Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Identify the differences between El Niño and La Niña.
- Explain how El Niño and La Niña affect the weather differently in North America and specifically Florida.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written explanatory response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students should already know that:
- The ocean and the atmosphere work together to move heat energy and fresh water.
- Heat energy is transferred through Earth's system by convection, conduction and radiation.
- Wind and ocean-current circulations move warm water toward the poles and colder water toward the equator.
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text.
- Students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. How are El Niño and La Niña similar?
El Niño and La Niña are both part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. Both affect the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere. Both typically last 9-12 months. Both affect weather patterns over North America. Both occur on average every 2-7 years.
2. How are El Niño and La Niña different?
El Niño is the warm phase of ENSO, while La Niña is the cold phase. El Niño's effects are warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada and wetter-than-average conditions over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida. La Niña's effects are cooler-than average temperatures over western and central Canada and dryer-than-average conditions over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida. El Niño occurs more frequently than La Niña.
3. What will the weather in Florida be like during an El Niño?
Florida will have a wet winter with higher than normal rainfall.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin by asking students, How is energy transferred through Earth's system? (By convection, conduction, and radiation)
2. Next ask, How do the wind and ocean current-circulations contribute to this energy transfer? (Under normal conditions, wind and ocean-current circulations move warmer water toward the poles and colder water toward the equator.)
3. Ask the students, Have you ever heard of the terms "El Niño" or "La Niña" before? (Possible responses include: TV news, Internet, meteorologists on TV, radio, or Internet, etc.)
4. Next, ask the students to brainstorm about what El Niño and La Niña are. Write their responses on the front board. (Possible responses include, weather, wind, temperatures fronts, currents, air masses etc.)
5. Inform the students that periodically, El Niño and La Niña can affect the weather in North America and that each indicates a higher or lower than average temperature between the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student a laminated copy of the article and a dry-erase marker to underline any important words or phrases and to circle any unknown vocabulary.
2. Distribute to each student the two column note-taking guide: one column is labelled "El Niño" and the other column "La Niña."
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: What are El Niño and La Niña?
- Subtitle: El Niño and La Niña are complex weather patterns resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
- Headings: El Niño, La Niña
4. As they read, have students look for facts about El Niño and write them in the appropriate column. Then have them look for a correlating fact about La Niña for each one and write it in the La Niña column - lining up like facts by row. Some will be comparisons and some will be contrasts.
5. Students should define the academic terms at the bottom using context clues, a dictionary, or both.
6. If students struggle with determining the meaning of the terms, teachers might utilize the following glossary and the clues that follow.
- Oscillation (paragraph 2, line 1) - regular back-and-forth movement. (A rotating fan is often described as "oscillating.")
- Fluctuations (paragraph 2, line 2) - continual changes or variations. (Similar to the phrase "in flux.")
- Deviations (paragraph 3, line 2) - turning aside from a course or direction. (What does it mean to be a "deviant?")
- Prolonged (paragraph 4, line 1) - lengthened or extended in time. (What's the root word inside this word? "Long.")
- Periodic (paragraph 6, line 1) - occurring, appearing or recurring at regular intervals. (What does it mean if something happens "periodically?")
Formative Assessment #1: Note-Taking Guide
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing them written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
3. For discussion of students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
See text-dependent questions answer key for common misconceptions and how they can be addressed.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Formative Assessment #2: Text-Dependent Questions
- Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific text evidence to support their answers.
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
See text-dependent questions answer key for common misconceptions and how they can be addressed.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Refer students back to their El Niño/La Niña brainstorm list on the board. Ask students if they agree or disagree with their earlier statements. What have they learned? Invite them to add additional items to the list.
2. Before students complete the final writing prompt, be sure to review responses to the earlier text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
3. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. Going over how the response is structured, pointing out ways to open and close the piece, showing use of effective transitions, and pointing out places to incorporate the natural use of vocabulary can really help students grow in their own writing skills for future writing tasks. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- How the writer explains ENSO by addressing El Niño and La Niña separately with a compare-and-contrast structure.
- How the writer includes specific text evidence and quotations.
- How the writer concludes the response. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have closed the piece
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They must refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Review the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teachers goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
Describe the different phases of the "El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)" cycle and the complex weather patterns that result from it. How can the ENSO cycle affect weather in North America?
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting the formative assessments can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing feedback to students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson. Also refer to the common errors/misconceptions on the text-dependent questions answer key.