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Lindsay Kaye Ohlert

CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
Literacy Lesson Plans
Program Particulars
Language: English
Program Model: Push-in (Inclusion)
Level or type of class: 7 grade ELA

Student Characteristics

Grade Level(s): 7
L2 Proficiency: ELLs are Advanced/Transitional. Several students have English as their L1.
L2 Literacy Levels: Intermediate/Advanced

Assumptions About What Students Already Know and Can Do
Essential Skills: forming declarative sentences, paragraphing, narrative writing, punctuating
declarative, questioning and exclamatory sentences, providing peer revision feedback
Knowledge: story structure, main idea and supporting details, composing process,

Unit Theme and Big Idea: Vivid Characters

Key Content Concepts: characterization, author intent, inferences, supporting evidence

Targeted National and State Standards
MN English Language Proficiency Standards
Understand story elements (standard 3.2); interpret texts (standard 3.2); identify author intent(standard
3.2); make inferences(standard 3.2); express and support opinions (standard 2.2); use some specific
vocabulary (standard 2.2); write stories (standard 4.2); write descriptions (standard 4.2)

MN English Language Arts Content Standards
Identify author’s purpose (stated or implied) (standard 7.1.C.8); critically read and evaluate (standard
7.1.C.13); read a variety of high-quality works (standard 7.1.D.1); identify and describe the relationships
Desired Results

between elements of fiction (standard 7.1.D.3); analyze characters (standard 7.1.D.4); describe how
meaning is conveyed in author’s stylistic choices (standard 7.1.D.7); respond to literature using details to

support reactions (standard 7.1.D.8); create narratives that develop people/characters (standard
7.2.B.2); use composing processes (standard 7.2.B.4); various spelling, grammar and usage standards
(standard 7.2.C)

Unit-Level Goals:
Essential Questions:
How do authors create vivid characters? How can readers understand characters? Where do authors
hide clues about characters in texts? How can readers find and understand those clues? How do the
words and constructions authors choose to describe characters affect our perceptions?

Enduring Understandings:
Students will understand that…authors use interactions with others, actions, physical
description, dialogue, and thoughts to flesh out characters. Students will understand that in academic
writing, assertions must be backed with evidence.
Students will be able to….create distinct characters in the context of narratives, using
interactions, actions, description, dialogue and thoughts. Students will be able to make inferences and
support them with textual evidence. Students will be able to construct complex compound sentences as
required for cognitive academic language writing proficiency. Students will be able to determine
meanings of unfamiliar words using context clues. Students will be able to monitor comprehension
using self-questioning.
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
Day One (block schedule):
Lesson Topic: How do authors create vivid characters? How can readers understand characters?

Learning Objectives
Content: Students will identify how physical description, interactions, speech/writing,
thoughts, and actions contribute to creating a vivid character. Students will support inferences with
factual evidence.

Language: Using phrases such as “I think” and “I know” and conjunctions such as “because,”
students will form compound complex declarative sentences in the present tense in order to state and
Desired Results

support assertions.

Learning Strategies: Students will use self-questioning to monitor comprehension and make

Time Frame: 90 minutes

Materials/Resources: Transparency or scan of the cover of No, David! (David Shannon) displayed on
overhead or LCD projector, writing journals, photocopies of David Talamantez on the Last Day of Second
Grade (Rosemary Catacalos), post-it tabs, brown paper bags, writing utensils. Optional: crafting supplies
such as colored paper, glue, scissors, etc.

Learning Activities/Tasks
Preview Phase—“into” activities (15 min)
 Do-now activity: as students enter the room, the cover of No, David! is displayed on the board,
and students respond to the prompt “Please describe David.” in their journals. (5 min)
 Teacher calls on students to share observations about David. If a student makes an inference
(e.g. “David is naughty”) the teacher asks what about the picture showed that; teacher points
out when students are using components of characterization in their observations (e.g. “Good,
that’s a fact about how David looks/acts/interacts/etc.”) (5 min)
 Teacher displays a list of components of characterization on the board (physical description,
Learning Experiences

actions, interactions, thoughts, speech/writing) and checks to makes sure all students
understand what each term means. (5 min)

