Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students will be able to:
- Cite strong and appropriate evidence from the texts they read and research.
- Demonstrate the knowledge they acquire from reading multiple informational texts on Nelson Mandela's role in Africa's struggle with apartheid by answering questions and taking notes in a T-Chart.
- Participate in small group and teacher-led discussions, express their ideas clearly, and refer to evidence from their reading and research.
- Conduct short research on Nelson Mandela and apartheid, draw information from several sources, and share their findings in a written summary and oral discussions.
- Use their research notes to write a summary of their findings about the meaning of apartheid and the role Nelson Mandela played as a leader in Africa's struggle with apartheid.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Before beginning the lesson, students should know how to:
- cite textual evidence
- research a topic
- use a T-Chart to take notes on their reading and research
- summarize information and determine the key details in a section of text
- use evidence to support their findings and conclusions
- take thorough notes and write well-formed answers to research questions
- understand the difference between writing short paragraphs explaining a topic, writing thorough notes on a T-Chart for the purpose of extracting valid and relevant information that supports their research question/topic, and using well-written notes as they write about a topic using information from their notes to cite the evidence that supports their claims.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Who is Nelson Mandela and what was his role in Africa's struggle with apartheid?
- What is apartheid?
- Do personal sacrifices like Nelson Mandela's make a difference in the world, and are such sacrifices worthwhile?
- What did Nelson Mandela do for the apartheid movement that others did not?
- What evidence of self-sacrifice did I find in my research?
- From my research, what three character traits did Mandela demonstrate?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
The "Hook" and Activation of Prior Knowledge
- Give students one or two examples of people that have sacrificed themselves for a cause or to help someone else (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: considered a great leader who fought for equality for everyone, and Mahatma Gandhi: considered the father of the Indian independence movement).
- Ask students to think about people they know about who have sacrificed themselves for a cause. Have students write about one person they know who sacrificed for a cause, providing evidence of their sacrifice and explaining whether they believe the sacrifice paid off.
- Ask students to assess whether they believe those individuals made a difference. Have students write down specific evidence demonstrating how those individuals made a difference.
Introducing/Modeling the Concept or Skill
- At this point, the students have already written their responses to several questions (see formative assessment section). After they do this during a bell ringer activity, the teacher is ready to show a small presentation about Mandela. The students will use the information from the presentation/video to add information to their written responses.
- An audiovisual presentation is suggested to introduce the lesson: Mandela FS Lesson Intro to the students. This will help the students connect to the topic/lesson.
- The teacher is now ready to demonstrate for students how to revise their written responses to the questions posed in the formative assessment. Students should understand that their first written responses are usually "drafts" and that part of the writing process is to return to their writing to add new information and/or revise what they have already written. The teacher can do this by providing a written example on an interactive board, making revisions and adding information in new paragraphs or in the margins of her paper. It is important that the teacher use a "Think Aloud" strategy: the teacher verbalizes his/her thinking aloud so that students see and hear the thinking process as the teacher adds or edits information to the written response. (If this is a new skill, the teacher will need to give more explicit directions and examples; if students have used the skill before, the teacher's modeling should act as more of a reminder of the process.)
- The teacher should model this using at least two questions and jotting down new notes as follows:
- Who is Nelson Mandela? (At this point in the lesson, this can be answered using the summary of the key events of Mandela's life, information from the PowerPoint, and information from the Biography clip shown with the PowerPoint- there is a link in the PowerPoint for this short video.)
- Provide some information about Mandela prior to 1942 using information from the first paragraph of the summary of the key events of Mandela's life.
- After, the teacher should do a third question with the students and then allow them to complete the rest of the questions independently while he/she walks around to ensure students understand the skill. The third question:
- Provide some information about Mandela's actions after 1942 using information from the first paragraph of the summary of the key events of Mandela's life.
- The same process of explicit instruction (I DO, WE DO, YOU DO) should be followed for each new skill the students are introduced to in this lesson. If the students are proficient in a specific skill, it is unnecessary to spend class time modeling the skill explicitly. Instead, the teacher should do this with the small group of students that require explicit instruction.
- Before students have their group discussions*, the teacher should introduce them to the Research and Share Self-Assessment Checklist and model for them how to use the checklist to ensure they are fully participating in group discussions. Again, modeling might be necessary if the teacher has not done this with his/her students in the past.
*Refer to the "Further Recommendations" section found towards the bottom of the lesson plan for suggestions on forming groups.
