge disaster. An alternative assignment could be to ask students to record their reflections about 9/11.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: What's in a Mystery? Exploring and Identifying Mystery Elements      Add Bookmark
Description: Students identify the characteristics of mystery writing, outline a mystery story using a graphic organizer, write and revise their own mystery story, edit each other's work, and share their mysteries.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Mickey Mouse appeared in his first animated feature.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students create a short, humorous story with at least one action character, and then use the Comic Creator to make a flipbook.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Today is the International Day of Peace.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students brainstorm a list of current conflicts and why people fight. Groups discuss and present possible solutions and create posters that promote their particular solution.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Once Upon a Time Rethought: Writing Fractured Fairy Tales      Add Bookmark
Description: Students read and analyze fairy tales, identifying their common elements. They then write their own fractured fairy tales by changing one of the literary elements found in the original.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Language Arts
Title: November is National American Indian Heritage Month.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students explore Native American heritage through the study of pourquoi tales, write their own original pourquoi tales, and use the ReadWriteThink Printing Press to publish them.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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