Language Arts Teacher Resources
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Reading and Taking Notes on Colonial Trades
In the tenth lesson of this unit, young scholars learn to categorize information as they continue researching their colonial trade. During guided practice, the teacher models how to read informational text slowly while sorting the information into short bulleted notes. Young researchers are then given the opportunity to practice these skills as they reread text on their specific colonial trade. Finally, learners return to their expert groups to share the notes they have taken with their peers. A great resource for teaching note-taking skills to your class. Note that this lesson builds on the previous two lessons in the unit, though it can be adapted for other content areas as well.
Building Background Knowledge: Colonial Craftspeople
In the first instructional activity of this unit on colonial trade, fourth graders gain background knowledge of different jobs performed by early colonists. The class begins with a slide show presentation that includes a variety of great photographs depicting different trades in colonial America, during which learners work in small groups to take notes and make inferences about each occupation. Following the slide show, young historians practice their ability to identify the main idea and supporting details of informational text, as the teacher reads aloud a short document about craftspeople in colonial America. An excellent introductory instructional activity, as young scholars will continue in this unit to become experts on a specific trade in order to better understand life in colonial America. Note that the slide show presentation does require access to the Internet and the ability to project from a computer onto a larger screen.
Continued Close Reading of Rain School: Text -Dependent Questions and Vocabulary
The engaging story Rain School is further explored in the third lesson of a larger unit that explicitly teaches close reading skills by answering questions whose answers can only be found inside the text. Through teacher modeling and guided instruction, third graders use sticky notes to cite evidence from the text and record important details to use later on their worksheets. The lesson plan has great detailed information about how to effectively model citing evidence, as well as how to develop vocabulary with the class. Learners play a fun and fast-paced learning game, quiz-quiz-trade, with their vocabulary words before they debrief as a whole class. This lesson is complete with great resources and is implementation-ready.
Continued Close Reading of Nasreen's Secret School: Discussions of Questions and Evidence
Third graders answer text-dependent questions of the story Nasreen's Secret School both independently and then collaboratively through using the carousel of questions strategy. This plan is the seventh lesson in a larger unit that is perfect for the beginning of the year. It introduces students to techniques, strategies, and routines that benefit classroom literature work and create a positive academic culture. Directions for teachers are explicit and help to create a positive experience working with global literature.
Informative Paragraph Pre-Assessment: What Is One Reason You Want the Power of Reading?
This writing pre-assessment has minimal instruction but maximum support and encouragement. It begins with a review of the book, Rain School, through a think-pair-share and small group discussion. The discussion focuses on the idea that reading is powerful, and learners explore why they want to have that power. Class members take the knowledge gained in the discussion and compose an authentic writing sample. This is a great way to create a baseline writing sample that can be used as a snapshot of ability at the beginning of the year, as well as to assess progress when shown alongside later writing samples.
Continued Close Reading of That Book Woman: Text-Dependent Questions and Vocabulary
Explicitly explained and delightfully detailed are two ways to describe this tenth lesson in a larger unit designed for the first few weeks of third grade. Learners continue to use and develop previously learned close reading skills, answering text-dependent questions and expanding vocabulary, with the current heart-warming story That Book Woman. This plan is complete and ready for teachers to implement.
Continued Close Reading of Thank You, Mr. Falker: Text Dependent Questions and Vocabulary
In the second lesson in a series that revolves around the story, Thank You, Mr. Falker, learners practice the skill of answering direct questions from the text while using complete sentences. After a teacher-led review of how to write answers using a full sentence, pupils complete a worksheet (embedded in the plan), which has four questions that have to do with the story. They are higher-level questions which will require students to give their opinions about certain events in the story. Finally, a vocabulary game is played by the whole class that uses selected words from the story.
Language Arts Lessons Coupled with Technology Training
Students can benefit when teachers infuse technology training into language arts lesson plans.
Getting Ready to Learn About Human Rights: Close Reading of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Introduce young readers to informational texts with a well-designed, ready-to-use, and Common Core-aligned unit. Young readers will learn a variety of skills while studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As the first activity in this unit, the primary focus of the activity is learning to use the norms of class discussion as well as close reading practices. Your young readers will learn and practice strategies such as rereading, annotating, identifying key vocabulary, and summarizing. Making use of great instructional strategies, this unit is a must see! Note: The level of text complexity for this module would most likely make it appropriate for older grades as well.
Listening Closely and Taking Notes in Expert Groups: Colonial Trade Podcast
The twelfth lesson of this unit builds on the skills developed in the previous lesson, as fourth graders continue their quest to become experts on colonial trade by listening to interviews with historical re-enactors. This activity requires that pupils have access to computers or MP3 players, as they will be accessing podcasts found on the Internet. Working collaboratively in their expert groups, young scholars listen multiple times to the interviews as they record notes and answer questions about their specific trade. A great lesson that exposes learners to alternative resources to use when researching a topic.
New! Grade 4: Module 2A: Unit 1: Lesson 7 Paragraph Writing: The Role of Religion in Colonial America
Informative writing is emphasized in the standards. Help your learners reach that goal with the plan for paragraph writing outlined here. After reviewing the work from the day before and adding to their vocabulary notebooks, class members examine a model paragraph and then write and share organized, informative paragraphs about religion in colonial America. A collaborative and engaging instructional activity, the plan presented is part of a series made specifically for the Common Core.
