The following is an example of a lesson I have implemented in my classroom. I designed the lesson based on the Anita Archer method, neurodevelopment, and Universal Design for Learning. The elements of Universal Design for Learning are highlighted.
7th Grade Language Arts
Writing Lesson Plan
Students will use adjectives in revising simple sentences to demonstrate improved word choice.
Grade level standard:
Evaluation and Revision 1.7. Revise writing to improve organization and word choice after checking the logic of the ideas and the precision of the vocabulary.
Teacher will play a brief video from School House Rocks titled “Unpack Your Adjectives.”
Representation: This is an example of representation because it activates student background knowledge on adjectives, which we have introduced in a previous lesson. The video also provides models and examples of the use of adjectives that are in both written, pictorial, and auditory formats.
Engagement: Using a cartoon to grab student attention is a way to motivate the learners with age appropriate materials.
“Yesterday we began working on our new set of vocabulary words. Together, we came up with definitions for each word. Today we are going to play a game with those definitions.” Each student will receive an index card with either a definition or a vocabulary word on it. Vocabulary words will be written on pink cards and definitions will be written on blue cards. Students will then be allowed to walk around the room in order to find their partner. A student’s partner will either be the definition that matches the word they have, or the word to the definition they have. The object of the game will be for the entire class to find their pairs as fast as they can. If necessary, students may refer to their Language Arts journals in which they have recorded the definitions for the week’s vocabulary. Also, those who have already found their partners will be responsible for helping those who have not found them yet. Once all pairs have met up, each team will return to their seats and present their word and definition set to the class.
Engagement: There are different levels of challenge embedded within this activity. Some students may find it harder to match the word to the definition, and others may find it harder to match the definition to the word. The partner discussion element also is an additional way to interact with the material. Having students read the index cards and then interact with one another via discussion and clarification addresses visual and oral learning modalities, and also adds a kinesthetic element to the opening of the lesson.
Goal: “Today we will be continuing our work on revising our writing. Remember, when we revise our work, we are making what we want to say clearer to the person who is reading. The part of revising that we are focusing on is the words we choose and we are going to use adjectives to do so. Now I don’t think that any of us like reading that is boring. I like reading that makes me picture things, makes me forget that I am reading, and is exciting. Let’s see how we can all make our writing exciting and fun to read!”
Engagement: Discovering how to make both reading and writing fun and exciting personalizes the process to students.
Model (I Do It):
Teacher will prompt students to look at the vocabulary words for the week that are posted on the classroom Word Wall and explain that they will be using those words to write simple sentences. As a group, the class will vote on which vocabulary word they want to write a sentence about. After students select a vocabulary word, the teacher will use the word to write a simple sentence. This will be projected onto the overhead with a document camera. Teacher will then model how to use adjectives to make the sentence more interesting with think alouds.
Representation: Repetition of the words revision and adjective will make the process clear to the students, as well as the use of examples and non-examples. The think aloud is an oral explanation, and combined with the visual representation of the sentence on the projector provides a presentation of the material in multiple ways. The format can also be adjusted to increase the text size. Teacher will write in two colors to make the revision of the sentence easy to distinguish visually.
Prompt (We Do It):
Teacher will then explain that the class will be playing a game similar to MadLibs. As a group, the students will be revising sentences in order to make them more descriptive. Students will then partner up. Under every desk there will be an adjective taped beneath it. Each pair will be working with two words, and they can choose to contribute either word to the game. Various simple sentences on PowerPoint slides will be projected onto the white board. Each sentence will have fill-in-the-blanks, which will indicate where adjectives may be inserted. Some sentences will have spaces for multiple adjectives. Each pair will have an opportunity to contribute their adjective to the simple sentences and explain why the adjective is appropriate. Once a word has been chosen, one partner will walk up to the board and write in their adjective on the blank line with a dry erase marker, and the other will read the sentence to the class. Teacher will provide feedback and reateach as needed.
Engagement: Working in partners reduces the pressure on an individual student to come up with an appropriate response, thus keeping the risk level low. In addition, this would motivate learners who enjoy the risks that come with playing games in a group. Walking up to the board to contribute the adjective to the sentence allows students to be kinesthetically engaged with the information being discussed. Transitioning into a game chunks the lesson into manageable parts for all students, especially those with difficulty attending to one task for extended periods of time. The activity also provides an opportunity for both peer and teacher feedback.
Check (You Do It):
Students will then participate in activity called Adjective Abracadabra. Each student will join up with a partner or work in a small group. Each pair or group will move to a section of the room where butcher paper is posted on the wall. On each piece of butcher paper will be a simple sentence. Each word of the sentence will be written on large yellow index cards, and these yellow cards will be taped on the butcher paper. Each set of students will receive a “Bag of Tricks.” Inside the Bag of Tricks will be a various adjectives written on large green index cards. There will also be a stack of blank green cards if students choose to write down their own adjectives. Students will be given five minutes to play with the sentences by arranging and adding adjectives from their Bag of Tricks to the simple sentences. After the five minutes are up, students will record their sentences. Each group will then trade their Bags of Tricks with an adjacent group to add new adjectives to their sentences. After another five minutes, the students will record their new sentences. This process will repeat a third time if time permits. At the end of the activity, each group will share their original sentence with the class, and then present how they were able to transform this boring sentence into a newer, more exciting sentence, just like magic!
Engagement: The emphasis on this part of the lesson is process over the product. Giving students the choice to work in their preferred manner either with partners or small groups empowers them as learners. It also contributes to the building of positive learning communities. This portion of the lesson allows opportunities for student reflection, discussion, as well as teacher feedback.
Students will be split into two teams and we will play a game of Jumbo Connect Four. Each student will receive a giant Connect Four piece, and the board will be projected onto the wall of the classroom. Each team will receive a deck of noun cards, and will read the card to the opposing team. The opposing team will need to come up with an adjective to describe the noun pulled from the deck. After the team comes up with an adjective, they will take a turn putting their piece on the Jumbo Connect Four board.
Engagement: Requiring each student to contribute one word lowers the risk level for participation but also allows each individual voice to be heard. In addition, because each student gets a turn to play, regardless of their word choice, the pressure of winning or losing the game will not fall on one student. Students may contribute a simple or complex word dependent on their ability level. This activity will encourage team building and allow for multiple opportunities for teacher to utilize positive behavior support to encourage appropriate behaviors.
“So today we practiced revising our work with the use of adjectives. How did we do this? Did we do it quickly? Did we do it carefully? Did we do it correctly? Did we do it magically? We did all these things! These types of words that tell us how we revised our sentences are called adverbs, and we’ll be working our magic with them tomorrow!”
Each student will draw a simple sentence from a hat and return to their desks. They will then be responsible for making the sentences more interesting and descriptive. Students can choose to write their new sentences on paper, their Language Arts journals, white boards, or word processing on their laptops. Students are free to use the word wall and will be provided all of the adjectives from each Bag of Tricks in the form of a word bank. Students may also cut and paste adjectives into their sentences with scissors and glue. When they are finished, students may illustrate their sentence if they so choose.
Expression: Providing both traditional and non-traditional learning tools makes the assignment accessible for all types of learners. These options for output allow students various avenues to interact with the material and present their learning outcomes.
Engagement: Working individually creates an opportunity for students who are motivated by the challenge of independent work to succeed.
Assessment: I will assess their mastery by the correctness of their independent work.