Category Archives: Lesson Plans

Lesson plans on topics in social studies and English, as well as what I call “learning methods focus”–lessons that use the content area to demonstrate a particular method for learning that might assist struggling students.

The Weekly Text, September 6, 2019

Ok, today marks the end of my second week of work at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont. It sure is nice to be back in Vermont after twenty-three years away. As fall approaches, I anticipate the mountainside colors of October with great pleasure. I’ve never lived in this part of the state before, but I hope to spend the rest of my working life here.

Anyway, this week’s Text is a complete lesson plan on the interrogative. pronoun. I begin this lesson with this worksheet on the homophones you’re and your. Should classroom events stall this lesson, here is a second short exercise, this on a Cultural Literacy worksheet on plagiarism. Finally, here is the structured, scaffolded worksheet on the interrogative pronoun that is the mainstay of this lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a Professional Development Exercise

Elsewhere on this blog, I published Professor Daniel Willingham’s First Demonstration of Memory as a lesson for classroom use with students (in fact, if you click on that second hyperlink, it will transfer you directly to that post). I originally wrote that lesson because it has important implications for classroom practice, and I wanted to discuss those implications with students at the beginning of the school year. In fact, I give the lesson on the first day of school, before talking about classroom conduct, as a way of establishing priorities–learning–and classroom methodology–i.e. students directly involved in the pedagogy in which they will engage through the school year.

Along the way, in order to satisfy my professional development requirements, I also developed this lesson, which in some respects is a cognitive science parlor trick, for use as a professional development exercise for teachers.

To present this lesson, you will need this PDF of the article that engendered it; you might also consider reproducing the article to hand out after you conclude the lesson. Here is the lesson plan that outlines and rationalizes it use. I use this learning support with both versions of this lesson. Finally, here is the context clues worksheet on the adjective condign that concludes the exercise.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Crime and Puzzlement: Footsteps in the Dark

Moving right along this morning, here is another lesson plan on a Crime and Puzzlement caseFootsteps in the Dark. I begin this lesson, to get students settled after a class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom money burning a hole in one’s pocket. Students and teacher will need the PDF of the illustration and questions of this case to investigate and solve it. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key for this case.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Crime and Puzzlement: Extortion

The kids with whom I have used them have loved them, so I developed a large body of materials from the Lawrence Treat’s excellent series Crime and Puzzlementwhich appears to be available, perhaps with dubious legality, all over the Internet as free PDF downloads.

Here is a complete lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Extortion.” I generally begin this lesson, in order to settle students after a class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “Ships That Pass in the Night.” You will, of course, need the illustration of the crime scene and its accompanying questions from the book to investigate the crime. Finally, this typescript of the answer key will help you and your students, using the evidence, to definitively solve the crime.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, June 28, 2019

If there is anything better than Vermont in the summer, I guess I don’t know what it is. I’ve lived in this state on and off in my life; I’m now looking for a job here, and hope to stay here for the rest of my working life.

This week’s Text is a complete lesson plan on argumentation; more specifically (and as with the other lesson plans on argumentation I’ve posted, this one relies on Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff’s excellent They Say/I Say: The Move That Matter in Academic Writing), this lesson involves students in the use of rhetorical figures in argumentation to enter an ongoing debate. I begin this lesson, right after a class change, with this context clues worksheet on the Latinism nota bene, generally abbreviated as n.b. Users of other context clues worksheets from Mark’s Text Terminal will note that this document is a very slight departure from the usual format. Finally, here is the worksheet that is at the center of this lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Anxiety

Yesterday was the last day of school in Springfield. Now I must get busy finding a job for the fall. As it appears my apartment in The Bronx has sold, I need to find a place to live as well. In other words, in the next couple of months, I must undertake two of the most stressful activities in which humans involve themselves.

So, this morning seems as good a time as any to post this reading on anxiety and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. If you work with anxious kids, and if the statistics on anxiety in kids are true, I suspect you’ll find a use for this in your classroom.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, June 14, 2019

Today is the final Friday of the 2018-2019 school year, probably the most challenging year I have faced in my career. Enough said. Let’s move on.

Here is a complete lesson plan on trade and commercial interaction as a cause of history. I opened this lesson, when I was using it, with this context clues worksheet on the adjective efficient; I wanted students to use this word to understand that one of the many benefits the earliest human civilizations derived from the rivers next to which they were situated was the use of that water to increase efficiency in trade. Finally, here is worksheet and note-taking blank for student use in this lesson. Nota bene, please, that this is a brainstorming lesson that calls upon the teacher to serve as an active Socratic foil. You’ll need to prepare to ask a lot of broad questions about how trade increased human contact, created the concept of cosmopolitanism, fostered the rise of social class distinctions, changed diets, religion, languages clothing–hell, really, trade made the world what it is today.

And remember: in spite of all the talk in the last generation or so about “the rise of globalization,” the global economy really begins with the Silk Road.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.