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Jacqui Batts Lesson Plan #2 Week 1, Day 2 Using Context Clues for A Thousand Splendid Suns

Time: This class meets Monday through Friday for 50 minutes. Setting: The setting of this class can be located under the Student Population link. Theory into Practice Background For this lesson, I was extremely motivated to present my students with an assignment that could help them become better readers. If reading is more than a natural ability, I determined that I should be able to teach my students a skill so that they could become better readers. Although, people struggle for different reasons and need different strategies to improve (Burke p. 97), I still believe context clues are a skill that every reader needs to master at some time. Apart of what inspired me to choose teaching context clues for this lesson is the wonderful writing that is present in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The author, Hosseini, includes many cultural words, terms and concepts that I had never read before, but had no problem deciphering because of the context he offers. I began to think that students probably would have no trouble getting the meanings of these words, but would they know what reading strategy they are employing? And would they know to use context clues on their own in other difficult text as well? I was criticized by my peers for creating an easy lesson, however contextualized instruction that supports all learners is not remedial instruction (Faltis p.43). It was just so important as just a general philosophy to promote the idea, in my class that good readers are not just intrinsically that way, but that we all employ a variety of reading strategies to improve are effectiveness as readers, and it is a skill that can be taught; I decided to teach it.

Also, in order to complete this, it was necessary for me to create a discussion about context clues that would transcend it from the worksheet into a real concept students can discuss and utilize. Now, Burke prefers to put his students facing each other, similar to a U shape to facilitate discussion. And instead of allowing students to hide, this seating arrangement makes everyone "feel included in the discussion. Instead of just relying on students thrown into a room together in order to facilitate discussion, I decided to incorporate many discussion starters in my class, such as the difficult quiz, that students will have to struggle through, or the assignment which will render different answers from each student and will result in them discussing why they all came up with different definitions.

Objectives: Students will be able to utilize context clues in order to understand unfamiliar vocabulary. Students will create their own definitions of unfamiliar vocabulary using context clues. Students will be able to apply newly acquired vocabulary in the creation of their own sentences. Students will present and understand new information about culturally specific terms found in A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Materials: Smart board 24 quizzes 24 Vocabulary in context work sheets 26 copies of A Thousand Splendid Suns (one in Spanish and one in Arabic) Preparation:

For this lesson, I had to first go through the novel (A Thousand Splendid Suns) and identify 10 words in the first five chapters that I felt the students might have difficulty with, due to their culturally specific nature. Next I created a work sheet comprised of practice sentences that students will work on as a class and individually. I also had to create the smart board presentation (me typing information to be shown on the smart board), which revealed already completed notes, and the first 5 practice sentences so that kids could have an extra visual as we do them together.

Procedure: Vocabulary Pre-test (true/false) (5 minutes) To start the conversation about ascertaining the meaning of words from context, I first issue a short true /false quiz which tests students on culturally specific terms in isolation. Discussion about Vocabulary (10 minutes) After students struggle with the quiz, and before actually grading the quiz, we will discuss why the test was so difficult (given the words were in isolation). As a class we will then take notes on the strategies that can be used to grasp the meaning of unfamiliar words. [Looking it up in the dictionary, skipping the word, and finally guessing at the word] I will tell them after we practice some strategies, then we will go back and fix our quizzes. Our notes are then comprised of the pros and cons of using each strategy. Group work (15 minutes) In groups of two, students will be given the same ten words from the quiz, but this time they will be presented in sentences with context. They will also be given the book, which they havent been assigned yet, in case they want to get more context, (possibly read the sentence before and

after the sentence their word occurs in) As a group the students will determine what the definitions of these words are, and individually students will create their own sentences utilizing the words.

Context Clue discussion (10 minutes) Students then share their definitions (which will be slightly different because each group interpreted the context clues themselves). We then have a discussion about how sometimes guessing from context clues can be a little off, but they still help with understanding the text. We will also spend this time going over the quiz that students took, and they we will complete it as a class and they will see that they have learned 10 new words and terms without once looking in a dictionary. Presentations (10 minutes) Students will take this time to present the words that they researched and illustrated from yesterdays lesson in order to continue the discussion of culturally specific words pertaining to Afghanistan.

Discussion Questions: Will guessing (using context clues) always result in the exact definition of the word? Will that affect our understanding of the text? How important is context to culturally specific vocabulary? Are there any word equivalents or connections that you can make between these words and words frequently used in English?

Bilingual/ESL Accommodations. One thing that I think is really beneficial to our students learning English as a second language is to have my pre- prepared notes already on the smart board. While some kids will be able to follow the conversation and simply just jot down some notes, it will be helpful to have the official notes typed onto the smart board so they are clear (not illegible with my handwriting) and students are not in a rush to copy and write it down, because I will not have to constantly erase words as I make space for new notes. With ESL learners in my class I will also incorporate more visuals into these notes, and for the future I could probably use more visuals on their actual worksheet. I would use pictures to convey some of the lesson in my smart board presentation, not only because that would get rid of the language barrier, but also in texts looking at the graphics and visuals is also a form of utilizing context clues. These visuals can also be very revealing about information in the text, just as words or sentences that function as context clues. These students will also be provided with two copies of the book, 1 in English and 1 in their first language, although I would still require them to write their answers in English. On their worksheets with the sentences in context, I put the page number in which the sentence is found on so that they can know where to find the sentence in both books easily. I would also take advantage of the classroom structure to help accommodate my ESL learners. In one instance, the groups that I place students in would be strategically placed in order to help these students. Because they will work with a partner who is fluent in English, it would help that my students could be given a chance to actually produce meaningful work, and not looked over in a large group. Also with me walking around during their individual work time, I could not only help those students and any other students needing help, as to not isolate my ESL learners, but I could

also make sure that the students that these Learners are paired up with are also completing meaningful work and not burdened with fully carrying one of my students learning English as a second language.

