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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8)
Title: Drill and Kill No More - Incorporating Verbs, Adverbs, and Prepositions Within the Context of Argumentative Writing
Description: The technique known as "Drill and Kill" is not effective for the retention of grammar skills. Students are more apt to remember grammar skills when the skills are taught in connection with writing. The following lesson demonstrates a better way. Yes, the skills must be taught first; however, the “drill skill and kill” method is only 15% of the lesson. The first thing you must do is correlate the different genres of writing with the grammar concepts that go with them. This lesson will show teachers how to teach adverbs, verbs, and prepositions within the context of an argumentative paper. This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: African American Poet Research
Description: Students will research the life of an African American poet using print and online resources. Students will present their findings by writing a research paper and creating a PowerPoint presentation.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or English Language Arts (8), or Social Studies (7)
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 (7 - 10), or English Language Arts (7 - 10)
Title: Hands, Hands, Hands - Writing a Narrative Essay from the Perspective of a Particular Hand
Description: The teacher will show pictures of six hands to students.  (See attachment)  After a brainstorming session, students will choose one hand that illustrates a particular story from their life.  Then, students will write a two page narrative essay about this story.  These stories will be posted on a class blog to allow for feedback and discussion from classmates.


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8), or English Language Arts (6 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Marshmallow and Pretzel Sensory Writing
Description: This language arts lesson applies hands-on materials to help students apply the sensory details need for writing. It also incorporates writing skills for comparing and contrasting. In addition, students will utilize Thinkfinity Interactive to write poetry using sensory words.


Subject: English Language Arts (6 - 8), or English Language Arts (7 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Expressing Yourself With Poetry
Description: Two classes at different schools or across the hall share dramatic poetry presentations as part of a poetry unit. Students listen to poetry, practice reading poetry, and (if practical) participate in a distance learning program on poetry. Students then produce a Poetry Alive program that will be shared with another class through video conferencing or video tapes.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or 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: Character Education (K - 12), or Counseling and Guidance (K - 12), or English Language Arts (7), or English Language Arts (7 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Career Discovery: Preparing a Resume
Description: As part of a career discovery unit, middle school students examine the need to prepare a resume and the potential consequences of giving false information in a resume. Using an online resume wizard designed for middle schoolers, students prepare their first resume. This lesson can be broken into three smaller 30-minute lessons (Step 1, Steps 2-5, and Steps 6-7).


Subject: English Language Arts (7 - 9), or English Language Arts (7 - 9), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Oral Presentation of Favorite Celebrity
Description: Using the Internet to research facts about a favorite celebrity, students gain the organizational and oral presentation skills needed to successfully deliver an effective speech and slideshow presentation.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (8), 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 English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Autobiographical Magazines
Description: This assignment is designed for students to tell about themselves through writing and creative media. The students compile original articles and illustrations into an autobiographical magazine.


Subject: English Language Arts (8), or English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: The Rookie Project
Description: This is a three-part writing project which includes a research paper, a creative short story, and a movie review inspired by the movie, The Rookie. The lesson is easily adapted to other appropriate films of similar themes.


Subject: English Language Arts (7 - 8), or 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.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (7 - 8), or English Language Arts (7 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Riddles in the Dark
Description: Riddles can be challenging to solve and even more challenging to write. After reading the riddles used by Gollum to try to ensnare Bilbo in chapter five of Tolkien's The Hobbit and those used by Bilbo to outwit Gollum, students use their wit and cunning to author a riddle pop-up book.


Subject: English Language Arts (7 - 8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Career Exploration for the Middle School Student
Description: This is a technology-based career guidance project during which students select a career to research on the Internet. Students will create slideshow presentations of information on selected careers and present the slideshows to the class.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: The Diary of Anne Frank: How Would I Survive?
Description: After reading the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, student groups examine the coping strategies of the people in the Secret Annex. Then, each student develops a personal survival plan to be included in a group slideshow presentation which addresses this question: How would I survive if I experienced the same stressful situation? Additionally, the students discuss current world situations that necessitate coping strategies.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Language Arts
Title: Star Wars creator George Lucas was born in 1944.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students use the Hero's Journey interactive to describe how Luke Skywalker meets each stage of his journey, and then brainstorm other works that use the formula.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Write letters that make things happen!      Add Bookmark
Description: In a small group or as individuals, students write letters related to a unit of study or particular topic they have studied.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Cosmic Oranges: Observation and Inquiry Through Descriptive Writing and Art      Add Bookmark
Description: Students will eat up this lesson about oranges as they practice the skills that help them investigate and make detailed observations for descriptive purposes.
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: Avalanche, Aztek, or Bravada? A Connotation Minilesson      Add Bookmark
Description: Students examine familiar car names for underlying connotations then proceed through a series of steps, increasing their control over language, until they select words with powerful connotations in their own writing.
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: 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: Reciprocal Revision: Making Peer Feedback Meaningful      Add Bookmark
Description: Interpreting art is a subjective process. In this lesson, students write written responses analyzing a work of art and use feedback from their peers to revise or confirm their initial responses.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: In 1952, Paul Fleischman was born on this day.      Add Bookmark
Description: Some of Fleishman's memories in his essay '' My House of Voices'' are shared with the class. Students then write a descriptive essay that gives a tour of the voices in their homes, school, etc.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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: Character Clash: A Minilesson on Paragraphing and Dialogue      Add Bookmark
Description: Students learn about paragraphing conventions in dialogue by revising their own writing.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Battling for Liberty: Tecumseh's and Patrick Henry's Language of Resistance      Add Bookmark
Description: Students study Patrick Henry's '' Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death'' speech and the ways Native Americans also resisted oppression through rhetoric and action.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
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



