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, November 8, 2019

Alright, this week’s Text is a lesson plan on the art of summarizing which is part of a bigger unit on argumentation that I wrote–but used only once–a couple of years ago.

This context clues worksheet on the verb concede (which is used transitively, but can be used intransitively, according to Merriam-Webster’s, by writing to make concession) opens the lesson. I use this exemplar of a summary, drawn from the book that informs this unit, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (New York: Norton, 2018) as a learning support and model text. This learning support on the verbs used in the rhetorical figures of argumentation supplies students with the vocabulary they require to postulate and write sound arguments. Here are the two exercises for summarizing that are at the center of this lesson. Finally, here is the worksheet for this lesson that contains the full text of the exemplar linked to above.

And that’s it for another week at Mark’s Text Terminal. Enjoy the weekend.

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, November 1, 2019

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on differentiating and using transitive and intransitive verbs. I think it’s important that students understand these kinds of words because if they decide to study an inflected language, they will need to understand how to decline the direct objects of verbs, which often take the accusative case in such languages. I ran into this while studying Russian all those years ago.

In any case, the first do-now exercise for this lesson is this Cultural Literacy worksheet on transitive verbs. If this lesson, for whatever reason, goes into a second day, then here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Dr. Seuss; if you and your students like that document, then you can find a yearlong supply of them for free from the good people at Education World. Finally, here is the scaffolded worksheet at the center of this lesson.

And that’s it. I bid you a restful and revivifying weekend.

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:

OK, esteemed colleagues: because they continue to be the most frequently downloaded files from Mark’s Text Terminal, here is another complete Crime and Puzzlement lesson plan, this one on the “Murder in a Bookstore.”

I begin this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Aesop’s fables. You won’t be able to do much without this PDF of the illustration and questions that drive this lesson. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key.

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, 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.