An Update Long Delayed

Fate has been generous to me… While I ultimately had to leave Beacon, it was only because I accepted a full-time teaching job and the hours were a bit of a conflict.

I will publish my remaining Beacon lesson plans, and also begin introducing my unit plans for my 8th, 10th, and 11th Grade classes.

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Beacon Lesson Plan 10/31/13

Adolescent Literacy Lesson Plan



Title: Why Do Vampires Sparkle in the Sunlight?

Aim/Objective: Continue pronunciation lesson by offering relevant, seasonal reference images and vocabulary.  (And maybe find the Headless Horseman’s head…)

Required Materials: Candy (courtesy of Mr. Richard), flip chart, Halloween/Fall pictures (from the student-offered vocabulary).

Do Now:  Since it has been 4 very dry sessions, there is no Do Now.

Direct Instruction:

1) Recap the vocabulary assigned the previous day.

2)  Continue any culture sharing students may have.

Guided and Independent Practice:

1) If any student is wearing a costume, they will be asked to explain their costume to the class: “I am a …..” and why they chose it.

2)  Post the Halloween images on the flip chart.  Have students come up and write the name that corresponds with the picture in English, then in their native language.

Assessment and Reflection:

1) Candy will be given to each student who answers correctly first.  Ideally, the candy is an incentive to volunteer, but everyone will have gotten something by the end of class.  Rate of distribution and supply depletion will be monitored to gauge student achievement.


The important thing about being a teacher is flexibility.  The Raven was going to be distributed for a read-aloud, but the idea was discarded, as it was too involved for the students.  Instead, the previous lesson’s worksheet was reviewed.  Some students had wrong answers, which made the review an ideal assessment.

The candy was a fun idea.  After a decent amount of students became competitively active to get more, the candy was distributed to the ones who hadn’t participated.  Interestingly enough, this made them more vocal and willing to participate.

Half of the class was dedicated to a makeshift party.  One of my assistants brought in cookies, the other some beverages, and there was a drawing activity of creating monsters to serve as their Halloween decorations.

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Beacon Lesson Plan 10/30/13

Adolescent Literacy Lesson Plan


Title: We Go Together

Aim/Objective: Build upon the previous lesson by introducing the sounds made by compound letters.

Required Materials:  Flip chart, markers, construction paper

Do Now:  Students will return to the previous day’s grouping arrangement and repeat the final sound exercise from the previous day, adding the consonant sounds before their vowel (i.e., Group A: “ba,” “da,” “fa”).

Direct Instruction:

1)  Call on students to share their vowel-consonant mergers.  This will bring the previous lesson and homework to the class discussion.

2)  Begin introducing “seasonal” vocabulary words, as they appear on their worksheet.

3) Ideally, any remaining assessments will be completed by this lesson.

Guided and Independent Practice:

1)  Given how dry the previous days’ lessons have been, the tone of this class is more playful.  To prepare for the Thursday/Halloween session, students will be asked if their families celebrate the holiday and how.

2) Halloween vocabulary worksheet.

Assessment and Reflection:

1) The worksheet is designed to be instruction, review, and assessment.


While a vocabulary list was created, it was discarded by the instructional team in favor of the vocabulary from this page on  The quiz was replicated as a fill-in-the-blank exercise.

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Beacon Lesson Plan 10/29/13

Adolescent Literacy Lesson Plan


Title: We Do A Lot With 26 Letters!

Aim/Objective:  Students will complete the Speaking section of the Assessment while reviewing the English alphabet, the American names of the letters, and the pronunciations of vowels and consonants.

Required Materials: Markers, Flip Chart

Do Now:  As the Assessment has not been concluded, no Do Now will be given.

Direct Instruction:  

1) Fist-To-Five: “Who here can name the letters of the English alphabet?  Fist meaning you cannot, five fingers means you can teach the class.”  Have the strongest participants to get up and write the letters on the flip chart.

2)  Review the 10 sounds vowels make in the English language.

3) Review the sounds of the letters B, D, F, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W, and Z.  These consonants have only one sound associated with them!

4)  Review the sounds of the letters C, G, Q, X, and Y.  Why are they different from the others?  Because they have different sounds!


Guided and Independent Practice:

1) Have the newcomers catch up to the rest of the class by creating their name card and introducing themselves to the class.

2) Have the students count themselves from 1 to 4, break up each group and have them review a different vowel sound per group.  Make them yell out the soft sound, then hard sound for their vowel.

3) Time permitting, assign the groups to C, G, Q, X, and Y to do the same exercise.

Assessment and Reflection:  Fist-To-Five self-assessment will be performed at the lesson’s start, and at its conclusion to gauge confidence in skills.  Students will be given homework, which will be to practice saying the basic sounds.


