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Lesson Plan

Vocabulary With Franklin: Helping Students Become Word Wizards

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 30 to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Candice Wells

Burlington, New Jersey


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1: Introduce Book and Vocabulary Words (4560 minutes)

Session 2: Watch Video and Practice Script (3045 minutes)

Session 3: Readers Theatre (3045 minutes)

Session 4: Play Word Wizard and Word Match (3045 minutes)

Session 5: Assessment (3045 minutes)


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Increase their knowledge of vocabulary by defining words from a read-aloud text

  • Gain familiarity with the vocabulary words by playing a matching game

  • Demonstrate fluency and word recognition by performing a script that uses the vocabulary words they have been studying

  • Test their facility with the vocabulary words using the Word Wizard tool to unscramble and identify the words and a game that asks them to match words and definitions

  • Demonstrate their knowledge and ownership of vocabulary words by placing them into sentences to show meaning

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Session 1: Introduce Book and Vocabulary Words (4560 minutes)

1. Before introducing the book Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois, show students a stuffed turtle or a picture of a turtle and ask them what you are holding. Once students respond, ask them what they know about turtles to build background knowledge. If students do not mention it, make sure to explain that turtles live in their shells. Ask them if they have ever heard of the Franklin books or the television show.

2. Introduce students to the vocabulary words that you have chosen from the book (see Preparation, Step 3). Write them on the board and have students come up with simple definitions or use the words in sentences. Depending on the needs of your students, you may choose to provide a sample definition or sentence to help them get started.

3. Tell students to listen for the vocabulary words as you read Franklin in the Dark aloud. Tell them to raise their hands when they hear a vocabulary word. As you read, pause and ask questions about the vocabulary you selected (e.g., "What does the word problem mean?").

4. After you read the book, review the vocabulary words you have written on the board by having students read them aloud. Tell students they will play a memory game using these words. Give each student a set of index cards and tell them to write each word twice, once on two different cards.

5. Now have students mix up their cards. They should lay them out on their desks or tables in two rows of five with the words facing down. Then they should turn over the cards, two at a time, to try and find the words that match. If they don't get a match, they should turn the cards back over; if they do get a match, they should pick up the pair of cards. The game is over when all of the cards have been taken. Students can also play in pairs, taking turns to try and find a match; the person with the most cards at the end of the game wins. Note: Make sure students say the vocabulary words as they pick up the cards. You may want to have more advanced students use each word in a sentence when they pick it up.

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Session 2: Watch Video and Practice Script (3045 minutes)

1. Show the Franklin in the Dark DVD with the captioning turned on and the sound turned off. Students should read the captions chorally while they watch the video. If there is time, repeated viewing and reading is a valuable way to extend fluency and word recognition. Alternatively, you may read the book aloud and have students chorally read the lines that repeat.

2. Ask students if they have ever been to a play. Explain to students that actors and actresses rehearse their lines using a script. Tell students that they are going to become actors and actresses using a script to perform a short play based on Franklin in the Dark. Briefly discuss the narrator's role and who the characters are. Tell students that they will recognize many of the vocabulary words in the script.

3. Have students get into small heterogeneous groups (making sure that one student in each group can read proficiently). Distribute the Script for Franklin in the Dark (or the script you have prepared) and review it with students. Explain that they will practice reading the script and will then perform for the rest of the class during a later session. Assign parts or let students select them.

4. Once parts have been assigned or selected, give each student a highlighter. During the first read-aloud of the script, students should mark their parts.

5. Students should spend the rest of the session reading the script in their groups. If you choose, you may allow students to make changes to the script.

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Session 3: Readers Theatre (3045 minutes)

1. Have students read through the script a few times in their groups. Monitor them to make sure they are on task and saying the words correctly.

2. When students have had enough time to work on their scripts, groups perform for the class to watch. They should read from the scripts.

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Session 4: Play Word Wizard and Word Match (3045 minutes)

If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, this session should take place in your school's computer lab. You may need to turn the sound down or off on the computers students will be using. If there are a limited number of computers, have some students play the memory game from Session 1 while they wait their turn.

1. Depending on how familiar students are with the book you are using (and how much time has passed since the previous session) you may choose to reread it at the beginning of this session. Have the vocabulary words from Session 1 on the board. Call on a few students to read the words and use them in sentences.

2. Use a projector or have students gather around one computer to model how to use the online Word Wizard. Explain to students that they will unscramble vocabulary words from Franklin in the Dark. Show students as many words as you think are necessary to help them understand how to play.

3. Students should complete all exercises and raise their hands when they are finished. You can then print out the words and send them home for review.

4. When all students have finished with the Word Wizard, distribute a Franklin in the Dark Word Match card and poker chips or checkers to each of them. Read definitions of the vocabulary words and have students find the words that match on their game cards. The first student to get four correct words in a row wins the game.

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Session 5: Assessment (3045 minutes)

1. Have the vocabulary words from Session 1 listed on the board. Give students paper and tell them they should write each word in a sentence that shows they know what it means. You might provide them with examples of two sentences, one that shows meaning more fully than the other, for example "I have a problem" versus "It is a problem to be afraid of school."

2. After the assessment, break the class into two teams. Give each team an index card with a vocabulary word on it. Have one person from each team act out a word while the other team tries to guess the word. Play until each student has had a turn.

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  • Have students use vocabulary words in a creative way such as writing a poem or story or making a book.

  • Invite students to write their own scripts using the vocabulary words.

  • Use the Word Wizard with Corduroy by Don Freeman, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, or Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

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  • Take notes during the lesson to see if students are using the vocabulary words correctly. In particular, observe the use and pronunciation of the words during the performances in Session 3.

  • Observe if students are building words correctly on the Word Wizard during Session 4. You might provide students who struggle with this activity additional practice until they become proficient.

  • Collect and review sentences from Session 5. You may choose to grade the spelling, as well as the meaning, of the vocabulary words.

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