- The research part of this lesson will definitely require some modeling or pre-teaching of research skills. I would encourage you to contact your Media Specialist to schedule a research skills presentation. The presentation will teach students how to search for credible and reliable sources on the Internet using databases that your particular school offers. For example, our school uses World Book Online Reference Center, SIRS Knowledge Source, e Library science, and other databases. You can also help your students understand how to judge the reliability of documents and websites at McGraw Hill Education website: How to Judge the Reliability of Internet Information.
- A special note about research: Your students will likely require direct instruction to understand how to research thoroughly and effectively. I would take one topic question (such as researching the African National Congress (ANC) and learning how Nelson Mandela was involved with this movement) and walk your students through the entire process of note-taking using the T-Chart, analyzing their notes, and summarizing their information into a well-written paragraph. Include some editing of the summary so that students understand that writing a summary for the first time is a draft and requires them to edit and re-write the paragraph before it is submitted as a final copy. (More information provided on this in Guided Practice below.)
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Teacher Actions during the activity:
The teacher has allowed students to write and edit their written responses and he/she modeled the process for the students. Now students are ready to begin to research on their own and begin writing notes on their T-Charts.
During this phase of the lesson, the teacher should be providing feedback, initiating class discussion, or assessing students' understanding of skills and processes of researching information and writing notes and summaries.
- The teacher will provide students with time to write responses to the guiding questions and/or questions related to the topic of Mandela and the apartheid movement and model for the students how to add and edit their written responses.
- The teacher will then model how to read and extract information from the first paragraph of the summary of the key events of Mandela's life using the "Think Aloud" strategy. For example, read the first paragraph and "Thinking Aloud" show students how to extract information using The 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When, Why. After, the teacher should write down a few notes on their T-Charts.
- The class then joins in the process as the teacher and the students read the second paragraph and together perform the "Think Aloud" and write down more notes on the T-Chart.
- Finally, the students read the remainder of the text independently and jot down more notes on their chart.
- After reading the summary of the key events of Mandela's life, students will sit in groups* to discuss what they learned with a partner. The choice of how to group students will depend on the task and ability of the students.
*The teacher should create groups prior to beginning this lesson and keep the same grouping throughout. Grouping students heterogeneously by ability might be a good choice to ensure that at least one student in each group is able to read fluently and can lead the group if necessary. Providing students with experience and practice with roles to fulfill during group activities is also extremely helpful. (See the Further Recommendations section for additional information about grouping students.)
- Teachers can create checklists or rubrics to assess student participation during discussions or they can create checklists for students to use to self-assess their participation. This holds them accountable for group participation. Checklists (such as the Research and Share Self-Assessment Checklist I created for this lesson) and rubrics can be created using websites such as Project Based Learning Website.
- After students share their findings with their group, the teacher will lead a whole-class discussion to ensure that all the students have a basic understanding of Nelson Mandela's role in the anti-apartheid movement in Africa.
- Next, the teacher will introduce the research aspect of this lesson to the students. Again, in this phase of the lesson the teacher should model how students should conduct their research using the "Think Aloud" strategy. The teacher can create a visual bookmarking site to select specific websites students can use to research facts about the lesson/topic. Providing students with the websites they should visit will facilitate their finding the right information efficiently. Teachers can use visual bookmarking sites such as Sqworl.com to organize the websites they want their students to visit. Please refer to: Nelson Mandela and Africa's Anti-Apartheid for several websites that have already been selected for this project. At this time, the teacher can show the students what sites he/she included in the visual bookmarking site or he/she can provide the students with a list of sites they can use for their research.
- The teacher should model for the students how to find reliable sources (How to Judge the Reliability of Internet Information), read and extract relevant information, and take thorough notes (citing the website they use). (See TChart Graphic Organizer for N. Mandela Research for an example of a T-Chart that already includes the Research Questions typed on the left and some research notes.) The T-Chart example also shows one interesting fact that has been highlighted in green and some selected key details answering Research Question #1 about the ANC that have been highlighted in yellow.
Once the students understand how to complete the T-Chart, they should begin their research.
Once the students finish their research (see Research_questions for research focus), the teacher will group them again and model for the students how they are to share their findings with the group, using the Research and Share Self-Assessment Checklist to guide them. For example, walk the students through the checklist as follows:
- As you demonstrate to the students how to write notes from the research they find, also make sure they record the URL/source they found the information in.
- After they write notes, show them how to re-read their notes and highlight the important facts. The students should gain an understanding of the steps involved in actually learning: in other words, they should understand that "first-draft" note-taking is NOT sufficient to gain understanding. The re-reading of their notes is what will help them gain a deeper understanding of concepts.
- Show them how to re-read and highlight the facts. This step is more involved than what students initially realize. The teacher should take his/her time teaching the students how to take proper notes, re-read, and highlight important details.
