90 Minutes of Reading support during a classroom-wide Language Arts Period

90 Minutes of ELL support during a classroom-wide Language Arts Period


BLE 532/Linguistics

September 20, 2010

Instructor: Dr. Sandra Calderon

Individual Lesson Plan

Date: 8-21-10

Grade/Class/Subject: 6th grade Language Arts

Unit/Theme: “Playing with words”

CA State Standards:

1.2 Identify and interpret figurative language and words with multiple meanings.

Student Outcomes.  Students will:

correctly identify metaphors in a grade-level passage and create creative uses of metaphors

Will use unknown words in context based upon the definition.

Will use words that have multiple meanings correctly in context.

Language Objective(s):

Mary: Preproduction goals. Mary will demonstrate comprehension by pointing to picture answers, drawing and gesturing.

Mike: Intermediate Fluency.  Mike will explain ever-increasing BICS vocabulary via written narratives and storytelling.

Key Vocabulary

Tree, step, table, dig incline, massive, machine, fabricate, assemble

Supplementary Materials

Illustration-heavy grade-appropriate supplemental ESL readers


I’m Nobody Who Are You?

It Seems I Test People

Growing Pains



FORMCHECKBOX Adaptation of content

FORMCHECKBOX  Links to background



FORMCHECKBOX  Guided practice

FORMCHECKBOX Independent practice

FORMCHECKBOX Comprehensible Input

Group Options





Integration of Processes






FORMCHECKBOX  Linked to objectives

FORMCHECKBOX  Promotes engagement



Higher Order Questions:  Predictive level question: How can you figure out the meaning of a word? Interpretive level question:  What are words for?  What can you do with them? Are there things that words can’t do?

Knowledge: ??

Comprehension: ??

Application: ??

Analysis: ??

Synthesis: ??

Evaluation: Was the student able to create a sentence using as many words as possible and have the sentence use correct semantics, even if some of the syntactic elements were not entirely correct.

Lesson Sequence

Building Background: a three-way Venn diagram will be placed on the whiteboard.  Teacher will solicit a word.  Word is placed in the middle.  One of the circles is one of the possible meanings (solicited of the students).  On another is another meaning.  On the third, it’s use in a metaphor is written (only take words that can facilitate all three circles)

Links to Experience: “How many of you use words that might mean different things?  Give me some examples.”  3-5 students give examples with the different meaning of words.

Links to Learning: ??

Part 1.

A heart of stone

He has the heart of a lion

She’s the apple of my eye

It is raining cats and dogs

The homework was a breeze

They showered the birthday girl with gifts.

The inside of the car was a refrigerator

His idea was difficult to swallow

My memory of the event is foggy

Her dog, Jake, was the sunshine of her life.

Ask students why they would use metaphors (more fun, creative, expressive, can tell a lot in a few words, more powerful).

Working in groups, each group will put five metaphors into plain English using an example that they all agree upon.  Mike will work with one of the groups.  If he is having difficulty with ‘translating’ the metaphors, he will help to construct the sentence in ‘plain English’.  When their sentences are complete, they will each pick one metaphor to draw literally and lable with the metaphor.  This will be an independent activity to reinforce the memorization of the metaphor.

Mary will work in a group with the teacher as part of the group.  Mary will be prompted by the teacher to show active listening to the group members.  The group will be assigned the idiom “It’s raining cats and dogs”.  Group members will act out what this looks like (act out what a heavy downpour would look like).  After the activity, Mary will be asked which metaphor went with which drawing (that her teammates had drawn).

Part 2

In student teams, groups will discuss the meaning of the following words:

tree, step, table, dig, incline, massive, machine, fabricate, assemble.

If they all can agree upon the meaning of a word (which should be ok for the first 4 words) then they skip looking that one up.  If they all don’t agree (and Mike needs to be a part of this), then they must look it up.  They can each pick a word to look up.  Then each student will compose two sentences using the words that they didn’t all agree upon.  The teacher will be in Mary’s group.  Mary will be asked to look in a bilingual dictionary the meaning in her language of tree, step, table and dig and is to draw a picture representing each concept with the picture labeled in English.  The teacher will encourage Marty to repeat the word after the teacher, but not be insistent.

Part 3

(tree, step, table, dig, incline, massive,

machine, fabricate, assemble)

The same group will take each word and find a different meaning.  They can discuss the meanings or look them up.  The students will take turns using the words in sentence aloud in front of the teammates. The group will vote for the two that they want to say aloud to the class.  Mike is to listen to the different groups present the words and hear the different uses.  Mary’s activity will continue into this activity.

Students will then work independently to create a sentence that contains as many of the above vocab words as possible.  If Mike’s sentence seems appropriate enough, he will be encouraged to read it aloud to the class.


     Making sure that ELLs feel included in the curriculum and the culture of the classroom is critical. A friend of mine entered Kindergarten as a monolingual Spanish speaker.  She told me that she remembered like it was yesterday how painful her first year of school was getting no support in either Spanish or with any ELL methodology to support her transition to English-instruction.  She said she learned quickly, but it deeply traumatized her during a time that school should be as fun as possible. The planning that I did made sure that Mary and Mike were a part of the group and supported, even if, in Mary’s case, that the activity was significantly modified.

     I would expect to hear Mary’s speech, when she produced it, to be significantly marked by Spanish vowel sounds.  As stated in an earlier assignment, a sound-letter-word association should be taught using exaggerated gestures.  For Mike, I would expect to see significant difficulty decoding CALP words. Many of these words may be taught using the whole-word method if they will appear often in text. Learning them by memorization may give him the confidence to read CALP text and may prompt him to ask what the pronunciation and meaning of these words are.

     Differentiation for ELL is not inherently different than that of Special Needs students.  Both groups have a legal right to reasonable and appropriate access to the curriculum.  Both groups may be socially challenged due to their unique linguistic or differently-abled situation.  Many special needs children also have a deficit of language.  The days of leaving Special Needs students to their own devices is long gone.  We are just now seeing differentiation for ELLs take on the same level of importance.

     ELLs need to understand that English has words that represent many different concepts.  An example of this is the word “get.”  When used with prepositions, it may appear to have endless meanings.  This word does not really exist with the same semantic quality in Spanish.  It may necessary to apply a comparative analysis of the different meanings of words similar to this word in Spanish (if the teacher knows Spanish) in order for the meaning of these words to be “gotten”.

     Given how much jokes and riddles are a part of the play of children, pragmatic education for ELLs is a critical component of ESL instruction.  Without the pragmatic language skills, ELLs will miss a significant amount of social cues, important given how much learning happens via other peers.  Pictures that show 4 possible actions based upon an idiomatic expression is a good teaching method to help ELLs put meaning to words that cannot be inferred from the words themselves.


Fromkin, V., Rodman, R, Hyams, N. (2011).  An Iintroduction to Langauge (9th Edition). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, Boston

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