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Lesson Plan

Supporting Vocabulary Development with EASE

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Supporting Vocabulary Development with EASE

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Bernadette Lambert


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives



Session Three


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • acquire new vocabulary and use it correctly in reading and writing.

  • create definitions and examples for new vocabulary.

  • create similes.

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  1. Write the following words on the board or chart paper: anticipate, optimist, pessimist, simile, metaphor, vivid, listless, waver, sway, descend, and sprout.

  2. Using the EASE—Summary of Sequence of Instruction, teach the word anticipate. View the sample transcript to see how it is done.

  3. Continue this process with remaining words.

  4. Show students the cover of Come On, Rain! Ask them what they think the girl is ANTICIPATING. (Possible response is rain.)

  5. Read Come On, Rain! aloud to the class.

  6. Use these questions to generate discussion of the book and understanding of the vocabulary words listed on the board or chart paper.

    • Was Tessie a pessimist or an optimist?

    • What are the verbs the author uses BEFORE the rain comes?

    • What are the verbs the author uses AFTER the rain comes?

    • Compare the images before and after the rain comes.
  7. If desired, share the Five Senses Example with the students so they can see how to record their observations.

  8. Pass out copies of the Five Senses handout, and have students find examples where the author appeals to each of the five senses.

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  1. Arrange students in small groups or cooperative pairs.

  2. Give each group a copy of the handout Pessimist or Optimist handout.

  3. Ask students to sort the verbs on the handout into the following categories: Actions of an Optimist, Actions of a Pessimist, or Actions of Either.

  4. Have students use the print or online Venn diagram to organize their responses.

  5. Explain that for each verb students place in a circle on the Venn Diagram, they should write an explanation of why the verb belongs there.

  6. Talk about the choices with the class-which choices present more positive than negative descriptions.

  7. Give each group the short, current news article that you have selected.  A good source is Time for Kids which provides news articles for students to use as you generate class discussion for authentic use of targeted vocabulary.

  8. Ask each group to read article and decide if it is a better example of optimism or pessimism.

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Session Three

  1. Review the definition of simile, which was explored in the first session.

  2. Write the following sentence on the board: "I am sizzling like a hot potato." Alternately, if enough copies of the book are available, direct to students to the page 3 of Come On, Rain! and read the sentence aloud.

  3. Explain that although the "I" in the sentence is being compared to a hot potato, it is "sizzling" that makes the simile vivid for the reader.

  4. Show them that the sentence "I am like a hot potato" is not as vivid as the sentence "I am sizzling like a hot potato."

  5. Show students a second simile in the book Come On, Rain!: "Her long legs, like two brown string beans, sprout from her shorts."

  6. Let students work in small groups or pairs to decide what is being compared and what word gives the simile life.

  7. Share a third simile in the book (or have students find it if copies are available): " . . . while the music from Miz Glick's phonograph shimmies and sparkles and streaks like night lightning."

  8. Ask students to explain what is being compared and which words make the simile come alive or vivid.

  9. For additional practice, pass out copies of the handout Least Vivid to Most Vivid and ask students to look at word choice.

  10. Allow students to create their own similes, using the vocabulary words as idea starters. Model a few of your own first.

  11. Continue these strategies with the students as additional texts and new vocabulary are introduced.

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  • Invite students to revise and edit the similes they have found and created in this lesson into poems. As they prepare their writing, ask students to underline any word they used from the current vocabulary study. Encourage students to delete the words look, hear, taste, smell, and feel. Suggest they think of other ways to "Come On" to begin their writing.

  • To further explore vocabulary, invite the students to identify vivid verbs that they can use in future descriptive writing. Ask students to locate at least one verb to dissect on a Word Jar Slip for homework. Distribute a Word Jar Slip to each student. Choose a word to use as an example. After their first use of the Word Jar, ask students to bring in several Word Jar Slips per week. Weekly, at the start or end of a class, choose several Word Jar Slips to share with the class. You will be surprised how many new and powerful words you are adding to your students' vocabulary.

  • Using the Word Map, students can further explore vocabulary words and make additional connections.

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Encourage or require students to use the vocabulary words that the class explores in their writing. Students can underline or otherwise highlight these words in their texts so that you can easily see their use and check the passages for student comprehension. After students have used vocabulary words successfully in their writing, ask them to complete Writer’s Self-assessment Questions to help gauge their understanding of the words and engagement with the process:

  1. What is the most vivid part of the writing you just completed? Explain.

  2. What part of your writing would you describe as listless?

  3. Did you use a simile or metaphor in your writing? What is it? If you did not, create a simile or metaphor to include now.

  4. After this lesson, are you pessimistic or optimistic about the kind of work you will do in this class? Explain.


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