- During this process, the teacher should monitor students' understanding and provide feedback as needed.
- Under "Content"-- where the students should check off the section "the information I gave was interesting or important to others"-- show students one example of an interesting or important fact (I provided one example for you on the checklist).
- The next check-off item reads: "I was well informed about my topic. Three facts I learned are...." Demonstrate for the students what well-informed means by writing one fact you learned from research and citing the "credible source" you used under the resources section of the checklist.
The teacher will lead the whole-class in a discussion, allowing each group to share their findings and provide time after each group speaks for the students to edit their notes by adding any new information they learn from their peers.
At this time, the teacher will model for students how they should write their summaries based on their research and group discussions. (See My Summaries from my Nelson Mandela Research for a completed example.) It is important that the teacher return to the T-Chart notes to re-read the notes and highlight the facts/important information pertaining to each research question the student researched. In My Summaries from my Nelson Mandela Research, I included the summary of the African National Congress (Research Question #1). The students must understand that this summary is time-consuming and requires re-reading and synthesizing information from various sources by choosing the overlapping information found in the sources. You will see that some of the notes typed on the T-Chart for Research Question #1 include overlapping information. That is why the student must go back to the T-Chart and highlight the facts and choose the most pertinent facts to include in the summary. Again, it is a process that the students must undergo and requires note-taking, re-reading, synthesizing and analyzing, highlighting the most important information, and then re-writing the information in a paragraph summary.
At this time, the teacher could clarify the lesson objectives for the students so that they have a clear understanding of what they will be assessed on: their initial written responses to the bell ringer/guiding questions, completed student self-assessment checklist, T-chart notes, and summative assessment written summary.
- Continue to provide an example for each section of the checklist including the "Delivery" section where students should check off that they maintained eye contact, spoke clearly, and used notes sparingly as they shared (which means they have to read over their material and possibly highlight what information they plan on sharing). The teacher might show the students how to do this: have students read over their T-Chart/Summaries and highlight the three important facts they want to share and then have them write the facts on the checklist prior to sharing the information so that when their turn to share comes, they are able to share clearly and concisely.
Student Actions during the activity
- Students should participate during the "hook" and activation of prior knowledge phase of the lesson. It is a good idea to have your class roll or a checklist system in place that will help you keep track of the students who participate during discussions and/or reading so that you can call on the students who do not typically participate. This will help you gain a better understanding of their skills/knowledge. Another good way of ensuring your students are all participating is to have them use small, individual-sized whiteboards or simply write their responses on a blank piece of paper and have them lift the paper or whiteboard to ensure everyone is participating.
- Students will write about what they know about apartheid and Nelson Mandela's role as a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in Africa during the bell ringer activity.
- Students will better understand how to edit their writing as the teacher models for them using explicit instruction. As the teacher models a skill, the student is doing the same thing (following his/her example).
- Students will then read the summary of the key events of Mandela's life in order to learn about Nelson Mandela and his role as a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in Africa.
- After reading Mandela's summary, students will sit in groups to discuss their findings with the group, using the Self-Assessment Checklist to ensure they are engaged in the group discussion.
- After sharing what they learned in their group, students will add any new information to their written responses. Students should be encouraged to add information and or questions to their written responses and notes as they conduct their research and as they participate in group and class discussions. We want our students to become more "curious" and learn how to really "dig" for information. They should get a sense of how research is not necessarily a linear process but that it can evolve, cause us to add more questions, and branch out into different research topics.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Teacher Actions during the activity:
- The teacher should ensure that students have the materials they need to conduct their research and to participate in group discussions prior to providing them time to conduct their research.
- As the students are conducting research, it is important for the teacher to monitor the students progress, looking for opportunities to clarify information or to help students gain a deeper understanding of the research process, analyzing and synthesizing information, writing notes, and creating comprehensive paragraph summaries.
- If the teacher finds that there are several students who are struggling with an aspect or two of this process, he/she should create a teacher-led small group and provide further guidance for these students.
Student Actions during the activity:
- Students will use the Internet to research apartheid and Africa's struggle with apartheid policies (see Research_questions for research focus). It is important for students to gain a deep understanding of the concepts presented in this lesson so that they are able to understand how to research information, write notes, use notes to write summaries, and gain an overall understanding of how to research topics.
Students will use their edited notes to write paragraph summaries of each topic of their research on apartheid and Nelson Mandela's role in the Africa's struggle with apartheid policies.
Students will organize their T-chart notes, self-assessment checklist, and research summaries for a final grade.
