Category Archives: Lesson Plans

This category identifies a post with several documents, which will include a lesson plan, and may include a short exercise to being the class (known in the New York City Department of Education as a “do-now”) a worksheet, often scaffolded, a teacher’s copy of the worksheet, and a learning support of some kind.

The Weekly Text, 10 September 2021: A Lesson Plan on Lesson Plan on the Number of Characters Used in Writing Systems from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the number of characters used in writing systems. Like all of the lessons and other materials under the heading of The Order of Things, this lesson and its list as reading and comprehension questions are adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s magisterial reference book of the same name.

Nota bene, please, that I adapted these materials to assist students who struggle to work with two symbolic systems–i.e., in this case, numbers and letters–at the same time. Needless to say, these documents can be adapted for your use; they are, like almost everything else here, in Microsoft Word. In other words, they are open source.

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, 3 September 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “Cookie Jar”

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Cookie Jar.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the French noun phrase coup de grace. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. Let me caution you that its not the cheeriest of material: remember that the original meaning of coup de grace is “a death blow or death shot administered to end the suffering of one mortally wounded.” If you want a better do-now for this lesson, there are thousands of them on this blog–just go to the word cloud on the home page and click on “context clues” or “cultural literacy.”

To conduct your investigation into the heinous crime committed in this lesson, you’ll need this PDF scan of the illustration and questions that serve, respectively, and the evidence and investigative points for solving the case. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key to help you bring the offender to justice.

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.

Write It Right: Clever for Obliging

“Clever for Obliging. In this sense the word was once in general use in the United States, but is now seldom heard and life here is less insupportable.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

The Weekly Text, 27 August 2021: A Lesson Plan on Using the Reciprocal Pronouns

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on using the reciprocal pronoun. In addition to the broad use of language the lesson aims to help students develop, the narrow objective of this lesson is to help students understand usage, in this case that the two reciprocal pronouns are, each other, which refers to two people, and one another, which refers to more than two people. 

I generally open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Latinism mea culpa (i.e. “my fault” or “I’m to blame,” or, as I’ve heard some students say, “my bad”; you can probably see the root of culpability in this phrase). This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. If the lesson goes into a second day, or if you simply prefer it, here is a homophones worksheet on you’re and your. This is also a half-page worksheet, with six modified cloze exercises.

This scaffolded worksheet is the principal work of this lesson. It starts with a series of modified cloze exercises, then calls upon students, to practice independently (i.e. homework) by writing sentences demonstrating they can align the proper number of subject with its proper reciprocal pronoun. To make teaching this a little easier, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet.

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, 20 August 2021: A Lesson Plan on Nations with the Shortest Coastlines from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on nations with the shortest coastlines. Here is the list as reading with comprehension questions. As the title of this post indicates, this is another lesson adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s magisterial (I really want her job) reference book The Order of Things (New York: Random House, 1997).

Nota bene, please, that I wrote these materials (there are quite a few of them on this blog now, with more to come) with the needs of students who struggle with reading in mind, especially when two symbolic systems (letters and numbers) are at work in the same lesson. If you find this lesson useful in your classroom, you might find its companion, a lesson on nations with the longest coastlines, which I published last month, a complement to the documents in this post.

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, 30 July 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Reflexive and Intensive Pronoun

This week’s text is a lesson plan on the reflexive and intensive pronouns–i.e. myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves–and their use in declarative sentences and expository prose.

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the bibliography and its function in scholarly writing. In the event the lesson goes into a second day due to whatever classroom exigencies you encounter, you might want to use this Everyday Edit worksheet on Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…” etc.) that the United States Constitution guarantees people when they are arrested. (Incidentally if you like Everyday Edit worksheets, don’t forget that the good people at Education World offer a year’s supply of them at no charge.)

Here is a learning support on reflexive and intensive pronouns that I distribute with this scaffolded worksheet that is the primary work of this lesson. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy of the worksheet that eases delivery of this material.

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, 23 July 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Greek Word Root Neo-

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Greek word root neo. As you most likely know, it means, simply, new. It can also mean recent, a slightly different temporal shade of meaning from new. This is a very productive root in English; it can be set as a prefix across a wide variety of nouns and adjectives.

I start this unit, to hint at were it’s going, with this context clues worksheet on the verb innovate (nov is the Latin equivalent of neo). You’ll need this scaffolded worksheet on neo to execute 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.

The Weekly Text, 2 July 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Crime and Puzzlement Case “The Cider Booth”

This week’s text is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “The Cider Booth.” 

I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on dead languages. Incidentally, the short reading in this half-page document speaks specifically of Latin, ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. As a matter of routine in my classroom, I taught Greek and Latin word roots for vocabulary building. When one thinks about how often classical word roots turn up in English words, the idea under the circumstances that these languages are “dead” can make for interesting classroom discussions. Also, when one considers that Spanish, the first lingua franca of a wide swath of student I served over the years, is in some respect a modern version of Latin, the idea that the tongue of the Roman Empire is dead doesn’t quite make sense.

Anyway, to conduct your investigation into the case of “The Cider Booth,” you will need this PDF of the illustration and questions that both drive the investigation and serve as evidence in it. Finally, to identify a suspect and bring him or her to the bar of justice, here is the typescript of the answer key you will need.

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 25, 2021: A Lesson Plan on the Demonstrative Pronoun

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the demonstrative pronouns. What are the demonstrative pronouns? They are four simple words: this, that, these, and those. 

I open this lesson with this worksheet on the homophones to, too, and two. In the event the lesson continues into a second day (an eventuality for which I always prepare), here is a second do-now, this one a Cultural Literacy worksheet on italics. The principle work for this lesson is this scaffolded worksheet. To make teaching the lesson a bit easier, here is the teachers copy of the same worksheet I prepared for my own use.

This lesson gives students an opportunity to try out their procedural knowledge, which the lessons prior to this one introduced in various ways, of subject-verb agreement in declarative sentences. These four words have simple, but elegant rules: this and that always govern the use of a singular noun and singular verb form; these and those, of course, govern the use of a plural noun and a plural verb form. I worked in college writing centers for several years, and one of the most common writing lapses that moved people to visit was subject-verb agreement in number. So–stress this skill, I would say.

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 11, 2021: A Lesson Plan on Geometric Angle by Degrees from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the degrees of angles in geometry. Here is the worksheet with a short reading and a series of comprehension questions.

The reading covers the five types of angles in geometry: acute (1-89 degrees); right (90 degrees); obtuse (91-179 degrees); straight (180 degrees); and reflex (180-359 degrees). This is an exercise designed to supply diverse learners with practice manipulating two symbolic systems–i.e. words and numbers–at the same time. It also, I would think (but also qualify this with something that is beyond dispute–I am not a teacher of mathematics), introduces students to the concept of angles in geometry.

For more on the material I developed from Barbara Anne Kipfer’s superb reference book The Order of Things, see the About Posts & Texts page visible on the masthead of the home page of this blog.

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.