1)  Fist-to-Five is an assessment technique where the students are asked to raise their hands in response to to how well they know a subject.  Fist means they know nothing, one finger means they know very little, and so on, with five fingers meaning they can get up and teach the class themselves.  It’s a fun activity which gives the kids a little push to think and exert some energy, and even allows for some peer instruction/learning to take place.

2)  Since these students are ELLs, this lesson ended up changing to sounds and letter combinations, with direct reference links to the students’ native languages.  The students seemed a bit more engaged as a result, sharing their own sounds, and understanding why some of their native language is often mispronounced by others.

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Beacon Lesson Plan- 10/22/13 (First Session)

Adolescent Literacy Lesson Plan



Title:  “Getting to Know You!”

Aim/Objective:  To introduce Instructors and Participants to one another and initiate the program. Introduce curriculum briefly. State goals and objectives. Inform students about diagnostic test taking place on the 22nd and 23rd.

Required Materials:  Construction paper, pens, markers

Do Now: No Do Now will be planned for the first session

Direct Instruction:  

A)  The instructional team will demonstrate for the students the “getting to know you” introduction.  The instruction team will model the conversation for the students and provide instructions for making their name cards by making their own sample name cards via the Tell/Show/Do Method:  Tell the students what to put on their card, show them the instructor cards (pass them around the room), have the students do the activity themselves.  The cards will contain the same information as provided during the “Getting to Know You” introduction.

B)  Explain the class and its purpose; positively spin the coming Assessment and get volunteers for the Oral part of the Assessment on Wednesday (30-50% of the group will be needed).

C) Establish Rules 1 and 2:

    1)  Treat each other with respect

    2)  Whenever a word or phrase is encountered, students will raise their hand and call out, “What is that?”

Guided and Independent Practice:

A)  Instruction team will model the “Getting to know You” introduction:

1)  “Hi!, My name is…”

2)  “I am from…”

3)  “I am … year old.”

4)  “My favorite singer is…” and/or “My favorite hobby is…”


B)  Magic Box:  A box will be provided for questions to be submitted without having to ask them publicly; it will be available from 2:55 pm to 4:45 pm each day there is a session.  The questions will be reviewed and answered at the next session.

Assessment and Reflection: No assessment and reflection will be required for this first lesson. Students will be encouraged to bring their name cards for the first two weeks and the instruction team will open the floor to any questions towards the end of the class session if time permits.


There were two more sections, but due to time constraints and limitations on language proficiency, they were considered irrelevant and omitted.

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Beacon Lesson Plan

Long story short, I obtained a part time job at a program called Beacon.  My job is to teach a supplemental English class after school for ELL students.  I have two amazing assistants, and 25 great students from across the world, bringing five drastically different languages to my classroom.  I will be posting the lessons.

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Journal Review: Content-Specific (English)

West’s article, “Weblogs and literary responses: Socially situated identities and hybrid social languages in English class blogs,” is a detailed account of the juxtaposition of academic literary study and online posting.  She draws three students from her class and utilizes examples of how each one creates a unique, specific identity for themselves through their analysis of the text.  Each identity is then broken down and compared to one another, offering similarities and differences based on the sample entries given.  She concludes with an assessment that the fusion of something informal (the blog) and something structured (high school literature) can help improve the interaction of the students with regards to the text.

In my own experience, keeping some sort of journal where feelings about the reading assignment can be kept for use in class is not a new concept.  The transition from small notebook on the side to internet blog seems a logical evolution of a good idea and making it more appropriate for a technology-based generation.  What does stand out in West’s article, however, is that she is clearly not afraid of what her students might say.  She shows this while discussing Evan and his use of “wtf” (592) in his blog regarding one of the books read for class.  She argues “the use of this acronym in a school assignment can be read as dangerous; however, he chose not to spell out the actual word, which tempers this potentially inflammatory action” (592) in defense of her student’s use of vernacular when addressing a character in the text.  This is significant, as she utilizes the student’s opinion and use of language to show that the assignment was done, understood, and an identity formed in the blog.  West, however, fails to provide any evidence regarding the negative impact of such informal language on a high school level writing ability.  The project offers a more comfortable forum of interpretation, but also seems to sacrifice the learning experience of formal writing.

West’s employment of blogging for a literature class is also significant, as she is establishing a technological pedagogical content knowledge with her students (Niess, et al., 2008).  This is a considerable feat, as it moves critical thinking and text-heavy subject matter to a newer sphere of learning.  With the completed blogs and established identities, a teacher can easily assess the needs and understanding of each student, and steer the lessons accordingly.


West, Kathleen C. (2208, April).  Weblogs and literary responses: socially situated identities and hybrid social languages in english class blogsJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 51(7) 588-598.

Niess, Margaret L., Lee, John K., and Kadjer, Sara B. (2008).  Guiding learning with technology.  Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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