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 14, 2018

It’s second Friday of our school year here in New York. The first month of school is always a long haul as programming works out, and teachers get to know students. We’ve had one of the sides of Hurricane Florence passing through here this week, so stultifying humidity and the constant threat of rain hangs over the region.

This week’s Text is a complete lesson plan introducing personal pronouns. I use this Everyday Edit worksheet on Pocahontas to begin the lesson; should the lesson go into a second day due to unforeseen circumstances I keep this Cultural Literacy worksheet on satire nearby to start the conclusion of the lesson on that second day. This is the scaffolded worksheet that is the center of the lesson, and here is teacher’s copy of same.

That’s it for this week. Tomorrow begins Hispanic Heritage Month 2018, which runs through October 15. Mark’s Text Terminal will regularly feature, as in years past, materials related to Hispanic Heritage and History for the next four or so weeks.

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.

A Complete Lesson Plan on the Greek Word Root Anthrop/o

Rain continues to fall in New York City, a manifestation of Hurricane Florence, which is about to put a beatdown on the Carolinas. I’m glad to be in my dry apartment working on posting this complete lesson on the Greek word root anthrop/o, which means man and human. I start this lesson with this context clues worksheet for the noun humanity to provide a basis for the heuristic work this scaffolded worksheet with an independent practice assignment requires of students. The context clues worksheets can serve as the prior knowledge students will need to help them understand the meaning of this Greek word root.

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.

A Complete Lesson Plan on the Paleolithic Era

Alright: I have to run off an meet a friend from Wisconsin in Manhattan. Before I do, I’ll drink a quick cup of coffee and post this complete lesson plan on the paleolithic period of human history. I begin teaching this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun artifact and this one on the noun nomad. This short reading and comprehension worksheet on the paleolithic period 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.

A Complete Lesson Plan on Geography and History

Earlier this week I read Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks’ book The Case for a Constructivist Classroom. Because I was mostly educated by constructivist teachers, particularly in high school and college, I find the method salubrious and use it whenever I can. I prefer to ask questions and let students talk rather than operating my own piehole for an entire class period. So I have been gratified this week, perusing my first unit for freshman global studies, to find several constructivist lessons in it.

In fact, I posted one yesterday on the causes of history. That entire first unit is entitled “Cause of History,” and it is simply an attempt to induce students to think of history as a process rather than a set of facts to be mastered (and, alas, regurgitated in high-stakes tests).

So here is a complete lesson plan on geography and history. I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun age (as in historical age). This is a discussion lesson, so if the discussion seems promising, and is leading to the creation of meaning among students, I will take it into a second day. If you see fit to do that, you might want this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Finally, here is the worksheet for this lesson, which is really little more than a note-taking template.

I want to stress that this is a student-centered lesson driven by the teacher’s Socratic questioning.

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, August 24, 2018

It’s August 24. Today in AD 79, Mount Vesuvius, in Southern Italy, erupted and destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Stabiae, and Herculaneum. The Ukraine celebrates its independence from the Soviet Union today, which it achieved upon the collapse of that empire in 1991. On this day in 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces raided and burned Washington, D.C.

This week’s Text is a complete introductory lesson plan on pronouns. I begin this lesson, in order to get kids settled after a class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Fine Arts; if, for some reason, the lesson goes into a second day, I use this Everyday Edit worksheet on Maya Angelou to begin the concluding part of the work for this lesson. The mainstay of this lesson is this introductory worksheet on pronouns. You will probably need, or at least want, the teacher’s copy of the worksheet. Finally, here is a learning support on pronouns and case that I use throughout the unit on pronouns that this lesson introduces.

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, July 13, 2018

It’s Friday the 13th! On this day in 1787, by an act of the Congress of the Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance became law. Also on this day in 1930, soccer’s first World Cup matches were played. In 1985 on this day, Live Aid concerts for Ethiopian Famine relief were held in London and Philadelphia. It’s the birthday of Jean-Luc Picard; British actor Sir Patrick Stewart is, amazingly, 78 years old today.

This week’s Text is a lesson plan, one of many, that I worked up to use with Lawrence Treat’s series of kid’s books, Crime and Puzzlement. I came across these materials in two books last year, to wit George Hillocks Jr.’s  otherwise unremarkable Teaching Argument Writing Grades 6-12: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2017), but also in two separate papers contained in Keith J. Holyoak and Robert G. Morrison’s (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). All three of these texts extolled the Crime and Puzzlement books as exemplary instructional material for teaching students to assess, analyze, and synthesize evidence in support of an argument and contention.

I ordered the first volume, broke it up and scanned texts for several of the “cases,” and tried them out in my classroom. My freshman English students jumped right into these, and clearly enjoyed them. So I knew I had to build a unit to rationalize the use of this material in my classroom.

Now, about four months later, that unit is nearing completion, and I have 72 lessons in the unit. This week’s Text offers you the first lesson plan in the Crime and Puzzlement Unit Plan. To teach this lesson, you’ll need this worksheet on the case entitled Boudoir. To “solve” the “case,” you’ll need the answer key. Depending on how you begin your class period and its duration, you may want to start the lesson with a do-now exercise, which for this lesson is this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Marie Antoinette’s probably apocryphal statement “Let them eat cake.”

Unfortunately, the Crime and Puzzlement books (there are three in total) appear to remain in copyright, so I don’t think I can ethically or legally post many of these lesson plans. If you choose to contrive your own material based on these books, I can post the unit plan (it’s not quite ready as of this writing) for you; it will contain the standards met, a lengthy, discursive justification for using these methods and materials, and other supporting documentation.

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.

TeachRock

Over the last week, while lazing around in northeastern Massachusetts, I read several back issues of Rolling Stone magazine. In one of the them I learned that Steven Van Zandt was on tour with his band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. Back in the 1980s when Mr. Van Zandt was recording and releasing his albums with this group, I actually preferred them to the recordings of the band for which he was best known. I speak, or course, of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. For some reason, only the first album from Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, Men Without Women, is a available on the streaming music service to which I subscribe.

And if you watched the crime drama The Sopranos, then you probably know that Mr. Van Zandt ably, and often with dark humor, played “gentlemen’s club” (ahem) owner and member of Tony Soprano’s inner circle Silvio Dante.

In other words, Steven Van Zandt is a protean talent. Reading the article on him in Rollng Stone, I learned that his current tour was expressly in appreciation of teachers, and that the proceeds from the tour would be used to continue building a website for teachers called TeachRock that provides lesson plans and curriculum on popular music. I just established an account there because it looks like very good material.

Although I’m just sayin’, you might want to take a look. And thank you, Steven Van Zandt.