Focused Learning Phase—“through” activities (50 min)
 Distribute copies of David Talamantez. Teacher points out that this David is different from the
David from the children’s book cover. Teacher points out text structure, specifically the unusual
poetic paragraph breaks mid-sentence, in order to avoid this creating comprehension
difficulties. “Popcorn” style read-aloud of the text as a full class, pausing periodically to check
for understanding by questioning: what’s a “sheaf”? Why are the words in italics spelled
wrong? etc. Teacher calls on students to ask the questions and to answer them, as well as
adding his/her own questions at points necessary to help students comprehend the text (e.g.
“What does ‘drawn in freehand’ mean?”) (20 min)
 Distribute post-it tabs. Students will stick a tab on the text each time they find an example of a
component of characterization in the text, with what component it is indicated on the tab.
Teacher models this with the first few paragraphs, for example, sticking a tab with “action”
written on it on the line “tosses papers from a thick sheaf of lined paper high in the air.”
Students work with assigned partners to stick at least 8 more labeled tabs on the text. (15 min)
 Individually, students create paper bag puppets of David Talamantez. Inside the mouth, they
write at least one example of his writing/speech, on the top back (behind the head) they write
at least one thought, inside the left side fold at least one action, inside the right side fold at
least one interaction. The drawing constitutes the physical description. Teacher shows pre-
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
prepared example as a model. Students are instructed not to spend too much time on the
drawing part; if they wish to add more detail and craft to their puppets, they may do so as
homework (15 min)

Expansion Phase—“beyond” activities (25 min)
 As a full class, teacher calls on students to make some inferences based on their puppets –
“What action did you write on your puppet? What does that action tell you about David?”
 On the board, teacher models writing “I think/I know/I believe ___________ because/as
____________” sentences to make and support inferences, such as “I know David is self-
confident, because he shouts ‘David, yes!’” (10 min)
 Students write at least four sentences of this type individually on a separate sheet of paper to
be handed in. They use their paper bag puppets as a reference – e.g. if they wrote “adds birds,
clouds and butterflies to traced pictures,” they might make a sentence like “I believe David is
creative, as he adds birds, clouds and butterflies to traced pictures.” (10 min)
 Teacher calls on a few students to share their supported inference sentences with the class.
Students hand in sentences, and either hand in puppets (if complete) or place them in their
homework folders (if they wish to finish their drawings at home). (5 min)

Lesson-Level Formative Assessment Procedures:

 Teacher observations of student participation in self-questioning during the read-aloud
(learning strategy)
 Student performance of the written expansion phase activity (language objective, inference
content objective)
 Accuracy and completion of the paper bag puppets (characterization content objective)

Text of David Talamantez…
David Talamantez on the Last Day of Second Grade
By Rosemary Catacalos
San Antonio, Texas 1988

David Talamantez, whose mother is at work, leaves his mark things are big, much bigger than Talamantez's tiny writing.
everywhere in the schoolyard, Write larger, his teacher says
tosses pages from a thick sheaf of lined paper high in the air one
by one, watches them in red ink across the tops of many pages. Messy! she says on
others where he has erased
catch on the teachers' car bumpers, drift into the chalky narrow and started over, erased and started over. Spelling, Language
shade of the water fountain. Expression, Sentences Using
One last batch, stapled together, he rolls tight into a makeshift
horn through which he shouts the Following Words. Neck. I have a neck name. No! 20’s, 30's.
Think again! He's good
David! and David, yes! before hurling it away hard and darting in Art, though, makes 70 on Reading Station Artist's Corner,
across Barzos Street against where he's traced and colored
the light, the little sag of head and shoulders when, safe on the
other side, he kicks a can an illustration from Henny Penny. A goose with red-and-white
striped shirt, a hen in a turquoise
in the gutter and wanders toward home. David Talamantez dress. Points off for the birds, cloud and butterfly he's drawn in
believes birds are warm blooded, freehand. Not in the original
the way they are quick in the air and give out long strings of
complicated music, different picture! Twenty-five points off for writing nothing in the blank
after This is my favorite scene
all the time, not like cats and dogs. For this he was marked down in the book because . . . There's a page called Rules. Listen!
in Science, and for putting Always working! Stay in your seat!
his name in the wrong place, on the right with the date instead
of on the left with Science Raise your hand before you speak! No fighting! Be quiet! Rules
copied from the board, no grade,
Questions, and for not skipping a line between his heading and only a huge red checkmark. Later there is a test on Rules. Listen!
answers. The X's for wrong Alay ercng! Sast in ao snet!
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009

Rars aone bfo your spek! No finagn! Be cayt! He gets 70 on and all the others, the one in the doorway of La Rosa Beauty
Rules, 10 on Spelling. An old man Shop, the one that blew under
stoops to pick up a crumpled drawing of a large family crowded the pool table at La Tenampa, the ones older kids have wadded
around a table, an apartment up like big spitballs, the ones run

with bars on the windows in Alazan Courts, a huge sun in one over by cars. On every single page David Talamantez has crossed
corner saying, Tomush noys! out the teacher's red numbers
After correcting the spelling, the grade is 90. Nice details! And and written in giant letters, blue ink, Yes! David, yes!
there's another mark, on this paper

Day Two (block schedule):
Lesson Topic:
Part one – Where do authors hide clues about characters in texts? How can readers find and
understand those clues?
Part two – Revisited: how do authors create vivid characters?

