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.

Crime and Puzzlement: The Cruise of the Good Ship Contessa

Moving right along, here is a lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “The Good Ship Contessa.” I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on perhaps the best-known of Aesop’s Fables, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Here is the scan of the illustrations and questions with which to conduct the investigation of this case. 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.

A Complete Lesson Plan on Using the Predicate Pronoun

Here is a lesson plan on using the predicate pronoun. I open this lesson with this Everyday Edit worksheet on Anne Frank (and you can help yourself to a yearlong supply of these worksheets courtesy of the good people at Education World). Here is a learning support on pronouns to assist students in developing their own understanding of these words and their use in declarative sentences. This scaffolded worksheet is the center of this lesson; 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.

Review Essay: A Lesson Plan on Ghoti and Its Others

The amount of research on reading is voluminous. Even after reading what I consider and exhaustive (and occasionally exhausting) amount of this material across a period of 15 years, I still barely scratched the surface of this body of literature. At the classroom level, however, teaching practice demands keen attention to two things: decoding–i.e. recognizing the correspondence between letters and their sounds, known as phonemic awareness, and comprehension–i.e. understanding the meanings of words and applying that understanding, in synthesis, to the entire body of a text to understand it.

English is a tough language to decode. One person who recognized this and wanted to do something about it was the Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw. Shaw was sufficiently concerned about the odd vagaries of English spelling that he actually bequeathed money in his estate for spelling reform. Indeed, there is a form of orthography known as the Shavian Alphabet (Aside: Shavian is both an adjective and a noun meaning, basically, related to George Bernard Shaw and his writings.)

In any case, one of the well-known representations of the challenges of English phonics, often erroneously (it first appeared, apparently, in a letter from Charles Ollier to Leigh Hunt) attributed to Shaw, is the word ghoti. It is possible, using English phonics, to pronounce this word as fish: take the gh from tough (i.e. f), the o from the plural women (i.e. short i), and the ti from action (i.e. sh).

Over the years, when I had a few minutes left in a class period, generally at the beginning of the school year, I would trot this out for the struggling readers and English language learners I served. After explaining–in summary of course–much of the foregoing in this essay, I would point out to students that if they struggled with English phonics and their representation in orthography, they were in very good company: George Bernard Shaw, Nobel prizewinning author whose plays are still routinely performed today.

This year, I finally wrote out this lesson plan on ghoti for use in a full class period. Here is the accompanying worksheet and the teacher’s copy of same. I added a few words, which I grabbed somewhere along the line. Now it’s yours if you can use it.

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 Order of Things: Admission (or Readmission after the Civil War) of States to the Union

As I mentioned the previous posts in which I published these documents (and you can learn more about these materials in the “About Posts & Texts” page on the homepage of this blog, just above the banner photograph), I began to contrive lessons from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book The Order of Things just about the time I left public education last month. So, because I have only used these materials in the classroom a couple of times, they remain somewhat tentative.

Nonetheless, I wrote 30 of them, and have the document templates prepared to write 30 more–at least. If you’ve ever considered commenting on Mark’s Text Terminal, I would be very much obliged to hear what you think of these lessons. I intended them for emergent and struggling readers as a means to experience directly the task of reading and comprehending two symbolic systems (i.e. numbers and letters) at the same time.

So, here is a lesson plan on admission (and readmission after the Civil War) of states to the Union, along with its reading and comprehension worksheet. The worksheet is relatively short; like most other things on this blog, however, it is in Microsoft Word and therefore easily manipulable to your needs. I suppose, as I look at these, they have the potential for transfer into cross-disciplinary instruction.

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.

Aesop’s Fables: The Fox and the Crow

OK, finally for this morning, here is a lesson plan on Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Crow” along with its reading and comprehension 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 Order of Things: Admission of States to the Union

OK, before I return to a really trashy thriller I have the bad judgement to read, here is a lesson plan on the admission on the admission–or readmission after the Civil War–of states to the United States. Here also is the worksheet at the center of this lesson.

The material I have adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s The World of Order and Organization; How Things Are Arranged into Hierarchies, Structures, and Pecking Orders (New York: Random House, 1997)–the original copy I possessed of the book not long after it was published was called simply The Order of Things, hence the title of the unit–and written into lessons and worksheets is something brand new at Mark’s Text Terminal. I used only a few of them in the classroom. Since it is unlikely that I will teach at the secondary level in public schools again, these are untested. I’ll post them anyway; a rationale, and my thinking toward that rationale, for their use can be found on the “About Posts & Texts” page, linked to just above the banner photograph but below the banner itself.

Please allow me to dilate on the statement below: like just about everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, these are Microsoft Word documents. That means you can alter and adapt them to your needs. If you use these materials and find them effective, I would be much obliged for your comments. And please keep in mind that if these are useful educational instruments, I will be much more likely to produce more of them–and post them here.

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 Using the Predicate Adjective

Here is a lesson plan on using the predicate adjective in short, declarative sentences. The syntax of these kinds of short sentences, which is subject-linking verb-adjective, is one of the most common constructions in English speech and prose. For that reason, I have included a lesson on the predicate adjective on each of the first three units on parts of speech, to wit nouns, verbs, and adjectives, that I wrote about ten years ago and have revised ever since.

That’s a long way around explaining that you will see lessons on using the predicate adjective in grammatically complete declarative sentences at least a couple of more times.

In any case, I open this lesson with this worksheet on the homophones compliment and complement. Because the noun complement is often used as a synonym for predicate in grammar manuals, and I think it’s important that students know how to use grammar manuals, I want them to know this word. This scaffolded worksheet is the mainstay of this lesson; here is the teachers’ copy of it. Finally, here is an adjectives word bank. Please notice  that this document has four copies of the same word list–it’s meant to be cut in four pieces in a paper-saving measure.

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.