English & Literature Lesson Plans

Information Please

Electronic Encyclopedia: Research Activity

Along with traditional reference sources, students can now access relevant, up-to-date information via electronic references. Using groups of related persons, places and things students will research factual information, with the eventual goal of presenting findings to the class using presentation software.

The Diary of Anne Frank

ClarisWorks: Writing Activity

Students learn about the Holocaust in seventh grade, but are then as eighth-graders are given the opportunity to experience it on a more personal level as they read the play The Diary of Anne Frank . Acting the play out in class provides them an almost firsthand knowledge of Anne. They are then better able to identify with Anne as a person, and therefore allow the Holocaust experience to almost come alive. It is at this point that it is valuable for them to write on the subject in order to further synthesize their feelings and reactions.

Biography Newsletters

ClarisWorks and Scanner (optional)

After reading a biography, students will create a newsletter report about the subject of the biography. The report will include five paragraphs and a list of interesting additional facts.

Original Children's Books

ClarisWorks Creating a Slide Show

After learning the elements of a short story and reading/critiquing several children's books and authors, students will write, revise, and publish an original children's book which incorporates the elements of a short story.

Mythology News Trogan Times


This newspaper is designed as a culminating activity for a unit in which we read an abridged text of The Iliad.

Black History Month Newsletter:

This newsletter is designed to familiarize eighth grade students with the process of creating all of the elements of a newsletter. This activity includes background information, grade sheets, directions for creating a newsletter and a sample newsletter.

Birthday Buddy

ClarisWorks, Internet and Groliers Encyclopedia

Students will explore an Internet web site and/or the Groliers Encyclopedia to investigate a famous person who shares their birthday. Students will write a five paragraph comparison and contrast essay on their findings. Finally, students will use the writing process through the ClarisWorks word processing.

Figurative Language

ClarisWorks and Slide Show

Many students have a mental block when it comes to poetry. By analyzing words, phrases and levels of meaning, the students will put the poetic interpretations back together to understand the poem.

Sell It Yourself

ClarisWorks and Slide Show

After classroom instruction investigating advertising techniques, students will use ClarisWorks to create magazine ads for products or services they create.

Biography Research

ClairsWorks and Internet

Students will read a biography and one or two other sources related to the same person focusing on what this person has discovered, invented, or achieved. Included will be the actions and decisions made by the person to accomplish such importance.

Poetry Analysis

Computer and multimedia software

Prior to working on the slide show, students will have learned about literary terms and poetic devices; defined terms and devices; been provided sample poems and model analyses; practiced analyzing poems as a large group, in small groups or pairs, and individually; written their own examples. Students will then go to the school library to ?browse? through poetry books. They, as pairs or individually, will select and copy one poem with which to work during slide show preparation. They will analyze and mark their copy of the poem, planning possible ways to visually highlight the applicable literary terms and the devices used by the poet. In the computer lab, students will use ClarisWorks slide show or other software such as PowerPoint to create a presentation of their selected poems. They will use the graphics library to insert for visual imagery.

Anne Frank, Holocaust Poem

Computer with internet access

In English class, students will have viewed the documentary Anne Frank Remembered and read the play The Diary of Anne Frank. As a tribute to Anne?s memory, students will type their original poems and then visit the Anne Frank web site. At the web site, they will select one or two photos of Anne to insert into their poems

Haiku Poetry

Haiku books, posters, art supplies: water colors, paintbrushes, white construction paper. Computer lab (for one day), with ClarisWorks.

Students will learn about Japanese haiku poetry, write and illustrate their own haiku poem, and share them with the class.

?Casey at the Bat?

Computer lab, Internet access to ESPN SportsZone, spreadsheet and word processing software, copy of ?Casey at the Bat.?

After reading ?Casey at the Bat? and discussing the sports ?hero,? students use the Internet to research real baseball heroes. In groups, students compare individual baseball players? hitting and/or pitching statistics and nominate one baseball hero per group. Students then justify their conclusions by creating spreadsheets and generating graphs of the data. Finally, students individually write a short editorial which incorporates a graph and tells why their player is a hero based on overall achievement as well as statistics.

Shakespeare Analysis

Library, Classroom, Computer Lab, Scanner, ClarisWorks, Poetry book of Shakespeare Sonnets, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Internet

This lesson should capitalize on the recent interest in the Bard. When the young Shakespeare spots his Viola in the recent movie, Shakespeare in Love, he is inspired to write a sonnet. The sonnet is one of the favorite lyrical forms of poetry during the last five centuries. The students will focus on the Shakespearian sonnet as a form and analyze the sonnet in terms of structure, the particular rhyme scheme of the quatrains and the rhyming couplet, the rhythm of iambic pentameter, as well as any figurative language. The analysis will be presented as a slide show of five slides. The students will then render an oral presentation accompanied by their slide show.

Accuracy in a Multi-Paragraph Paper

Computer lab with Internet connections, selected short stories, school library

The students will research the accuracy of an author?s work in a short piece of writing and assess that accuracy in a multi-paragraph paper. This is to prepare them for a multi-page paper assessing the accuracy of an historical novel.

Poet Research

Media Center, Computer Lab

After classroom lessons on the reading and interpretation of poetry, note-taking, and correctly citing works, students will work in pairs to research the life and poetry of a selected poet. Students will use ProQuest and Poetry Links as well as traditional media center materials for their research. Students will organize their notes and will use the acquired information to create a newsletter about their poet and his/her poetry in the computer lab.

A Contemporary Civic-life Issue

Computers with a word processing program and Internet accessibility, and a library with reference materials

Students chose a contemporary civic-life issue, researched their topic to form and defend an argument, and wrote a five paragraph persuasive essay with bibliography to cite their sources. Most of the work for this project was done in class. Students researched in the library, studied and practiced essay format in English class, studied and discussed the constitution as a basis for making informed decisions in civics, and drafted, revised, and edited for final copy quality in the computer lab.