Inferring About Characters Based on How They Respond to Challenges (Chapter 4: "Los Higos/Figs")
How do you know what a character's personality is like if an author doesn't tell you? With a focus on character development in Esperanza Rising, pupils complete a jigsaw activity to analyze the actions of Mama, Abuelita, and Miguel. Once group members have shared with their expert group and their own group of three, they compare and contrast the other characters to Esperanza. Class members must make inferences using author details and character behavior. During this well-sequenced lesson plan, learners will complete a quiz, participate in a jigsaw activity, create posters and charts, and write briefly for an exit ticket, and close with a discussion about human rights.
Contrasting Two Settings (Chapter 6: "Lost Melones/Cantalouples")
Continue working through Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan, by looking into language choices and discussing text-dependent questions. Pupils converse in small groups and as a class about plot, setting, and figurative language. Using sticky notes, called evidence flags in the plan, class members mark evidence that corresponds with a series of questions. Create a class record of figurative language, and close with an independent writing assignment about Esperanza's life in California. Meet Common Core requirements as you delve into this text.
Building Background Knowledge: Why Do Workers Strike? (Chapter 11: "Los Aguacates/Avocados")
Make connections between Esperanza Rising and human rights with the activities outlined here. The lesson starts out with a brief quiz and review of the novel. After that, pupils circulate and share quote strips that you give to them. The goal is to match quotes from the novel with quotes about human rights. Class members will also learn what a strike is and connect that knowledge to the novel by completing a note-catcher and discussing the text. All materials are included in an engaging Common Core designed lesson.
Contrasting Perspectives: Should the Farmworkers in Esperanza Rising Go On Strike? (Chapter 12: "Los Esparragos/Asparagus")
Explore multiple perspectives through a jigsaw activity that will improve your pupils' understanding of the characters in Esperanza Rising as well as their understanding of strikes and human rights. Tapping into prior knowledge, and previous notes taken on these topics, class members will first add to their information about their assigned character, then meet in expert groups, and last, but not least, get together with their original group of three and cross-share information. Wrap up with an exit ticket that asks learners to take a stance and use evidence to support their answers.
Gathering Evidence and Drafting a Two-Voice Poem (Chapter 13: "Los Duraznos/Peaches")
Begin class with a short comprehension quiz and review and then move into a new genre: two-voice poems. The instructional activity provides information about this type of poetry as well as a video example made by eighth graders that you can show your class. After watching and listening, class members can refer to the included transcript as they compose their own two-voice poems comparing and contrasting two characters from the novel Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan. Spend some time discussing text features and previous notes about the characters before sending pupils off with their graphic organizers to draft their poems with a partner or small group. Close by sharing golden lines from the poems.
Paragraph Writing, Part 1: How Esperanza Responds on the Train (Revisiting Chapter 5: "Las Guayabas/Guavas")
When your class members have completed the novel Esperanza Rising, they will be ready to write an expository essay on how Esperanza responds to events and what this says about her character. Set your pupils up for success by starting out with text-dependent questions about the chapter that will be the focus of their writing, in this case chapter five. Then, using the provided graphic organizer, lead them through planning and writing a paragraph that uses evidence effectively. For homework, have them do the same process on their own. A strong scaffolded writing lesson.
Inferring Theme (Chapter 7, "A Falling Eagle")
As your class nears the end of the book Eagle Song, young readers stop to self-assess their progress toward the learning goals of this unit before continuing on with the story. This short, but effective self-assessment requires learners to describe in writing what they have done in order to meet each of the four learning targets. From there, the teacher reads aloud the first few pages of chapter 7 before providing independent reading time, during which students identify supporting evidence as they answer the chapter's text-dependent questions. Unfortunately, there are some typos and formatting errors with the included supporting materials. If you follow the link provided in the additional materials for this resource, you can download the instructional activity as a Word document and correct those mistakes yourself.
Listening Closely and Taking Notes: Colonial Trade Podcast About the Wheelwright
Voices from the past. Young scholars listen to a podcast interview with a historical re-enactor as they continue their research in the eleventh lesson of this unit on colonial trade. Applying their close reading skills, learners first listen for the gist of the interview, summarizing what they hear in a single statement. The class then listens again and works collaboratively to take notes on specific information from the interview. Finally, the podcast is played a third time, allowing the kids a chance to practice taking notice independently. This resource prepares young researchers as they will be listening to similar interviews about their specific colonial trade in the following lesson of this unit.
Mid-Unit 1 Assessment: Human Rights Vocabulary and Common Prefixes
Here is a mid-unit assessment for a group of lessons studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The first half of this lesson calls for several forms of review. Your class will review the content of the UDHR text by pair sharing their note-catcher, they will review the concept of human rights through a whole-class discussion, and they will review key vocabulary by creating tableaus or visual representations of words. For the second half of the lesson, young scholars will complete a quiz consisting of seven multiple choice questions and one longer free-response question. The focus of this assessment is vocabulary. Note: To find the whole group of lessons, refer to the additional materials section.