Special Education Accommodations For my one student with high functioning autism, I make it a major point to utilized the independent practice time, so that if he needs help he can use me as a resource, but he will probably use this time to work quietly, since that is what he prefers. Since I know that this student has trouble with social cues, I did not want to throw him in a large unstructured group, and instead place everyone in small groups of two. I will ideally pair this student with one of his more mature, understanding classmates. But this partnership as well as our entire class discussions will come with highly structuralized instructions. For example, every one has to raise their hand before speaking. We need to be respectful of everyones answers and ideas, even if they are wrong. Also, it will be important for me to stress the possibility of students getting different answers when guessing the meaning of words from context, which is why it is incorporated into one of our discussions (which will be structured and organized). In addition to the structure of the lesson, I will make sure to write the activities that we will be doing for the day on the whiteboard, since I know this student likes a lot of organized structure and we will be changing activities quite a few times. So even if I have to write him a schedule for our classroom transitions so he wont be caught off guard, I could have that for him in his desk when he enters

the room. I could highlight the transitions or any daily changes, so that he could anticipate them without becoming upset.

Assessment To assess my students ability to utilize context clues, create their own definitions of unfamiliar vocabulary, and apply newly acquired vocabulary in the creation of their own sentence; I will primarily draw from their work sheet, which has the 10 words they had to not only grasp a general (not an exact) meaning of, in addition to using the words in their own sentence. I would also assess the students based on the understating that I could ascertain from the classroom discussion about when to use context clues as a reading strategy and how effective a strategy it is, even when you dont come to the exact definition. I would use the true/false quiz presented in the beginning of the class, to assess students at the end of class. The students ability to go over and correctly answer the quiz not only shows their mastery of using context clues (because no one has used a dictionary, but it would also show their understanding of the culturally specific terms found in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The presentation of the terms they were assigned from yesterday will compound on the discussion students have on the terms they have learned today, and will result in a fuller more complete understanding of some of the culture found in the book. Extension Ideas Thursday, or day three of the unit, students will be introduced to the literary log assignment. Each night as they read, one of the tasks they are assigned as apart of the literary log is to find the vocabulary for the week as they come across it in the novel and write down the sentence it is found in. From using the word in its context student are then expected to write

down a definition for the word, and use the word in a sentence without using a dictionary. I got a lot of my inspiration from my literary logs assignment form this actual lesson. I created the logs, so that the students would have practice and performing actual good reading strategies, while they read. Not only has this lesson plan, influenced that, but also I think this lesson plan, could lead to future lessons, in which I teach crucial reading strategies that can help my students with their logs and their reading abilities. Source of Activity In our Sped 405 class, we adamantly discussed that although teaching vocabulary words in isolation is very common, it is not effective or beneficial for students. We were given a lot of strategies that showed us how to teach vocabulary in context, but I also wanted to figure out a way to convince students to actually use context to improve their reading strategies. So instead of using my quiz as traditional tool of assessment, I decided to use it as rhetorical learning device. I got that idea from when we filled out the genocide questionnaires in class. I did not know everything on the quiz, but as we went over the quiz, it proved to be a great learning tool, that let us visually see what we learned compared to what we didnt know when initially taking the quiz. Resources and References Burke, Jim. The English Teacher's Companion: a Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2008. Print. Faltis, Christian, and Cathy Coulter. Teaching English Learners and Immigrant Students in Secondary School. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007. Print. Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. New York: Riverhead, 2008. Print. Illinois Standards 1.A.1b Comprehend unfamiliar words using context clues and prior knowledge; verify meanings with resource materials This relates directly to the objectives and the activities that students will do. They will be

given ten unfamiliar clues and with the context they will be given the opportunity to incorporate their prior knowledge of the context to decipher the words meanings. They will also be given a chance to use the sentences before and after the one their word appears, so they will be using the book, with context, not a dictionary as a resource. 1.A.3b Analyze the meaning of words and phrases in their context. Students will begin to tackle this higher-level task; by discussing the nature of context clues and how sometimes words can change given different context. (It will be evident because students will have various definitions and various uses of the words in their own sentences.) Specifically, they will understand that importance of the cultural context, surrounding these unfamiliar words.


True False Cultural Vocabulary Pre- Quiz From: A Thousand Splendid Suns

1. Daal can be used as clothing as well as a shield from the sun 2. Hashhish would be considered illegal in some countries 3. Some people can live in a Kolba 4. Mullah is another form of money in Heart 5. Jinn is a type of breakfast Jam 6. Jihad can be referred to as a Holy War 7. An Infidel is not a religious person 8. Allah is the Arabic word for God 9. Buddahs of Bamiyan were two statues 10. Hamshira is a curse word meaning bastard