12th Grade Language Arts 


Reading Process

Reading Applications Reading Applications 2 Writing Applications Writing Conventions Research Communications


Phonemic Awareness, Word Recognition and Fluency

Acquisition of Vocabulary

(Based on State of Ohio
Curriculum Standards)

1. Recognize and identify how authors clarify meanings of words through context and use definition, restatement, example, comparison, contrast and cause and effect to advance word study.
  1. Context Clues from TV411
    This interactive web site uses a slide show, quizzes, and graphic organizers to help students use context to figure out new words, practice using context clues, and define words in sentences.
  2. Prize-Winning Prose: Developing "Kid's Pulitzers" in the Language Arts Classroom  -In this promising practice students develop criteria for Kid's Pulitzers -- awards in categories of writing determined by the students. Each student will then bestow a Kid's Pulitzer upon a piece of writing which they deem to be distinguished based on the established criteria.
  3. Swinging with the Times: Giving A Modern Slant to Favorite Children's Stories  -In this lesson, students examine the many changes in the Tarzan character from Edgar Rice Burroughs' first novel to Disney's newest movie version to understand how children's movies are often used to mirror and promote cultural attitudes and beliefs. Students then adapt a favorite children's story to a modern setting, updating the characters and plot to better reflect the times.
  4. Painting Portraits with Words: A Language Arts Lesson Based on an Exhibition on William Butler Yeats  -This resource uses a feature article from the New York Times to examine how an exhibition of William Butler Yeats' writings represents a portrait or biography of the author's life. Designated a promising practice, this lesson allows students to analyze various poems by Yeats using varied written forms.
2. Analyze the relationships of pairs of words in analogical statements (e.g., synonyms and antonyms, connotation and denotation) and evaluate the effectiveness of analogous relationships.  
3. Examine and explain the influence of the English language on world literature, communications and popular cultures.
  1. Poetry: Blues Style -This lesson focuses on how the blues both operate as poetry and inform the poetry of many prominent African American poets. Students consider the poetic devices and recurring themes in blues lyrics and the significance of the poetry of the blues as part of the African American tradition.
4. Use knowledge of Greek, Latin and Anglo-Saxon roots, prefixes and suffixes to understand complex words and new subject-area vocabulary (e.g., unknown words in science, mathematics and social studies).
  1. Word Roots from EdHelper
    This web site has over 20 printable worksheets and puzzles that cover word roots, prefixes, and suffixes, including Greek and Latin examples.
  2. The following ON LINE quizzes are a result of the following two people:  Created by: Miss Stephanie Weston   Inspiration by Miss Harman English Teacher Willoughby-Eastlake Schools 
    1. Prefixes
    2. Suffixes
    3. Latin root words A-G

    4. Latin Root words H-O

    5. Latin Root words P-Z

    6. Number Prefixes


5. Determine the meanings and pronunciations of unknown words by using dictionaries, thesauruses, glossaries, technology and textual features, such as definitional footnotes or sidebars.
  1. Multimedia Poetry Beast -This resource is an instructional unit in which students record poetry readings to express and demonstrate their understanding of the poet's purpose. This instructional unit, maintained by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, provides opportunities for students to publish and share a portfolio of their poetic writings.

Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies

1. Apply reading comprehension strategies, including making predictions, comparing and contrasting, recalling and summarizing and making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  1. Summarizing from TV411 -This interactive web site uses a slide show, quizzes, and graphic organizers to review the basics of summarizing, identify main idea statements and detail statements, and use categories to summarize lists.
  2. The Pros and Cons of Discussion -Students work in groups to answer the question, "Are people equal?," analyzing all sides of the response, forming a consensus, and presenting it to the class.
  3. The Poetics of Hip Hop -This lesson combines an analysis of hip hop music and lyrics to provide students with a greater understanding of rhythm, form, diction, and sound in poetry.
  4. Name That Chapter! Discussing Summary and Interpretation Using Chapter Titles -In this lesson, students name chapters in novels that they are reading, creating a cumulative list for the novel as they work through the text.
  5. The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Realism-In this lesson, students learn about the elements of Stephen Crane's style that contribute to the realistic nature of The Red Badge of Courage. Students also compare excerpts from The Red Badge of Courage to primary source texts and images from the Civil War.
2. Answer literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing questions to demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate print texts and electronic and visual media
  1. Literacy Learning Resources from CBS and CNN -This site has dozens of actual stories from CBS and CNN, including the full text, the abridged text, an outline, a video of the story, and the audio read aloud. After the student reads the story they can take online interactive quizzes over the material covering vocabulary, word selection, sequencing, conclusions, and more.
  2. Finding Poetry in Prose: Reading and Writing Love Poems -When students think of love poetry, they almost invariably think of poetry about romantic love. This lesson expands the concept of love poems to move beyond romantic love to explore other kinds of love, particularly the love within a family.
  3. Examining Transcendentalism through Popular Culture -Using excerpts from the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, comics, and songs from different musical genres, students examine the characteristics of transcendentalism.
  4. Versed on the Disadvantaged: Using Poetry to Explore the Issues of Poverty -In this lesson, students begin by sharing their opinions and ideas about what it means to help someone in need. They then read and analyze a poem which illustrates the struggle of poor people.
  5. Teaching Anna Karenina -This resource provides an online teacher's guide for use with Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy's novel, Anna Karenina, and the film adaptation, of the same name, created by Masterpiece Theater. Teaching Anna Karenina presents an integrated study that uses visual media to extend students' understanding of the novel.
3. Monitor own comprehension by adjusting speed to fit the purpose, or by skimming, scanning, reading on, looking back, note taking or summarizing what has been read so far in text.
  1. Exploring Cross-Age Tutoring Activities with Lewis and Clark -In this lesson, cross-age tutoring gives high school students the opportunity to guide elementary students (in grades 3-5) to a deeper understanding of the adventures of Lewis and Clark.
  2. The Bell Jar -This resource is a novel study of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. This instructional unit, maintained by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, provides opportunities for students to analyze, interpret, and respond to language, meaning, and ideas in the novel. Content support, assessment guidelines, and links to other internet resources are also available at the website.

4. Use criteria to choose independent reading materials (e.g., personal interest, knowledge of authors and genres or recommendations from others).
  1. Authentic Persuasive Writing to Promote Summer Reading-Devote time during your last weeks of school to promote summer reading by inviting students to create brochures and flyers that suggest books and genres for others to explore during the summer months.
5. Independently read books for various purposes (e.g., for enjoyment, for literary experience, to gain information or to perform a task).
  1. Utopian Visions -In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea of an idealized society. Students read Sir Thomas More's Utopia and examine the concepts behind his vision of an ideal society.

Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text

1. Analyze the rhetorical devices used in public documents, including state or school policy statements, newspaper editorials and speeches.
  1. Censorship in the Classroom: Understanding Controversial Issues-This lesson helps students to understand the ways in which bias and stereotyping are used by the media to influence popular opinion. Students examine propaganda and media bias and explore a variety of banned and challenged books, researching the reasons these books have been censored.
2. Analyze and critique organizational patterns and techniques including repetition of ideas, appeals to authority, reason and emotion, syntax and word choice that authors use to accomplish their purpose and reach their intended audience.
  1. Movie transcripts   You will find the transcripts from many if not all movies made on this website.  You will notice how they identify and explain various types of characters.  4 Star
3. Analyze and compile information from several sources on a single issue or written by a single author, clarifying ideas and connecting them to other sources and related topics.
  1. Quest for the American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun -People of all backgrounds live in America and come to America dreaming of social, educational, economical opportunities as well as political and religious freedoms.
  2. A Midwife's Tale -A Midwife's Tale is an innovative dramatic film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Martha Ballard, a midwife and mother living in the wilds of Maine during the chaotic decades following the American Revolution. The variety of resources used to tell the story of Martha Ballard adds to the richness of this resource.
4. Distinguish between valid and invalid inferences and provide evidence to support the findings, noting instances of unsupported inferences, fallacious reasoning, propaganda techniques, bias and stereotyping.
  1. Argument, Persuasion, or Propaganda? Analyzing World War II Posters-students analyze World War II posters, chosen from online collections, to explore how argument, persuasion, and propaganda differ.
5. Examine an authorís implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs about a subject.
  1. Decoding the Dystopian Characteristics of Macintosh?s ?1984? Commercial -students explore the dystopian characteristics and symbols presented in the ď1984Ē Macintosh commercial and analyze the comments that it makes about contemporary society.
  2. Identifying and Understanding the Fallacies Used in Advertising -This lesson alerts students to the fallacies that surround them every day. The fallacies used in advertising are often overlooked without the tools needed to examine them critically.
6. Evaluate the effectiveness and validity of arguments in public documents and their appeal to various audiences.  
7. Analyze the structure and features of functional and workplace documents, including format, sequence and headers, and how authors use these features to achieve their purposes and to make information accessible and usable.
  1. Community of Interests: Evaluating Various Aspects of Community Through Local and National News- students learn about the different sections of a newspaper and how each relates to different aspect of a community. Working in small groups, students examine the difference between local and national newspaper coverage through visual and written evaluations.
8. Critique functional and workplace documents (e.g., instructions, technical manuals, travel schedules, business memoranda) for sequencing of information and procedures, anticipation of possible reader misunderstandings and visual appeal.
  1. The Crucible -This resource is a study of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. This instructional unit, maintained by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, provides opportunities for students to analyze, interpret, and respond to language, meaning, and ideas in the play.

