Language Arts Teacher Resources
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Close Reading: Unpacking Specific Articles of the UDHR
Lesson 6 of this extensive unit finally has your class begin to work their way through specific articles from the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Before examining the rights actually detailed in the document, have your class guess what rights might be included with a "give one, get one" activity. Individuals brainstorm a list of rights they imagine might be in the UDHR, and then walk around, sharing and recording the ideas of their classmates. Afterward, delve into Article 2 with your class, modeling close reading strategies and completing corresponding sections of the note-catcher. Individuals will do Article 3 independently. Note: See additional materials for an index of the unit's lessons.
Building Background: A Short History of Human Rights
Here is the second part in a series of lessons where your class will return to their discussion of human rights and study of the primary source document the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Before continuing to read, they will need to understand why and how this document was written. First, show and discuss a video from UNICEF to demonstrate the need for such a document. Then have groups construct a timeline of events leading up to its creation. As with other lessons from this module, the lesson fosters great higher-level thinking skill such as asking questions and evaluating cause and effect.
Close Reading: Becoming Experts on Specific Articles of the UDHR
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 young scholars' thinking about each article.
Main Ideas in Informational Text: Analyzing a Firsthand Human Rights Account for Connections to Specific Articles of the UDHR
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 plan, 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.
Building Background Knowledge: Learning About the Historical and Geographical Setting of Esperanza Rising (Chapter 1: “Aguascalientes, Mexico, 1924”)
Set up your class to read Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan, through a class read-aloud and exploration of the setting. The detailed lesson 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.
Getting to Know Esperanza (Chapter 2: “Las Uvas/Grapes”)
Delve into Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan with close reading and evidence-based, text-dependent questions. Part of a unit series, this well-sequenced, Common Core designed instructional activity draws on material from the previous day and from homework so that pupils begin the day with prior knowledge, and then move into more complex response work. The focus is on multiple readings, small group work, and close reading. Class members discuss the text, respond to questions, and continue to mark evidence with sticky notes.
Point of View: Comparing Esperanza's and Isabel's Perspectives About Life in the Camp (Chapter 7: "Las Cebollas/Onions")
Explore point of view and more with a Common Core designed lesson. Pupils experience different points of view by representing one of two characters from Esperanza Rising during a partner discussion. They must use evidence from the text that supports their side during the discussion. But before this, the teacher leads the class through a close reading with text-dependent questions. Small groups are allowed to converse abou each question. The questions ask learners to determine the meaning of words using context clues and examine metaphors. Wrap up the lesson with an exit ticket and a debrief.
Characters Changing Over Time (Chapter 10: "Las Papas/Potatos")
Engage further in Esperanza Rising with a focus on close reading and metaphor. Class members zero in on the tenth chapter, examining characters and big ideas. Pupils discuss the text in small groups and as a whole class, and participate in a give-one-get-one activity, using their sticky notes to mark pieces of evidence that they want to share. As a final assignment, writers compose a response to a final question that sums up the lesson. An effective Common Core designed lesson.
Connecting Informational Text with Litearature: Building Background Knowledge About Mexican Immigration, California, and the Great Depression
Help your class transition as the setting in the novel Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan, moves from Mexico to California. Beginning with prior knowledge, and moving into jigsaw research groups, class members add to and create posters and lists of information about California, immigration, and the Great Depression. The teacher can help out with hint cards and by leading discussion; however, most of the information is discovered by class members as they work through informational texts and complete a gallery walk. Close with a writing activity that relates back to the novel. A strong, well-designed lesson.
Understanding Themes in Esperanza Rising
Determining a theme or central idea is greatly emphasized in the Common Core standards. Target that skill though big metaphors and central symbols in Pam Munoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising. Help your class reach the standard through discussion, close reading, text-based questions, a kinesthetic opinion survey, and a brief writing assignment. Every step is detailed, and every material is provided in this intelligently sequenced plan, which is part of a series.
Revisiting Big Metaphors and Themes: Revising and Beginning to Perform Two-Voice Poems
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.
End-Of-Unit 2 Assessment: On-Demand Analytical Essay About How Esperanza Changes Over Time
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.
Paragraph Writing Instruction
Writing a paragraph from details found directly in a text is the central focus of this thorough and explicit lesson plan. Using the stories Nasreen's Secret School and Rain School, third graders are lead step-by-step through the basics of paragraph writing. A well-constructed model paragraph and graphic organizer are included for this eighth lesson in a larger unit designed to introduce learners to routines, strategies, and norms at the beginning of the year.
Vocabulary: Human Rights
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 lesson 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.
Main Ideas in Informational Text: Analyzing a Firsthand Human Rights Account
Although this is part of a series, activity 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.
Written Conversation: The Need for School Constitutions
Do schools need written constitutions? Fourth graders dive into this constructive conversation by answering, sharing, and discussing five relevant prompts. The written conversations protocol, a highly effective discussion management strategy, is included in additional materials. This plan is the second in a larger comprehensive unit. The School Survey Data referenced is available in the previous lesson plan. A link to the unit overview is available in additional materials as well.
Mid-Unit 2 Assessment: On-Demand Informational Writing
Lesson 7 focuses on building academic vocabulary and writing an explanatory letter with supported textual evidence. For the first five minutes of the instructional activity, the educator reminds the class of how to read and refer to the accordion graphic organizer they previously created (see instructional activity 6 for chart & instructions). Third graders will analyze their reading strengths, the two areas that they need to work on, and how they will build up their reading power all recorded on their charts. Next, learners will use a graphic organizer to write a paragraph letter to a person of importance explaining how they can become a powerful reader. They will develop and support their writing with facts, details, and thoughts, and will also connect their reading goals to characters from previously read books such as Thank You, Mr. Falker and The Boy Who Loved Words. More worksheets and exercises extend this instructional activity, which is designed to help students become proficient and independent readers and writers. A very organized and comprehensive instructional activity that truly addresses both the language and writing Common Core standards identified. Note: This may take longer than the one hour indicated.
Close Read: Communication and Conflict Resolution Strategies
Fourth graders practice their close reading skills with a short text on conflict resolution. Working in pairs, learners read and reread the article Smart Speak by Marilyn Cram Donahue as they identify the main idea and use context clues to understand challenging vocabulary. The class uses the text to begin making a list of rules to improve their school community, as they work toward the long term goal of writing a school constitution. Consider having students create skits to act out the conflict resolution strategies from the article as an extension activity. This is a great resource for teaching how to read closely, and can very easily be adapted to any piece of writing.
Our Constitution: Linking Words and Phrases
Working with the organized class constitution created in the previous lesson plan, fourth graders learn how certain words and phrases can be used to improve the flow of a piece of writing. By reading aloud their writing, learners notice how the different sections seem very separate and disconnected from one another. Using the provided list of linking words and phrases, pupils revise their writing to smooth out the transition between each section. This lesson plan teaches an important writing skill and nicely concludes work on the class constitution.
Organizing the Sections of Our Constitution
Young writers use the Iroquois Constitution as a model to help them organize their own class constitution in the seventh lesson of this unit. Using this historic text helps students better understand the structure of this type of writing, how each section has a main idea with supporting rules/laws. Young scholars then apply their learning as they work in small groups to categorize their own class constitution written in previous lessons. A great resource that assists the class in creating a meaningful piece of collaborative writing.