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Lesson Plan

Learning to Learn with Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster

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Learning  to Learn with Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sharon Roth

Sharon Roth

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • relate to the text by generalizing the concepts to their own setting and learning needs.

  • demonstrate an understanding of a concept or term by illustrating it through pictures, words, and actions in the presentation.

  • reflect on a new learning strategy and consider how they might apply it in future learning settings.

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Session One

  1. At the end of a unit rich with challenging vocabulary, read Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster aloud to the whole class.

  2. After reading the book, allow time for students to share their reactions to the book.

  3. Explain that the class will have a vocabulary parade, just like the characters in Miss Alaineus.

  4. Working as a class, ask students to brainstorm a list of words, terms, and/or concepts based on a recent unit of study that might appear in the classís vocabulary parade.

  5. Record the words students share on the board or on chart paper. Save this list for use during later sessions.

  6. Make suggestions from your own list if the class has trouble getting started or miss important terms that should be included.

  7. If students need additional time to gather words for their parade, identify a time or place where students can submit additional ideas. Be sure to maintain studentsí enthusiasm for the project even though you must cut off discussion for now.

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Session Two

  1. Present the format of the vocabulary parade and its intended audience to the class, based on the method you have chosen. Students might participate in a parade, taped video, or class skits.

  2. Ask students to take a minute on their own to review the list and identify any words that do not fit the project guidelines as well as any words that need to be added to the list.

  3. If a test is required at the end of the unit of study, this list of vocabulary terms can be developed as a study guide or as a review session. If this is the case, allow an extra session to ensure students have enough time to review all the terms as well as make their plans for the vocabulary parade.

  4. Use the Stapleless Book to type up the terms and present them as miniature study guides or program for the performance.

  5. Have students select a term from the list and write the following information on a note card:

    • Studentís Name

    • Term they wish to represent (1st choice)

    • Why they have selected that term

    • Term they wish to represent (2nd choice)

    • Why they have selected that term
  6. Collect the note cards, and review them for overlaps and gaps. Allow for accommodations as appropriate:

    • Pair up words that can be demonstrated together and assign them to students who may have trouble completing the assignment independently. If some students receive support services, check with relevant support staff before assigning a term which might cause unusual difficulties.
  7. Assign terms to students during recess or lunch period for the best results. Otherwise, be sure to assign words prior to the third class session so you can manage any negotiation of terms and allow students to begin thinking about the terms they will work on.

  8. Once terms have been assigned, pass out your customized copies of the Family Letter that you have composed to explain the project to families. Ask students to take the letter home to their families.

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Session Three

  1. Tell the class that this session is devoted to planning the costumes and reviewing the timeline for the vocabulary project.

  2. Explain the resources that are available to students in the classroom (e.g., books, Websites, materials from the art teacher or media specialist).

  3. Pass out the Vocabulary Disaster Presentation Rubric and review the expectations for the project with the class.

  4. Ask students to begin planning their costumes in pairs or small groups. Encourage students to collaborate and problem solve together.

  5. As students work, rotate through the room and conference with students to determine the feasibility of their ideas and their ability to provide materials. Provide feedback, encouragement, and support, as appropriate.

  6. At the end of the session, remind students of the day and time for the presentation of their costumes.

  7. Remind students of the expectations on the Vocabulary Disaster Presentation Rubric.

  8. Ask students to prepare a note card clearly listing their term and its definition in their own words before the presentation takes placeóeither as a summary after this session or for homework. You or an adult volunteer will use this notecard to introduce each student.

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Session Four

  1. On the day of the presentation, use the Vocabulary Disaster Presentation Rubric to provide feedback for each student.

  2. After the presentations, pass out the New Learning Reflection sheet and ask students to assess their work and learning during this activity.

  3. Collect studentsí reflections and use their responses to shape your final comments on the Vocabulary Disaster Presentation Rubric.

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