Reading Applications: Literary Text

1. Compare and contrast motivations and reactions of literary characters confronting similar conflicts (e.g., individual vs. nature, freedom vs. responsibility, individual vs. society), using specific examples of charactersí thoughts, words and actions.
  1. Star-Crossed Lovers Online: Romeo and Juliet for a Digital Age -This lesson invites students to use their understanding of modern experiences with these technologies to make active meaning of an older text, in this case Shakespeareís Romeo and Juliet.  Students create their own modern interpretation of specific events from the drama and use current technologies.
  2. Reader Response in Hypertext: Making Personal Connections to Literature -In this lesson, students choose four quotations to inspire their personal responses to a novel that they have read. Students write a narrative of place, complete a character sketch, create an extended metaphor poem and write a persuasive essay.
  3. Become a Character: Adjectives, Character Traits, and Perspective -In this activity, students "become" one of the major characters in a literary work and describe themselves and other characters, using lists of accurate, powerful adjectives.
  4. Monsters!-students use literature and art to investigate the idea of "monsters." They begin by defining the idea of monster and reading and comparing two works, Beowulf and Grendel by John Gardner.
  5. Movie transcripts   You will find the transcripts from many if not all movies made on this website.  You will notice how they identify and explain various types of characters.  4 Star
2. Analyze the historical, social and cultural context of setting.
  1. Identity, Oppression, and Protest: To Kill a Mocking Bird and the Blues-African American history during the Jim Crow era includes encounters with poverty, racism, disrespect, and protest. Harper Lee develops all four of these themes in her famous 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. To help students understand these ideas, this lesson incorporates the blues and other literature of the time.
  2. Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Form of a Funeral -students read and examine the novel, As I Lay Dying. Students explore the social and historical context in which the novel was written and draw parallels between the author's experiences and the way life is depicted in the text.
  3. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Oral and Literary Strategies  -This resource introduces students to Chinua Achebe's first novel and to strategies of close reading and textual analysis. It can be used alone or in conjunction with the related lesson Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Teaching Through the Novel .
  4. Mark Twain and American Humor  -This resource, maintained by the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides a three-part lesson in which students examine the structure and characterization of selected short stories and consider the significance of humor through a study of Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
3. Explain how voice and narrator affect the characterization, plot and credibility.
  1. Id, Ego, and Superego in Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat -In this lesson, The Cat in the Hat is used as a primer to teach students how to analyze a literary work using the literary tools of plot, theme, characterization, and psychoanalytical criticism.
  2. The "Secret Society" and FitzGerald's The Great Gatsby -In this lesson, students will: (1) engage in practical textual analysis and critical thinking; (2) reflect on the class struggles of early twentieth century; (3) combine critical thinking, textual analysis, and imaginative writing skills; (4) write a "credo" for the "secret society" implied in The Great Gatsby.
4. Evaluate an authorís use of point of view in a literary text.
  1. Mark Twain, the Lincoln of Our Literature -This unit focuses on the unique genius of autobiographer, satirist, humorist, and novelist Mark Twain. Students explore the American "voices" through which Twain translates, assails, contours, and celebrates aspects of American life and the American character.
  2. Critical Reading: Two Stories, Two Authors, Same Plot?-Many students often lack critical thinking skills to be able to analyze what they read. This lesson encourages students to read and respond critically to two different pieces of literature with the same title.
5. Analyze variations of universal themes in literary texts.
  1. Outside In: Finding A Character?s Heart Through Art -Alienation is an important theme in contemporary literature, and itís an idea that adolescents need to confront in order to fully understand what it means to be a human being in our modern world.
  2. Letters from Emily Dickinson: 'Will you be my preceptor?' -In this curriculum unit, students explore Emily Dickinson's poetry as well as her personal correspondence to her editor and sister-in-law. Working individually and in groups, students reflect on Dickinson's views and the process by which she writes.