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Critical Media Literacy: Commercial Advertising      Add Bookmark
Description: By looking at advertising and mass media critically, students begin to understand how the media oppresses certain groups, convinces people to purchase certain products, and influences culture.
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: Story Character Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: Students analyze personal homepages, as well as a character in a book they have read, and then create a homepage for the character.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Author Garc -a M rquez was born on this day.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students take place in a collaborative creative writing activity to begin to understand the hallmarks of the literary style known as magical realism.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Exploring Free Speech and Persuasion with Nothing But the Truth       Add Bookmark
Description: Students read Avi's Nothing But the Truth and examine the First Amendment and student rights, and then decide whether the rights of the novel's protagonist, Philip, are violated.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
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: Book Report Alternative: Summary, Symbol, and Analysis in Bookmarks      Add Bookmark
Description: Students make bookmarks on computers and share their ideas with other readers at their school, while practicing summarizing, recognizing symbols, and writing reviews all for an authentic audience.
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: Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students make mental '' snapshots'' of a natural setting, then capture the details of their setting by writing and then creating a class booklet of the nature walk.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Children's publisher John Newbery was born in 1713.      Add Bookmark
Description: Each student chooses a book that is special and writes a short story about why it deserves special mention. Students can plan the pages of their own stories and then make a Stapleless Book or use the ReadWriteThink Printing Press.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students make lists of their favorite and least favorite movies and brainstorm qualities that make a film good or bad. Next, students write a movie review for a film they have seen.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: An Exploration of Text Sets: Supporting All Readers      Add Bookmark
Description: Students create text sets on a high interest topic and use the texts to practice three strategies for reading for information.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Choose Your Own Adventure: A Hypertext Writing Experience      Add Bookmark
Description: Students analyze '' choose your own adventure'' stories and brainstorm to develop setting, characters, and plots for their own adventures stories and related Websites.
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: 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
Title: Shared Spelling Strategies      Add Bookmark
Description: Students increase their spelling accuracy and retention, while preserving fluency, by using sound, sight recall, and analyzing strategies instead of memorizing words, as they deal with spelling during drafting.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
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,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
Title: Imagine That! Playing with Genre through Newspapers and Short Stories      Add Bookmark
Description: Students identify genre characteristics for short stories and newspaper articles then practice both genres by turning a short story into a news article and an article into a short story.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: On this date in 1901, Andrew Carnegie gave $5.2 million to New York City libraries.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students write expository and persuasive pieces with the help of the Persuasion Map and Essay Map interactives, and compare the essential features of the two modes of writing.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Celebrate Halloween!      Add Bookmark
Description: Students research information on Halloween, create masks or costumes from a text they are reading, or write a narrative essay describing their best Halloween ever.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: A Case for Reading-Examining Challenged and Banned Books      Add Bookmark
Description: This ReadWriteThink-reviewed website, provided by Plainfield Community School Corporation, contains a WebQuest that explores the issues of censorship pertaining to the occult content of the popular Harry Potter novels. Students can take on the roles of concerned citizens, public librarians, school librarians, and fans of Harry Potter and decide whether the books should be banned from the public library.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Celebrate blues legend Robert Johnson's birthday.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students learn about blues music and brainstorm subjects that might give them '' the blues.'' Finally, they write their own blues lyrics and have the option to perform.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Today is Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko's birthday.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students revive elements of the oral tradition by writing about something funny that happened to them recently, sharing with classmates, and discussing the changes that occur during the retelling of the stories.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: A Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: From Image to Detailed Narrative      Add Bookmark
Description: The old clich ' , , , '' A picture is worth a thousand words'' is put to the test when students write their own narrative interpretations of events shown in an image.
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: Creative Communication Frames: Discovering Similarities between Writing and Art      Add Bookmark
Description: Graphic organizers assist the development of comparative vocabulary and generate discussions of analogy and metaphor in art as students go on a real or virtual tour of an art gallery.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts
Title: In 1847, Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula was born.      Add Bookmark
Description: Students brainstorm the superstitions they know and small groups research one of the superstitions to determine its origin and meaning or purpose. Students can write about the superstition using the Mystery Cube interactive.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts
Title: Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology      Add Bookmark
Description: Students read a poem by a Native American, explore Native American culture and then create a Website that explains words and phrases from the poem.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
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
Title: Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection      Add Bookmark
Description: Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists to evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the resources will be valuable to the class.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
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: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered in 1967.      Add Bookmark
Description: After thinking about TV shows, books, and movies from their childhood, students write about what they remember and revisit how they feel about it at an older age.
Thinkfinity Partner: ReadWriteThink
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



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