ALEX Lesson Plan


A Tale of Two Slaves: A Lesson in Predicting, Summarizing, Making Connections, Questioning, and Comparing/Contrasting--Part 1

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Shannon Bogert
System: Tuscaloosa City
School: Tuscaloosa City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33049


A Tale of Two Slaves: A Lesson in Predicting, Summarizing, Making Connections, Questioning, and Comparing/Contrasting--Part 1


Through purposeful discussions using strategies to improve comprehension, students will make inferences and connections to a complex text.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (10)
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RL.9-10.1]
ELA2015 (10)
31. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. [SL.9-10.1]
a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas. [SL.9-10.1a]
b. Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed. [SL.9-10.1b]
c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions. [SL.9-10.1c]
d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented. [SL.9-10.1d]
ELA2015 (10)
32. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally), evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source. [SL.9-10.2]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):


  1. I can write about the thoughts I have while listening to a spiritual.
  2. I can make inferences about the singer’s life.
  3. I can discuss the inferences with a partner.
  4. I can make connections to a text.
  5. I can be an engaged listener and speaker during a classroom discussion.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • African American spiritual (any prior to 1865 found on will work).  
  • “Cugoano is Kidnapped and Sold into Slavery"
  • Flag and tag strips (post-its cut into strips large enough for students to write at least a sentence)
  • Grand conversations cards  (notebook paper torn/cut into four equal sized cards, and double bubble maps  (See "Makes Sense Strategies")

Technology Resources Needed:

  • Computer with speakers for playing spiritual and for accessing Web links


Students should know respectful listening behaviors (sit up straight, look at speaker, and not speak while another person is speaking). They should also know effective speaking behaviors (speak clearly and loudly, be expressive in tone, and use proper grammar).


1. Students will listen to an African American spiritual.

2. While listening to the music, students will write their thoughts about the song in a stream of consciousness format.

3. After writing, students will turn and talk to a partner using the following conversation stems: “From listening to this song, I can infer that the life of the singer was________________________. I made this inference because the song lyrics say _________________________.”

4. Teacher should listen in on student groups to formatively assess whether or not students were able to make inferences.

5. Teacher should have pairs share out the inferences that were made.

Examples may include inferences such as the following: the singer had a tough life, though life was tough, he kept a positive outlook, he wasn’t going to give up, etc.


1. Students will receive a copy of Quobna Cugoano’s “A Former Slave Speaks Out.” 

2. Using their Post-it strips, students will flag and tag text where they have questions or comments. They will write these questions or comments on the strips. The teacher will model the first chunk of text, making certain to have at least one question and one comment. 

3. After the first chunk, the students should read the remainder of the selection, flagging the text as they read.


1. Students will divide a sheet of paper into four quadrants. They will mark two questions with a Q (question they have about the text), one with a C (text to text connection, text to world connection, or text to self connection), and one with an S (spark.)

2. As the teacher reads the text, students will hold up a card if they have a question, comment, or can make a spark off another student by making a comment regarding the previous speaker's comment. Students may only speak if they have a card. Once they’ve used all cards, they cannot make comments.

3. Students should have the attached scoring rubric easily accessible and should note that it will be used for assessing whether or not the students mastered the standards.

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Assessment Strategies

The students will be formatively assessed during the "Before" activity as the teacher circles the room and listens to the conversations. Student-created flags will be assessed as teacher circles the room reading student work. The "After" activity of Grand Conversations will be assessed by using the Grand Conversations rubric.




The text will be checked prior to the lesson. If extra time is needed due to a student not participating in Grand Conversations, he/she may write their content on the back of their cards and turn in to teacher with them attached to the rubric.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.