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Lesson Plan

Learning Clubs: Motivating Middle School Readers and Writers

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Heather Casey, Ph.D.

Heather Casey, Ph.D.

Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Suzanne Gespass

Lawrenceville, New Jersey


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computer with LCD projector capabilities for demonstration (optional but encouraged)

  • Computers with Internet access (at least one per group)

  • Blogger

  • Magazines and books organized around topics of interest

  • Learning log (folder with blank paper) as an alternative to blogs

  • Paper and pencils/pens


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1. Hand out the Interest Inventories to survey students about areas of interest. Use the Open Interest Inventory to have students generate their own topics within a particular content area of unit of study; use the Closed Interest Inventory to limit the specific topics available for selection. Potential topics may include:

  • Science—e.g., gravity or motion

  • Social Studies cultural exploration—e.g., customs or children’s hobbies in local, state, national, or international area of exploration

  • Math—e.g., use of geometry in the workplace

  • Health—e.g., age-appropriate exercises, food guides, or air quality

Alternatively, survey students about areas they are interested in learning more about and build groups based on the identified topics.

2. Form groups of no more than four students based on identified topics.

3. Create initial “learning tubs” with magazines and books organized around topics of interest for students to begin their investigations.

4. Bookmark applicable sites listed in the Websites (and others you might find on particular topics) on your classroom computer or lab computers. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve time in your school’s computer lab for Session 2. If you plan on having your students blog, reserve time in your school’s computer lab for all sessions.

5. If you plan on having your students blog, create a basic blog at Blogger to model for students in Session 1. Possible postings may include a picture, a brief description of what you (as a model student) are looking forward to learning, and potential links that may help the students once they begin.

6. If your students are unable to blog, make sure to provide a learning log (a folder with blank paper).

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