- Students can research the web on their own or the teacher can select credible sites they can use by creating a visual bookmarking site such as the one created for you at: Sqworl.com/2njxn8 on Nelson Mandela and Africa's Anti-Apartheid movement to help them find credible sources efficiently.
- Students will take notes as demonstrated during the teacher's Guided Practice. It is important for the students to write down the web address of where they found their information so that they will have an easier time in the future with citing sources when they conduct research.
- If the students conduct their research at home, they should bring it to class so that the teacher can guide them in group/class discussions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
Lesson Review Activity:
- As the students are finishing their research for this lesson, the teacher should review the research questions with them to ensure that they have thoroughly researched each of the questions.
- It might be a good idea at this time to remind the students that they should write additional questions or "new" information on their T-Charts as they find it throughout their research. Students will need to be prompted to "dig" for information and not just settle for answering questions.
- Once this portion of the lesson is complete, the teacher can create review activities such as bell ringer questions that reinforce what the students have been learning throughout the project.
- The teacher can also show one of the student's written responses and/or some of the student research summaries and give other students opportunities to write additional notes they might have missed in their own research.
- Students will write notes explaining the meaning of apartheid and Nelson Mandela's role in Africa's struggle with apartheid policies. The notes will be written using a T Chart: they can divide a paper in half and use the left side to write the topic/phrase they are researching and the website where the information they find is located. On the right side, they should write the facts/information they find on the website they indicated related to the topic they listed on the left side.* An example of the T Chart can be found here.
*Please note: After feedback from the teacher, students will need to retain all written notes from their research. The students will use these notes to write their summative assessment summaries, citing evidence from their research notes. The students will answer the questions in extended paragraphs, rather than in essay format.
- Using their notes, students will write a 3-4 paragraph summary of their research.* An example of a summary can be found here.
Prior Knowledge: Written Responses
The teacher will have students write responses to specific questions regarding the lesson topic in order to gauge their understanding of apartheid and Nelson Mandela's role as a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in Africa. The teacher can activate students' prior knowledge during a bell ringer as follows:
- Students will answer the following questions/prompts in one-two paragraphs:
After students write their responses, they will independently read a summary of the key events of Mandela's life (990L*), share what they learned in small groups, and add information to their written responses as they learn new facts from their peers. (A link to this summary is provided in the guiding questions section and teaching phase.)
- Who is Nelson Mandela?
- What is Nelson Mandela known for?
- What is apartheid?
- Describe Africa's struggle with apartheid policies.
*Using a lower Lexile level for this introductory activity is suggested so that students are able to focus on understanding the new concepts and information presented as the lesson begins rather than struggling with reading difficult text and digesting new concepts and information at the same time.
- After this activity, students will use the Internet to research apartheid and Africa's struggle with apartheid policies in order to help them better understand Mandela and his influence during Africa's apartheid movement. In order for teachers to assess students' abilities to research material well, use evidence from texts, and stimulate thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas, they can create checklists such as the Research and Skills Self-Assessment Checklist that was created on the Project Based Learning website (this website allows teachers to create checklists for Project Based Learning and assessments).
- Throughout the lesson, take time out to ask individual students specific questions about the lesson. This is a great way to include struggling readers/writers. As you get to know your students, you will learn that many of them are successful during one-to-one, group, or class discussions but may struggle with reading and writing activities. Asking them questions and giving them a grade (as an oral assessment) is a great motivator.
- Use exit slips at the end of each class period or stop activity at intermittent times and ask students to jot down an answer to a question the class has already covered to gauge their understanding.
Feedback to Students
- After students write responses on what they know about Nelson Mandela, they will sit in small groups and discuss* their findings about Mandela and apartheid. Students will add new information to their writing after discussing with peers. The teacher should walk around to offer feedback as needed.
*It is important for the teacher to walk around at this time and listen for student discussions. It will help to use a clipboard and jot down information that you realize needs to be clarified. For example, if students are coming up with erroneous information, or you realize there is additional information you have not provided the students that could enhance their comprehension of the lesson, you can address this after students finish sharing in their small groups.
- After, the teacher will lead a whole-class discussion to learn what the students know and to add additional feedback/thoughts on the subject. Students will once again have an opportunity to add information to their written responses if they choose to.
- After listening to the students share during small groups and the whole class discussion, the teacher should review the questions asked during the prior knowledge/bell ringer and and/or the guiding questions activities to assess student comprehension. It is a good idea to ask the questions verbally at the end of your class discussion, having students/groups share their responses. This is a good time for the teacher and/or other students to add information so that everyone is on the same page.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Alina Valero
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Miami-Dade
Is this Resource freely Available? Yes
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.