  3. Discovering a Passion for Poetry with Langston Hughes -After analyzing examples of contemporary youth poetry as well as the poetry of Langston Hughes, students use the Internet to conduct research on how events in the world shaped Hughes' work.
  4. Tennessee Williams: Exploring The American Dream -In this lesson on Tennessee Williams, students examine the "American Dream" through lyric form, mythology and drama. Students read one or more of Williams plays, and in small groups develop and perform interpretations of selected scenes.
  5. Teaching Cora Unashamed -This resource provides an online teacher's guide for use with Langston Hughes's short story, "Cora Unashamed," and the film adaptation of the same name, created by Masterpiece Theater. Cora Unashamed is an integrated language arts unit of study that uses visual media to extend students' understanding of the short story.
6. Recognize and differentiate characteristics of subgenres, including satire, parody and allegory, and explain how choice of genre affects the expression of theme or topic.
  1. Reading Literature in Translation: Beowulf as a Case Study -By comparing a number of translations of Beowulf with each other and with the basic poetic elements of Old English alliterative verse, this lesson asks students to reflect upon the nature of translation not as an act of accurate representation of a literary work but as an act of interpretive re-creation. Students analyze various texts and examine how a translatorís decisions shape our understanding of a literary text.
  2. Mark Twain -Discover the true Mark Twain through his writing and the collection of artifacts found at this web site. Five classroom activities teach students the importance of observation in writing, how historical issues and events impact an author's writing, and how humor and satire influence storytelling.
7. Compare and contrast varying characteristics of American, British, world and multi-cultural literature.
  1. Magic Words, Magic Brush: The Art of William Butler and Jack Yeats -This curriculum unit integrates a literary study with various artistic disciplines, geography, history, media, and technology. The unit contains six lessons, which may be taught individually or in the context of the instructional unit.
  2. Oliver Twist -This resource provides an online teacher's guide for use with Oliver Twist and the film adaptation, of the same name, created by Masterpiece Theater. The teacher's guide for Oliver Twist presents an integrated study that uses visual media to extend students' understanding of the novel.
  3. Perceiving a Culture Through Its Literature: Korea as an Example -The discussion and comprehension of literary text is enhanced by an understanding of the environmental context in which the story takes place. This lesson uses a Korean story, After Seventeen Years by Kim Yong Ik, to demonstrate how to develop an environmental context and find cultural clues in literature.
  4. Allen Ginsberg: Poetry and Politics -This lesson focuses on the works of Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg. Students participate in literary discussions, complete journal responses, and conduct web-based research.
8. Evaluate ways authors develop point of view and style to achieve specific rhetorical and aesthetic purposes (e.g., through use of figurative language irony, tone, diction, imagery, symbolism and sounds of language), citing specific examples from text to support analysis.
  1. Language Arts: Shakespeare's Sonnets -One of the difficulties teachers face when they teach Shakespeare is language accessibility. Twenty-first century students often have difficulty understanding the words, and so they miss the meaning of his plays and sonnets.
  2. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Yellow Wallpaper": Writing Women in Turn-of-the-Century (1890s-1910s) America-This lesson uses "The Yellow Wallpaper" to explore such literary concepts as setting, narrative style, symbolism, and characterization. Students complete a close reading of the text in order to gain an understanding of the rapidly changing roles of American women during the nineteenth and early twentieth century and how the story reflects the social, historical, and economic realities of that time. Following the literary analysis, students participate in group discussions and write a well-supported essay describing how the narrator of "The Yellow Wall-paper" represents Charlotte Perkins Gilman's feminism.
  3. Unlocking the Underlying Symbolism and Themes of a Dramatic Work -This lesson invites students to explore the things relevant to a character from Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun, to unlock the drama's underlying symbolism and themes.
  4. Style: Translating Stylistic Choices from Hawthorne to Hemingway and Back Again -Exploring the use of style in literature helps students understand how language conveys mood, images, and meaning. In this activity, students translate passages that demonstrate specific stylistic devices, then translate fables into the style of one of the authors they have been reading.

