Language Arts Teacher Resources

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A continuation of the previous lesson, which is part of a larger group of lessons on human rights (see additional materials). Here, in Lesson 7, your class will explore more articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After a quick review of vocabulary from earlier lessons, split the class into groups for a jigsaw activity. Each group will be assigned 2-3 specific articles form the UDHR to read and independently complete close-reading projects. After everyone in the group becomes an expert on their given articles, groups will break-up and form new mixed-article groups, which will mean that the kids are teaching each other about their articles! Also included are worksheets to help focus students' thinking about each article. 
Although this is part of a series, lesson nine has your class take a break from their close study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) text to read the firsthand account “Teaching Nepalis to Read, Plant, and Vote” by Lesley Reed. Though this text is simpler than the UDHR, your young readers will continue to use their close reading strategies as they read. Quickly review close reading strategies such as chunking, questioning, and annotating; modeling it with paragraph one. Next, allow your class to work their way through the rest of the article independently. As with all lessons in this unit, Lesson 9 contains some excellent prompts to foster discussion and to focus your pupils' thinking.  
Lesson 10 in a series of human rights lessons focuses on the skills of finding evidence and summarizing. Your young readers work to compare the two texts they have read in this unit: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and “Teaching Nepalis to Read, Plant, and Vote”. Groups start by nicknaming articles from the UDHR with names like "right to marry" or "right to vote". After reviewing and summarizing the UDHR articles with nicknames, groups will work to match these various rights with instances in “Teaching Nepalis to Read, Plant, and Vote”. To wrap-up the lesson, individuals will write a short opinion piece on rights that were upheld or violated using the firsthand account as evidence. Note: See the additional materials to find an index for all of these lessons. 
Set up your class to read Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan, through a class read-aloud and exploration of the setting. The detailed instructional activity outlines each step. First, class members read over the first few pages and focus on the setting, brainstorming ideas and talking with classmates to visualize the scene. Next, pupils form groups of three and jigsaw short informational texts, sharing with each other and then the class. Learners also use sticky notes to mark evidence in class and for homework.
Now that your class has read all of Esperanza Rising, take the time to tackle big metaphors and themes. Pupils will participate in an activity called Chalk Talk, in which they circulate around the room in small groups and add comments to charts that are labeled with five metaphors in the novel. Conduct a whole-class discussion on this activity, leaving some time to perform the two-voice poems that were written previously. Part of a well-sequenced series, the lesson will help wrap up the novel and big ideas.
Close the unit on Esperanza Rising with an in-class analytic essay on how Esperanza changes over the course of the novel. Writers can use any of their notes and work from the unit as well as their drafts of the first two paragraphs of the essay to aid them in composing the final product. They will write one completely new paragraph that targets their ability to compare and contrast. After writing, pupils complete a brief self-assessment. A fitting final product of this strong Common Core designed series of lessons.
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.
In the first lesson 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 lesson, 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.      
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. 
Your class continues to explore the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition to learning about the background of this text, learners work on the skill of identifying and understanding key academic vocabulary. Your class will do a close reading of a short excerpt on the background of the UDHR, and then begin a set of flashcards for unfamiliar words. Close the activity with a brief writing assignment in which pupils will reflect on what they have learned from the text thus far. Note: This is part of a series of lessons, please refer to the additional materials section to find the index page.  
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. 
Constructing a paragraph from notes using close reading skills and visible thinking strategies is the focus of a great plan that is part of a larger unit. In earlier lessons, 4th graders deconstructed informational text and learned how to take notes on graphic organizers. Using those notes as a basis for a model paragraph, the teacher shows how to deconstruct writing with color coding. Focusing on underlining the main idea, specific details, and the conclusion on both the model paragraph and model graph organizer with different colored markers, the teacher works to illustrate the connections between the two. The informational text that the unit is based on, The Iroquois: A Six Nation Confederacy, is not provided, but the plan provides great strategies for writing that can be generalized for any informational text. Note: The link for the topic expansion graphic organizer referenced is in additional materials.
Come up with a list of requirements for this expository essay on Esperanza's character in Esperanza Rising as a class and use the list to guide class writing. Here, learners will complete the first paragraph, discuss their notes for the second paragraph, and then compose the second paragraph. Instead of think-pair-share, have your class members ink-pair-share as they write! They will write a few sentences, and then share will their small groups for feedback. The writing they do will be used during a final assessment for the unit.
With their constitution paragraph drafts in hand, fourth graders work in pairs to critique and revise each other's writing. This process can be very challenging for young writers, but a praise-question-suggest protocol is outlined in the lesson that emphasizes giving kind, specific, and helpful feedback. This procedure is modeled as the class creates a list of revision questions and uses them to critique a sample piece of writing, before finally pairing up and sharing their work. Be sure to assign partners carefully, as children can be very sensitive to receiving feedback from their peers. Overall, a good lesson that effectively addresses a difficult step in the writing process.
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.
Explicitly explained and delightfully detailed are two ways to describe this tenth activity 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. 
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.
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.    
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. 
Third graders continue to practice the close reading skills of capturing the gist and reading again for important details in the sixth lesson in a larger unit. This is a great beginning-of-the-year unit for establishing visible thinking routines and norms in the classroom. Using the realistic and emotionally moving story Nasreen's Secret School, learners independently practice the technique of using sticky notes to record vocabulary words and collect important details about the main message of the text. Learners then transition to a whole-class circle activity with their notes, and create a classroom anchor reading chart to highlight patterns in the details. An assessment chart is provided for teachers to complete a mid-unit assessment of speaking and listening skills.