Purchasing Simulation

Computer with internet

Students will simulate the experience of being on an evaluation committee to recommend purchase of a classroom set of novels by a contemporary author. They will read biographies of current authors and lists of their novels to retrieve relevant, up-to-date electronic research on a search engine, calculate the cost to purchase one class set of a selected novel, and use word-processing skills to compose, edit, revise, and publish a memorandum.

Culminating Project for a Unit on the Novel The Giver ?

Computer Lab, Macs with Internet Access and ClarisWorks, copies of the novel The Giver

This is the culminating project for a unit on the novel The Giver. Students, in groups of four, will trace the development of one of two themes from the novel--alienation or Utopia--in a series of group slide show presentations. Each group willview the development of the theme from the point of view of Jonas, the main character.

Out of the Dust

OUT OF THE DUST novel, computer/2 students, floppy disc/2 students, Internet access T.V. and monitor for the final presentations

Students will read the novel OUT OF THE DUST in English classes. They will select a topic pertaining to the Dust Bowl with a partner; research the topic on the Internet and save to a disc; prepare a slide show using ClarisWorks Draw; and present their slide show with narrative to a selected audience.

Career Slide Show: Linda E. Krakaur and Joy L.Fleming

Computers, newspapers, magazines, cd roms pertaining to a variety of careers

Students will research careers, produce a six framed slide show depicting the information they have researched, and present this slideshow to classmates. This slideshow will be a compilation of primary and secondary sources, as well as student's concepts of how this career will shape his/her future.

Novel Reporting: Peter Carlin

Rough draft of book report, computer with internet

Book report with visuals.

Poetry Slide Show: Pamela L. Gainous

Computer with internet and multimedia software

In this lesson, students will use the Internet to find a poem that they would like to research and analyze. They will then create an informal paper on the poem and create a ClarisWorks slide presentation to explain the poem to classmates.

Getting to Know You Newspaper: Pamela E. McKnight

Newspaper articles, digital camera, Adobe Photo Shop software, computers with ClarisWorks

This is typically a fun assignment at the beginning of the school year because it facilitates an opportunity for students to get to know each other and for the teacher to get to know the students. Students write questions to get the most information, interview another student, and then write a front-page news story or a feature story about the person interviewed. News stories will be published and shared with other team students and parents.

Household Product Research: Sharon Banscher

Computer for each student; Internet access; ClarisWorks

Using the Internet, students will investigate the history, inventor, refinements, manufacturers, distribution and price ranges of ordinary household products. They will prepare a multi-paragraph research paper with bibliography, and make an oral presentation of their findings.

Introduction to a Unit on Anne Frank

Access to the school library and/or computer lab, audio- visual equipment.

This lesson is intended to be an introduction to a unit on Anne Frank. It will incorporate prior knowledge from 7th grade social studies and English as well as reinforce skills already covered in English 8. Students will choose from a teacher approved list of topics related to Anne Frank and the Holocaust. They will be required to give a three to five minute oral presentation on their topic. Students will use a variety of resources to research topics. These resources mayinclude encyclopedias, nonfiction books, CD-Rom sources and the Internet. Students will be required to provide a visual aid which they will explain in the course of their presentation. In addition to contributing suggestions for assessment criteria, they will engage in peer and self assessments.

Reading Comprehension Lesson Plans

Reading comprehension is simply defined as the level at which a person understands writing. This is largely dependent on the level of word recognition the person has. If the student does not understand the definition of the words that are being read, this has a direct effect on the level of reading comprehension. There are lesson plans that are designed to teach students how to better comprehend how they read for all types of readings. This article provides you with more information on reading comprehension for reading fiction, reading nonfiction and reading poetry as well as reading comprehension lesson plans.

Reading Fiction

When it comes to teaching reading comprehension lesson plans to students for reading fictional writing pieces, a number of elements must be discussed and understood first. The students must first understand that the story is being written for entertainment purposes to amuse, entertain and instruct the reader. When writers write a novel or a story, there are six elements that they focus on that the reader needs to understand. These six elements include characters, setting, time, problem, events and solutions.

The characters in a fictional story can be people, animals or even cartoons and is the first element that should be recognized. The second element that should be recognized is the setting, which is where the story takes place. The time when the story take place should be the third element as the story could take place many years prior or some time in the future. The problem is the fourth element and arises between the main character and another character. The event in the story is the attempt at solving the problem and the solution is how the problem was ended and solved. These lesson plans for reading will provide various activities for reading comprehension.

Reading Poetry

In order to truly understand the meaning of the words that are expressed in poetry, you have to first know the writing style of the poet. Take into consideration the title of the poem and read the poem aloud in the rhythmic patterns. Learning to understand poetry is more difficult than learning reading comprehension in fiction and nonfiction stories. Here are a couple of links to reading lesson plans for comprehending poetry.

Reading Nonfiction

Reading non-fiction is perhaps the easiest of the three types of reading comprehension lesson plans. This is simply because the story is factual. In order to comprehend the nonfiction writing, some tips can be applied that will better help you understand. If you have limited knowledge about what the writing is on, apply your background knowledge to the areas you are familiar with. Connect what you already know with what you do not know and find the relationship between the two.

Learn to stop to think as you read. This is especially important for nonfiction readers since the information that is being read is like a newscast and not like a movie in your mind. Stop and evaluate the information that you have just read and continue after you have an understanding. Also, it is helpful to always have a pen or pencil in your hand to make notes of anything you are not familiar with so you can look deeper into it at a later time. These reading lesson plans are focused on nonfiction reading and provide you with a number of practice applications.