Writing Processes

1. Generate writing ideas through discussions with others and from printed material, and keep a list of writing ideas.
  1. All in a Day's Work: Modernizing Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener -This lesson plan uses a passage from Herman Melville's 1856 tale, "Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street," to encourage literary response and creative writing. Students respond in writing to the short story by creating their own modern versions of the tale. This lesson allows students to apply narrative writing strategies in a creative context. Extension activities, interdisciplinary connections, and links to supporting internet sites are also provided.
2. Determine the usefulness of and apply appropriate pre-writing tasks (e.g., background reading, interviews or surveys).
  1. Making Connections to Myth and Folktale: The Many Ways to Rainy Mountain -In The Way to Rainy Mountain, N. Scott Momaday links the survival of his people to their ability to remember, preserve, and pass on stories. Taking the idea one step further, Momaday models necessary personal involvement in the stories.
3. Establish and develop a clear thesis statement for informational writing or a clear plan or outline for narrative writing.
  1. Techniques for Writing: Writing Thesis Statements for Essays -This web site has extensive information on writing a thesis as well as interactive exercises the students can take online to check their understanding.
4. Determine a purpose and audience and plan strategies (e.g., adapting formality of style, including explanations or definitions as appropriate to audience needs) to address purpose and audience.
  1. Purpose and Audience -This online study guide from Encyclopedia Britannica is on purpose and audience. It covers an explanation for determining why we write and to whom, in a variety of settings and styles.
  2. Communicating    You have the opportunity to create a Poster, Newspaper and or a Cartoon.  This website is very good and will allow students to learn how to transform their ideas to a hard copy that they may printout.   This is great for an LCD projector or a computer lab.  4 Star 
  3. Communicating through Garfield  Your students may create a cartoon and depending on your experience with technology they may create a complete story.  You will only be limited by your technology background and your imagination.  4 Star 
5. Use organizational strategies (e.g., notes and outlines) to plan writing.  
6. Organize writing to create a coherent whole with an effective and engaging introduction, body and conclusion and a closing sentence that summarizes, extends or elaborates on points or ideas in the writing.  
7. Use a variety of sentence structures and lengths (e.g., simple, compound and complex sentences; parallel or repetitive sentence structure).
  1. Guide to Grammar   You will find that this is an outstanding site to assist you and your students in learning proper grammar  4 Star
8. Use paragraph form in writing, including topic sentences that arrange paragraphs in a logical sequence, using effective transitions and closing sentences and maintaining coherence across the whole through the use of parallel structures.
  1. Techniques for Writing: Writing Topic Sentences for Paragraphs -This web site has extensive information on writing a topic sentence as well as interactive exercises the students can take online to check their understanding.
  2. Paragraph Organization -This online study guide from Encyclopedia Britannica is on paragraph organization. It includes a discussion of the creation of logical and cohesive paragraphs, including topic sentences, paragraph unity, coherence, and transitions.
9. Use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, colorful modifiers and style as appropriate to audience and purpose, and use techniques to convey a personal style and voice.
  1. Techniques for Writing: Using Specific Language -This web site has extensive information on precise language as well as interactive exercises the students can take online to check their understanding.
  2. Choosing the Best Verb: An Active and Passive Voice Mini-lesson -For most students, speech and informal writing flow naturally. Yet students often struggle with formal or academic writing. This mini-lesson explores verb choice in a variety of online resources, then encourages students to draw conclusions about verb use which they can apply to their own writing.
10. Use available technology to compose text.  
11. Reread and analyze clarity of writing, consistency of point of view and effectiveness of organizational structure.
  1. The Shortest Distance Between Two Points -This lesson integrates technical writing, specifically producing memos, with revising and editing strategies. Students assume the role of mechanical drafters and develop a revised set of instructions for a drafting communique. Students then pass their instructions on to another group of students who attempt to draw the object that has described in the writing. Groups meet to discuss the effectiveness of the written instructions, making suggestions for improving the quality and clarity.
12. Add and delete examples and details to better elaborate on a stated central idea, to develop more precise analysis or persuasive argument or to enhance plot, setting and character in narrative texts.
  1. Techniques for Writing: Giving Examples and Explanations -This web site has extensive information on elaborating on an idea as well as interactive exercises the students can take online to check their understanding.
13. Rearrange words, sentences and paragraphs and add transitional words and phrases to clarify meaning and achieve specific aesthetic and rhetorical purposes.
  1. Guide to Grammar   You will find that this is an outstanding site to assist you and your students in learning proper grammar  4 Star
14. Use resources and reference materials (e.g., dictionaries and thesauruses) to select effective and precise vocabulary that maintains consistent style, tone and voice.
  1. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary and Thesaurus -Excellent dictionary and thesaurus. Easy to use with lots of good information on each word. This site will even pronounce the word for you.
15. Proofread writing, edit to improve conventions (e.g., grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization), identify and correct fragments and run-ons and eliminate inappropriate slang or informal language.
  1. Activities for ESL/EFL Students -Don't be fooled by the name of this site. It is an excellent resource for all students of the English language. There are over 1,000 quizzes, exercises and puzzles on every topic of grammar, punctuation, writing, and more. Begin by looking through the Easy, Medium, and Difficult Grammar Quizzes.
16. Apply tools (e.g., rubric, checklist and feedback) to judge the quality of writing.
  1. Peer Editing Strategies -This site has several articles on peer editing such as "Do's and Don'ts" and a peer editing guide.
  2. Techniques for Writing: Giving and Receiving Peer Responses -This page has good guidelines for giving and receiving peer feedback on writing.
17. Prepare for publication (e.g., for display or for sharing with others) writing that follows a manuscript form appropriate for the purpose, which could include such techniques as electronic resources, principles of design (e.g., margins, tabs, spacing and columns) and graphics (e.g., drawings, charts and graphs) to enhance the final product.  

