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Lesson Plan

History Comes Alive: Developing Fluency and Comprehension Using Social Studies

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Grades 2 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Five week-long units, broken up into 30- to 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Veronica Montes

Lake Dallas, Texas


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computers with Internet access

  • Overhead projector and transparencies

  • Nonfiction books about Benjamin Franklin and other inventors

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Sticky notes

  • Materials for play props and sets

  • Performance programs (optional)

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1. Make plans to integrate this unit into your classroom activities. The entire project spans a period of about five weeks and is divided up as follows:

  • Part 1: Reading for Information - four 30- to 45-minute sessions

  • Part 2: Writing a Script - five 45-minute sessions

  • Part 3: Reading for Fluency - five or more 30-minute sessions

  • Part 4: Reading and Visual Arts - six or more 30-minute sessions

  • Part 5: Dramatic Interpretation Through Role-Play - two to three 30-minute sessions and at least one performance of the play before an audience
2. Choose a topic for the unit from your social studies curriculum; this lesson uses Benjamin Franklin as an example. Gather books about the topic, in this case Benjamin Franklin's life and his contributions to science and technology and other inventors and their inventions. You can assemble these texts from your classroom library, school library, and public library. Place them in a basket or book tub for students to browse. You should also choose three as read-aloud texts (see Part 1, Sessions 1, 2, and 4). Some suggested books include:

  • Benjamin Franklin by Martha Rustad (Capstone Press, 2002).

  • Benjamin Franklin, Revised Edition by Wil Mara (Children's Press, 2006)

  • Benjamin Franklin by Lucia Raatma (Compass Point Books, 2001)

  • Benjamin Franklin: Let Freedom Ring by Susan R. Gregson (Capstone Press, 2002)

  • So You Want to Be an Inventor? by David Small (Philomel Books, 2005)
3. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve one session in your school's computer lab (see Part 1, Session 3).

4. Visit and familiarize yourself with the websites listed in the Resources section. Select articles or pages from each site that talk about Franklins' inventions or scientific contributions for students to read. Students will be reading these articles in groups of two or three; try to find enough different pages so that each group has its own article. (If you have chosen a different topic, you will want to locate appropriate Internet resources). Bookmark these webpages on your classroom or lab computers.

5. Adapt the Initial Letter to Parents and the Follow-Up Letter to Parents as necessary. Make one copy of each of the following for each student in your class: the Conventions Self-Check Sheet, the Read-Aloud Rubric, the Read-Aloud Checklist, and the Audition Sheet. Copy the Organizer for Inferring onto a piece of chart paper; make one copy for every two or three students.

6. Prepare for the student performance at the end of this lesson by locating and reserving an appropriate place in your school (e.g., the auditorium or cafeteria) and beginning to collect materials for props, costumes, and sets.

7. If possible, collect some sample programs to share with students (see Part 4, Session 6). You can also print out the Sample Program to share with them.

8. Throughout the project students will work with partners or in small groups. For some activities the same group of students will work together on an assigned task. At other times, students will be placed in different groups. This provides students with an opportunity to interact with other classmates and appreciate other students' points of view.

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