Learning Objectives
Content: Students will make and support inferences. Students will employ the five
Desired Results

components of characterization to create vivid characters.

Language: Using phrases such as “I think” and “I know” and conjunctions such as “because,”
students will form compound complex declarative sentences in the present tense in order to state and
support assertions.

Learning Strategies: Students will use context clues to understand unfamiliar words. Students
will use graphic organizers in pre-writing.

Time Frame: 90 minutes total

Materials/Resources: Individual photocopies of the first paragraph of Daughters of Memory (Janis
Arnold), same text as a transparency or scan to be displayed with an overhead or LCD projector, writing
journals, writing utensils, character web handout.

Learning Activities/Tasks
Today’s class is divided into two distinct lessons.
Lesson One (30 min):
Learning Experiences

Preview Phase—“into” activities (10 min)
 Do-now activity: as students enter the room, they receive copies of Daughters of Memory.
They skim the text, circling unfamiliar words.
 The teacher compiles a short list of the students’ most commonly unfamiliar words on the
board. Teacher projects the text on the screen, and the class examines the selected unfamiliar
words in context. The teacher calls on students to make educated guesses about the meanings
of the words, with the teacher initially prompting students to use context clues (e.g. “What do
you think ‘oxfords’ means? Look at the rest of the sentence – ‘…that my mother bought to be
her school shoes...’) and later simply asking them to support their proposed definitions (e.g.
“What do you think ‘drugstore’ means? How did you know?”) Note: students have been
instructed previously in the use of context clues.

Focused Learning Phase—“through” activities (15 min)
 Students partner-read the text with assigned partners.
 Teacher reminds students of the supported inference statements from the previous lesson.
Teacher models stating and supporting an inference based on an underlined portion of the text:
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
(e.g. based on the line “Mother made all our clothes,” the teacher could say “I know Claire
Louise and the narrator are sisters, because they have the same mother.”) Teacher writes his
or her example on the board, and calls on a student or two to give additional examples.
 In the same partners as before, students write at least three sentences following this model,
based on other underlined portions of the text. They then add their sentences to the examples
already on the board.

Expansion Phase—“beyond” activities (5 min)
 Teacher goes through the sentences now on the board with the whole class, pointing out
particularly sound inferences and well-stated sentences, making corrections to sentences that
have grammatical errors that could interfere with understanding, and modifying/removing any
nonsensical inferences while explaining why they don’t make sense.

Lesson Two (60 min):
Preview Phase—“into” activities (5 min)
 In their writing journals, students respond to the prompt “Think about a time you suddenly felt
a very strong emotion. How did you feel? Why did you feel that way? What did you do?”
Teacher warns students that they may be sharing this entry publically, so they shouldn’t write
about anything too personal.

Focused Learning Phase—“through” activities (40 min)
 Distribute character web handout to students. They place their own name at the center, then,
using the anecdote from their journals, fill in the other bubbles with details of their actions,
thoughts, speech, appearance, and interactions at the time of the incident. Students are
encouraged to include as many details as possible. If the teacher notices a student has chosen
an anecdote that is unsuitable for some reason, they should redirect the student to choose a
new topic before he/she gets too far into the web. (15 min)
 Teacher displays a web he or she has created ahead of time based on his or her own anecdote,
then models the process of turning this information into a vignette written in the first person,
displaying his/her writing on the overhead/projector as he/she writes, and self-talking through
the process. Teacher should take care to chose an entertaining but appropriate anecdote, and
to make sure it focuses on a brief moment in time only, as the focus is on the narrator’s
reaction to events in order to display characterization, not on the events themselves. (10 min)
 Students write their own vignette drafts based on their webs. Vignettes need only be a few
paragraphs long. (15 min)

Expansion Phase—“beyond” activities (15 min)
 Students read their drafts to their partners. Partners offer feedback verbally about the drafts’
strengths and request clarification of any confusing or underdeveloped points. Students make
additions/modifications to their drafts as necessary. Note: students are already familiar with
how to provide constructive feedback; this is an established procedure.
 A few students share their drafts with the class.
 Homework: students take home their drafts in order to make a clean copy to use in peer editing
the next day.

Lesson-Level Formative Assessment Procedures:

 Students’ verbal responses to teacher elicitation of definitions (context clues learning strategy)
 Accuracy and reasonableness of students inference statements (inference content objective,
language objective)
 Inclusion and integration of all five components of characterization in the web and vignette
draft (characterization content objective, graphic organizer strategy)
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
Literacy Lesson Planning Reflection

In these lessons, I attempted to combine content, language and strategy objectives that fit together

organically and reinforced one another. I decided to focus on strategy objectives related to self-questioning and

using context clues because they both relied on the same actions required to perform the content objective of

making and supporting inferences – the need to ask oneself incisive questions in order to better understand what

the author is communicating, and to answer those questions using textual evidence. I also chose these objectives

with a particular group of students in mind, most of whom can decode and read aloud like brilliant orators, but

tend to misunderstand texts due to gaps in vocabulary knowledge and lack of habitual close textual examination at

the word, phrase and sentence level.