Writing Applications

1. Write reflective compositions that:
a. use personal experiences as a basis for reflection on some aspect of life;
b. draw abstract comparisons between specific incidents and abstract concepts;
c. maintain a balance between describing incidents and relating them to more general, abstract ideas that illustrate personal beliefs; and
d. move from specific examples to generalizations about life.
  1. A Significant Influence: Describing an Important Teacher in Your Life -All of us have encountered someone who has made a profound difference in our livesósomeone who changed our lives, made us think more deeply, set our feet on the right path. Perhaps it was a teacher we met in a classroom, but it could just have easily been a coach, a youth group leader, a family or community elder, or religious leader. In this lesson, students write a tribute to such a teacher, someone who has taught them an important lesson that they still remember.
  2. Black and Blue: Jazz in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man -Ralph Ellison, musician-turned-writer, wrote Invisible Man like a jazz composition. The novel has many solo parts, and the events seem improvised as the unnamed main character goes from the south to the north, with many ups and downs. His life is a sad song, illuminated in the end with his self-made light bulbs that seem to cry, "Why am I so black and blue?" In this lesson, students explore recurring themes of invisibility and jazz by reading excerpts of the novel, writing about major characters, summarizing events, connecting jazz themes with key concepts in the novel and creating new interpretations of the impact of jazz on Invisible Man. Students will use the discussions and reading and writing experiences to compose documented essays in a class book that describes the influence of jazz on Ralph Ellison as a writer. This series of lessons provides many opportunities to integrate reading and writing while addressing several key language arts content.
  3. Teaching The Song of the Lark -This resource provides an online teacher's guide for use with Willa Cather's novel The Song of the Lark and the film adaptation of the same name, created by Masterpiece Theater. Teaching The Song of the Lark presents an integrated study that uses visual media to extend students' understanding of the novel.
2. Write responses to literature that:
a. advance a judgment that is interpretative, analytical, evaluative or reflective;
b. support key ideas and viewpoints with accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works and authors;
c. analyze the authorís use of stylistic devices and express an appreciation of the effects the devices create;
d. identify and assess the impact of possible ambiguities, nuances and complexities within text;
e. anticipate and answer a readerís questions, counterclaims or divergent interpretations; and
f. provide a sense of closure to the writing.
  1. Shakespeare's Macbeth: Fear and the Motives of Evil-students read the play Macbeth and analyze the title character's shift from a man who, at the beginning of the play is described as noble and brave, to a violent and ruthless tyrant. Characters whose shifting minds we feel compelled to follow through every twist and turn are a mark of Shakespeare's art.
  2. Listening to Poetry: Sounds of the Sonnet -This lesson combines the teaching of formal terms used to describe sonnets with appreciating the sounds of poetry. Focusing on the sounds of poetry, this resource provides a series of sound exercises to illustrate the underlying form or structure in poetic language.
  3. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Teaching Through the Novel -This resource introduces students to Achebe's first novel and to his views on the role of the writer in his or her society. It can be used alone or in conjunction with the related lesson Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Oral and Literary Strategies .
  4. Guide to Grammar   You will find that this is an outstanding site to assist you and your students in learning proper grammar  4 Star
3. Write functional documents (e.g., requests for information, resumes, letters of complaint, memos, proposals) that:
a. report, organize and convey information accurately;
b. use formatting techniques that make a document user-friendly; and
c. anticipate readersí problems, mistakes and misunderstandings.
  1. Book Report Alternative: Characters for Hire! Studying Character in Drama -In the lesson, students read fictional works, use software resources, read and interpret classified ads, and write original resumes for a character they are exploring.
4. Write informational essays or reports, including research, that:
a. develop a controlling idea that conveys a perspective on the subject;
b. create an organizing structure appropriate to purpose, audience and context;
c. include information on all relevant perspectives, considering the validity and reliability of primary and secondary sources;
d. make distinctions about the relative value and significance of specific data, facts and ideas;
e. anticipate and address a readerís potential biases, misunderstandings and expectations; and
f. provide a sense of closure to the writing.
  1. Once Upon a Time: Writing Stories about Reading  -This resource uses a feature article from the New York Times to stimulate a discussion about one's life as a reader. Designated a promising practice, this lesson encourages students to take an inventory of their own histories as readers.
5. Write persuasive compositions that:
a. articulate a clear position;
b. support assertions using rhetorical devices, including appeals to emotion or logic and personal anecdotes; and
c. develop arguments using a variety of methods (e.g., examples, beliefs, expert opinion, cause-effect reasoning).
  1. Web Writer's Block: Investigating Internet Censorship Around the World -This interdisciplinary lesson promotes critical thinking through thoughtful research and discussions about the legitimacy of banning access to certain types of information on the Internet. Working in cooperative groups, students review websites banned in various countries, and investigate the reasons why particular countries would want to block information.
6. Produce informal writings (e.g., journals, notes and poems) for various purposes.
  1. Poem writing   Create your own "I Am" poem by filling in each blank. Be sure to select all the words (and parentheses) that are already in each blank before entering your own words.  4 Star
  2. Discovering Traditional Sonnet Forms -students read and analyze sonnets to discover their traditional forms. Students chart the characteristics of the poems then review the details for similarities, deducing traditional sonnet forms that the poems have in common.
  3. What Did They Say?: Dialect in The Color Purple-This lesson encourages students to examine the techniques used by the author to shape the plot and develop characters. Students also engage with the text through written reflections in double-entry journals and peer-to-peer discussions in literature circles.
  4. Exploring Literature through Letter Writing Groups -In this lesson, students discuss literature through a series of letter exchanges. Though not a new idea, this lesson provides an alternative to traditional literature discussion groups.
  5. Fooling With Words: Teaching Tools for Poetry -Fooling With Words is an informative web site with a focus on contemporary American poets. Many of these poets are frequently published in high school anthologies. Lesson plans develop critical thinking skills from a text-based perspective, often using the poets' lives to analyze their work.

