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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (7 - 10)
Title: Is this FAKE?
Description: Students will take a trip back in time and look at the lifestyles and classes of people in the late 1800s. Using a WebQuest, text, and graphic organizers, students will learn about the class systems in the 1800s and how the use of symbolism increased the point of interest within the story. This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (8)
Title: Lemon Brown, Group Work, and Literary Elements
Description: In this lesson, students will work together to find textual evidence of literary elements.   This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Integrating Grammar and Literature through Digital Storytelling
Description: In this lesson students create digital stories in cooperative groups using multimedia tools to demonstrate comprehension of the elements of grammar, literature, and technology introduced in the lesson. Students become actively involved in literature, recognize an author's intent, and examine the importance of word choice in writing. This lesson incorporates sentence manipulation, the elements of fiction, storyboarding, and the production of a slideshow presentation.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: A Dickens of a Time: Discovering the Victorian Period
Description: Before reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, students examine different aspects of Victorian Life in London through a variety of research projects requiring hands-on computer activities.


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Reading, Writing, and Sounder
Description: 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.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (8)
Title: "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
Description: By linking the experiences of the character Charlie Gordon to other characters and to themselves, students demonstrate through class discussion and journal writing their understanding and interpretation of the short story "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: What about Steinbeck's The Pearl?
Description: In this three week unit on the novel The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, students examine and discuss the characteristics of a novel, compare and contrast the novel to folk tales and short stories, write chapter summaries and essays, and conduct Internet research to prepare slideshow presentations on related topics, including both those reflecting cultural differences of the novel's characters and those issues involving the economic principle of supply and demand.


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Identifying the Elements of Plot in a Short Story
Description: Students become motivated readers as they read, comprehend, and interpret a short story. Students present plot diagrams in slideshows and additional information about the author in a brochure.


Subject: English Language Arts (7 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Interactive Reading Project
Description: Students are motivated to read and learn to discuss literature by discussing books they are reading via e-mail.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using QARs to Develop Comprehension and Reflective Reading Habits      Add Bookmark
Description: Students are introduced to question-answer relationships (QARs). Using the QAR strategy, students identify different types of questions and learn how to determine the appropriate response for each question type.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Press Conference for Bud, Not Buddy       Add Bookmark
Description: Students read Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, demonstrate comprehension of the story by involving themselves in discussions, and analyze the characters in preparation for a class '' press conference.''
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Edward Stratemeyer, creator of book series such as Nancy Drew, was born on this day in 1862.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students select several books from one of Stratemeyer's series to read, discuss shared elements in the books, and use the 3-Circle Venn Diagram to compare story elements.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Today is World Poetry Day.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students read and respond to Billy Collins' poem '' Introduction to Poetry.'' Students then write about a favorite poem and imagine the perfect way to read it.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein was published in 1974.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students are introduced to a Silverstein verse and asked for their impressions. They then draw that they imagine when they read one of his lines and then write a line or two to continue the passage.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Ursula K. LeGuin was born on this day in 1929.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students examine realistic and non-realistic elements of a familiar fantasy story of their choice.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10



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: Edgar Allen Poe, Ambrose Bierce, and the Unreliable Narrator      Add Bookmark
Description: Students consider a variety of narrative stances in Edgar Allen Poe's short story, Tell Tale Heart, and Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. They examine how Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allan Poe used narration to create their intended effect in the reader.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Postmodern Picture Books in Middle School      Add Bookmark
Description: Students analyze the structure of a postmodern picture book, Black and White, to uncover how authors create unexpected plots and connections and form relationships between words and illustrations.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Mathematics
Title: Can It Be?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, one of a multi-part unit from Illuminations, students participate in activities in which they focus on connections between mathematics and children s literature. They listen to the story The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, and then explore and interpret the concept of averages.
Thinkfinity Partner: Illuminations
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Poet William Blake was born in 1757.      Add Bookmark
Description: As a class, students brainstorm abstract concepts and personify that concept through a drawing or story told about the character who personifies that concept.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: Critical Discussion of Social Issues      Add Bookmark
Description: Through a series of picture book read-alouds, students engage in critical discussion of complex issues of race, class, and gender.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Analyzing Advice as an Introduction to Shakespeare      Add Bookmark
Description: Popular culture provides an introduction to Shakespeare's poetic devices in this lesson, which asks students to explore an excerpt from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Scaffolding Comprehension Strategies Using Graphic Organizers      Add Bookmark
Description: Students learn collaborative strategic reading (CSR). During and after reading, students apply four reading strategies preview, click and clunk, get the gist, and wrap-up and use graphic organizers for scaffolding.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8



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
Title: Doodle Splash: Using Graphics to Discuss Literature      Add Bookmark
Description: Students keep a doodle journal while reading short stories by a common author. In small groups, students then combine their doodles into a graphic representation of the text.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Using the Four-Square Strategy to Define and Identify Poetic Terms      Add Bookmark
Description: How do poets play with language? Students will explore some answers to this question as they search through poems for examples of alliteration, assonance, simile, and rhyme.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Book Report Alternative: Comic Strips and Cartoon Squares      Add Bookmark
Description: Students must think critically to create comic strips highlighting six important scenes from a book they have read.
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: Choosing, Chatting, and Collecting: Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy      Add Bookmark
Description: Students identify interesting words from Shakespeare's plays and add them to a classroom vocabulary collection.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: In 1870, the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad was completed.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students access the National Park Service website and look at the webpage '' The Last Spikes.'' Students explore different accounts of what happened as the railroad neared completion and discuss the nature of ceremonies.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students explore the artistry that helped make Washington Irving our nation's first literary master. They ponder the mystery of what happened to Ichabod Crane, a mystery that now haunts every Halloween.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: The Poet's Voice: Langston Hughes and You      Add Bookmark
Description: This unit of seven lessons, from EDSITEment, introduces students to a poet's voice. Students develop a general definition of voice in poetry, and analyze and appreciate the poetic voice of Langston Hughes in particular. Included are writing and discussion activities, in which students either write a poem expressing their own voice (as developed in a journal), or write about one of the qualities of Langston Hughes's poetic voice (as explored in class discussion).
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



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: 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: Pictures in Words: Poems of Tennyson and Noyes      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from EDSITEment, students explore how poets Tennyson and Noyes use words to paint vivid and memorable pictures. They describe how word pictures emphasize or qualify the meanings of their poems.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: The Big Bad Wolf: Analyzing Point of View in Texts      Add Bookmark
Description: Was the Big Bad Wolf really all that bad? This lesson encourages students to analyze multiple viewpoints, view texts from different angles, and recognize gaps in narrative.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



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