I chose to repeat the one language objective because I see the need for a good deal of practice in this

area. The students I had in mind when I created this lesson tend to write either short, choppy sentences or

convoluted run-ons. They also have a good grasp of basic interpersonal communication, but not cognitive

academic language proficiency, and the ability to support assertions with facts is crucial for the vast majority of

pieces of academic writing (Peregoy & Boyle, 2008, p. 63). I hope that sufficient practice with the grammatical

constructions required to do so will reduce the cognitive load required to formulate the statements, allowing them

to devote more mental resources to making reasonable arguments well-backed with factual evidence. Basically, I

hope the emphasis on this particular language objective allows students to practice this construction and the

related content skill to the point of automaticity; I wish to “equip” them with this useful academic writing tool

(Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 197).

Many factors contributed to my decision to use the David Talamantez on the Last Day of Second Grade

poem and the Daughters of Memory excerpt. The David Talamantez poem is, admittedly, a fairly difficult text for

this group of students, but I chose it both despite and because of the difficulty. First, David’s experience is one

that many students can identify with, creating a high-interest “hook” (Ibid, p. 197). Second, the text portrays a

character clearly and strongly without relying much, if at all, on the “physical appearance” component of

characterization, and in my experience many authors this age tend to focus on describing their characters’ hair,

clothing and so forth to the exclusion of other characterization components. Third, I wanted a text that would
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
challenge all the students (Blaz, 2006, p. 27), even the higher level ones, and I believe the density and unusual

formatting does this without making the text excessively inaccessible to the less fluent readers. In response to the

difficulty, I specifically structured the lesson so that the students never needed to tackle understanding this poem

alone – we go through it as a class, then work in partners – as the text is certainly above most students’

independent reading levels, and would definitely be frustrating if not thoroughly scaffolded (Peregoy & Boyle,

2008, p. 296). The teacher and peer support should allow students to work at the upper end of their zones of

proximal development (Ibid, p. 396). That said, for students who are less confident in tackling unfamiliar writing

styles, or who need additional support, I could definitely see myself providing a re-formatted version of the text

where each full sentence was on a separate line, making the text appear more approachable and be easier to read

fluently and naturally (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 197; Blaz, 2006, pg. 52). As for the Daughters of Memory

excerpt, I am not in love with it, as it feels somewhat empty separated from its context and doesn’t come from a

particularly literary source to begin with, but it ties in nicely with the writing activity, as it’s a first person vignette,

and it contains enough obvious subtext to enable students to readily make inferences. Also, the “first day of first

grade” subject matter connects nicely David’s last day of second grade. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to substitute

a different brief excerpt from, say, the autobiography of a person related to the students’ current social studies

unit, or a snippet from a novel they’re reading, if something suitable comes up at the time I teach this lesson.

I formatted the lessons to provide natural scaffolding of the reading and writing tasks while thoroughly

covering all the objectives (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 197). Generally speaking, the reading portions of the

lessons begin with using the comprehension strategies to access the texts (Peregoy & Boyle, 2008, p. 352), then

move to using the content objectives to probe the texts more deeply, then the language objectives to respond. In

the writing portion of the last lesson, I chose to have the students create character-driven vignettes about

themselves in order to help them connect the objectives to their personal experiences, making them more

relevant and memorable, and also to raise the interest level – early adolescents do love talking about themselves.

I also included copious modeling, both by the teacher and by other students (Cappellini, 2005, p. 61).

Lastly, I should mention that running these lessons as written would require a supportive classroom

culture, well-established routines, and students who are already motivated and have a positive sense of self-

efficacy. The lessons are tightly paced, and it’d be impossible to complete them if students do not already
Lindsay Kaye Ohlert
CI 5631 Literacy Lesson Plan
Fall 2009
automatically carry out routines, like starting their “do-now” immediately upon entering the room (Blaz, 2006, p.

28). The difficulty of the David poem requires students to engage actively and believe in their own abilities. The

challenge of responding aloud in front of the whole class and tossing out ideas, questions and attempts which

could be incorrect requires that students feel comfortable both with one another and with the instructor and

comfortable with correction (Ibid, p.30). Thus, these are not lessons for early in the school year, and they would

need to be modified somewhat if one wanted to do them with a more challenging group of students.

Works Cited

Blaz, D. (2006). Differentiated Instruction: A Guide for Foreign Language Teachers. Larchmont, NY: Eye on

Cappellini, M. (2005). Balancing Reading and Language Learning. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Peregoy, S., & Boyle, O. (2008). Reading, Writing and Learing in ESL. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.