Writing Conventions

1. Use correct spelling conventions.
  1. Spelling -This web site has extensive information on spelling as well as quizzes the students can take online to check their understanding
  2. Showing Good Taste: Writing Thoughtful Restaurant Reviews in the Language Arts Classroom  -In this promising practice, students distinguish the important elements of well-written restaurant reviews by analyzing and evaluating reviews from The New York Times and by writing their own reviews of favorite dining locations. Students are encouraged to evaluate critical and persuasive texts as well as writing their own. This resource also includes extension activities, interdisciplinary connections, and links to supporting Internet sites.
2. Use correct capitalization and punctuation
  1. Capitalization and Punctuation -This web site has extensive information on capitalization and punctuation as well as quizzes the students can take online to check their understanding.
  2. Capitalization -This is an excellent site explaining capitalization. Here you will find explanations, an online quiz, and a fantastic PowerPoint presentation you can download for use in class.
  3. Punctuation Marks -This is an excellent site explaining punctuation. Here you will find explanations, online quizzes, and great PowerPoint presentations you can download for use in class.
  4. Commas -This is a great interactive review site all about commas. Included are factsheets, games, quizzes, and worksheets.
3. Use correct grammar (e.g, verb tenses, parallel structure, indefinite and relative pronouns).
  1. Consistency -This web site has extensive information on consistency as well as quizzes the students can take online to check their understanding. Section 3 specifically deals with parallel structure.
  2. Verbs -This web site has extensive information on verbs as well as quizzes the students can take online to check their understanding. Sections 5, 6, and 7 deal specifically with tenses.


1. Compose open-ended questions for research, assigned or personal interest, and modify questions as necessary during inquiry and investigation to narrow the focus or extend the investigation.
  1. Through the Eyes of a Child: Creating Documentaries from the Perspectives of Adolescents -students explore how documentaries can present realistic and sometimes difficult perspectives on events in our world. Students begin by watching video clips from the film "Gaza Strip" and sharing their insights.
  2. Evaluating Eyewitness Reports -This resource provides a detailed lesson focused on using eyewitness accounts, representing a range of different perspectives, to write reliable accounts of historical events. Students begin by examining alternative reports of a single event: the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
2. Identify appropriate sources and gather relevant information from multiple sources (e.g., school library catalogs, online databases, electronic resources and Internet-based resources).
  1. Debate: Is Cheerleading a Sport?-Using the topic of cheerleading, students examine how women are perceived in sports and then debate whether or not cheerleading should be considered a sport.
  2. Murder and Mayhem : The Great Gatsby: The Facts Behind the Fiction -In order to appreciate historical fiction, students need to understand the factual context and recognize how popular culture reflects the values, mores, and events of the time period. This lesson uses The Great Gatsby to study the connection between fiction and historical/social contexts.
3. Determine the accuracy of sources and the credibility of the author by analyzing the sourcesí validity (e.g., authority, accuracy, objectivity, publication date and coverage, etc.).
  1. Hoax? Scholarly Research? Personal Opinion? You Decide!-This lesson is designed to help students determine the validity of information that is presented to them on the Internet. After reviewing a series of evaluation techniques for online resources, students form groups to assess selected websites based on accuracy and authority, advocacy and objectivity, and currency and coverage.
4. Analyze the complexities and discrepancies in information and systematically organize relevant information to support central ideas, concepts and themes.
  1. 1984: A Teachers Cyberguide -In this thematic unit, students learn about George Orwell's life and political views as they examine the key concepts from the novel 1984. During the study of this novel, students discuss the major themes and make connections to current issues and their own lives.
5. Integrate quotations and citations into written text to maintain a flow of ideas.  
6. Use style guides to produce oral and written reports that give proper credit for sources and include appropriate in-text documentation, notes and an acceptable format for source acknowledgement.  
7. Use a variety of communication techniques including oral, visual, written or multimedia report to present information that supports a clear position about the topic or research question and defend the credibility and validity of the information presented.
  1. The Grapes of Wrath: Scrapbooks and Artifacts: Ethnographic Field Studies in Fiction -This instructional unit uses The Grapes of Wrath and digital images from the American Memory collections to explore cultural and literary themes. Students use the American Memory collections to conduct research and gather artifacts.
  2. Searching Near and Far: Learning About How Specialized Search Engines Make Internet Information Accessible  -This resource uses a news article from the New York Times to explore using an Internet search engine for research. Designated a promising practice, this lesson allows students to use a hands-on experience with Internet search engines to learn more about how to locate information on the web.

Communications: Oral and Visual

1. Apply active listening strategies (e.g., monitoring message for clarity, selecting and organizing essential information, noting cues such as changes in pace).  
2. Analyze types of arguments used by the speaker, such as causation, analogy and logic.
  1. Dramatic Storytelling in the English Classroom : Hospital Fire Role Play -Practical approaches to using drama and story in the English classroom are provided through role play and reflection. A role play about fire in a major hospital lets students take on the parts of hospital employees for the investigation following the fire.
3.  Critique the clarity, effectiveness and overall coherence of a speaker's key points.
  1. Novel News: Broadcast Coverage of Character, Conflict, Resolution, and Setting-In this lesson, students prepare original news programs based on the events from a novel. After reading a novel, independently or as a class, students explore the literary elements of character, conflict, resolution, and setting. Working in small groups, students use what they know about the plot of the novel to write and deliver a fictional news broadcast.
4. Evaluate how language choice, diction, syntax and delivery style (e.g., repetition, appeal to emotion, eye contact) affect the mood and tone and impact the audience.
  1. It Comes as a Great Surprise... -This resource, designated a promising practice, is an instructional unit in which students create and deliver a formal speech. This instructional unit, developed as part of a project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, provides opportunities for students to research examples relevant to their topic and use a range of speaking skills during a formal speech.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the rules of the English language and select language appropriate to purpose and audience.  
6. Adjust volume, tempo, phrasing, enunciation, voice modulation and inflection to stress important ideas and impact audience response.
  1. William Golding/Lord of the Flies Trial Simulation-This resource, created by a group of high school teachers, details a simulation based on Lord of the Flies. Developed as a common project between social studies and English classes, students satisfy curricular requirements for both subjects as they role play a trial involving characters from the novel. This activity fosters engaged discussions and deep learning. Students take on the role of attorneys, witnesses, and other trial related characters.
7. Vary language choices as appropriate to the context of the speech.  
8. Deliver informational presentations (e.g., expository, research) that:
a. present a clear and distinctive perspective on the subject;
b. present events or ideas in a logical sequence;
c. support the controlling idea or thesis with well-chosen and elevant facts, details, examples, quotations, statistics, stories and anecdotes;
d. include an effective introduction and conclusion and use a consistent organizational structure (e.g., cause-effect, compare-contrast, problem-solution);
e. use appropriate visual materials (e.g., diagrams, charts, illustrations) and available technology to enhance presentation; and
f. draw from and cite multiple sources, including both primary and secondary sources, and consider the validity and reliability of sources.
  1. Newsworthy Intentions: Exploring the Risky and Edifying Dimensions of Satire -In this lesson, students explore the legal distinction between satire and libel. Students begin by discussing their ideas about humor, then work in small groups to research a libel case.
9. Deliver formal and informal descriptive presentations that convey relevant information and descriptive details.  
10. Deliver persuasive presentations that:
a. establish and develop a logical and controlled argument;
b. include relevant evidence, differentiating between evidence and opinion, to support position and to address counter-arguments or listener biases;
c. use persuasive strategies such as rhetorical devices; anecdotes and appeals to emotion, authority, reason, pathos and logic;
d. consistently use common organizational structures as appropriate (e.g., cause-effect, compare-contrast, problem-solution); and
e. use speaking techniques (e.g., reasoning, emotional appeal, case studies or analogies).
  1. I Beg to Differ -This resource is an instructional unit in which students use formal speaking skills to communicate major ideas supported by key details. This instructional unit, maintained by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, provides opportunities for students to research examples relevant to their topic and use a range of speaking skills during a debate.