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Secondary English Language Arts: Revised ed:TPA Lesson Plan Template

Name: Jason Hameister

Lesson Title: Toms River Week 5 Pre-Reading Grade Level: 11th
Lesson Goals
Central Focus: Describe the central focus (of the unit) and explain how this lesson reflects the central focus.
The central focus of this unit is for students to explore the theme of environmental pollution and its effects on communities by way of
engagement with complex informational texts. This lesson reflects the central focus in that it prepares students to construct meaning
from Toms River, as well as enabling them an opportunity to explore the themes of the book and the unit (environment and
community) through a creative writing exercise.
List the title, author, and write a short description of the text(s) used in this lesson.
Title: Toms River
Author: Dan Fagin
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin, tells the story of the Ciba company, named Toms River Chemical
Corporation when it made its move to Toms River, and its method of hazardous waste material disposal. Within the text, he describes
the history of the Ciba company; a company, first called Mller-Pack, that produced dyes, paints etc. during its time. It began in
Switzerland after an accident in a lab showed scientists how to produce a new type of dye. They decided to rid the waste from the
production process into lagoons and holes around the factory, after law enforcement wanted to stop them from polluting water in
Switzerland they began dumping the waste in the Rhine river, effectively taking the waste into Germany. However, the company was
forced to move around several times during this time period because there were cases in the communities surrounding the company,
wherever it moved, of illness that was continuously found to be because of pollution in the water. So, the company would move before
full cases could be made against them. The company decided then to move to Cincinnati, Ohio where in time similar cases popped up
forcing them to move again, to Toms River, New Jersey, this time. Throughout the book Fagin also includes a history of Toms River, a
somewhat secluded little town in a bay that allowed for pirates, access to trade by the sea, and porous soil that the Toms River
Chemical Company could dump waste into. Eventually the company built a pipeline to bring the waste into the ocean, this was after
some cases of illness cropped up and then it was found that the pipeline was leaking waste. The book explains the chemistry of
making the vat dyes that were originally made in Toms River and also explains the waste removal processes that the company
conducted. However, the book also explains the cases of childhood cancer that were also found in astonishing rates in Toms River.
Most prominent was the story of Michael Gillick and his mom, Linda Gillick; Michael has cancer and although he was told he wouldnt
survive through childhood he was 21 when Fagin wrote the book, but his quality of life was severely lessened because of the
medication for and the course of the cancer. Linda Gillick is a very prominent figure in leading the charge against the hazardous waste
dumping of the company and has fought to tell her sons story and put a stop to this pollution. The book ends with the company
moving yet again.

Conceptual/Theoretical Framework (draw from research and readings in CI and English coursework):
Jim Burke asserts the importance of addressing vocabulary when anticipating potential difficulties that students may run into as they
grapple with a text, and suggests that teachers front-load vocabulary (155) as they structure their reading-based instruction. By
addressing potential vocabulary-related hurdles that students will encounter during pre-reading, they will be better equipped to
comprehend the material, and to do so without breaking pace.
This idea of teaching specific vocabulary is corroborated by James Baumann, Edward Kameemui, and Gwynne Ash, who write that
instructors should preteach critical vocabulary necessary to comprehend selections and emphasize the role of fun in this process,
suggesting that teachers play word games linked to content topics. By turning our vocabulary exercise into a competitive event, we
will simultaneously enhance student competence and interest in the material. Ultimately, generating interest in the reading is one of
the primary aims of pre-reading, and a dry, rote vocabulary activity is unlikely to generate any such interest among students.
Overall, in this introductory lesson, students will get the support they need to understand the text as they read, as well as take part in
expert-endorsed practices that will help them to garner the most out of the reading process.
Standard(s) Addressed (use examples from both the Common Core State Standards and the Illinois Professional Teaching
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with
scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
2N) facilitates learning experiences that make connections to other content areas and to life experiences
5H) understands when and how to adapt or modify instruction based on outcome data, as well as student needs, goals, and
6A) understands appropriate and varied instructional approaches used before, during, and after reading, including those that develop

word knowledge, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and strategy use in the content areas
Recall your central focus and explain how the standards (above) and learning objectives (below), that you have identified, support
students learning:
In order for students to be able to demonstrate the ability to track various themes throughout an entire novel, they must first be able to
comprehend the literature, and that process can be scaffolded by incorporating prior knowledge early in a unit. These standards and
goals are designed to aid student learning by doing just that helping students to comprehend the literature and incorporating prior
knowledge into the unit. This particular lesson is designed in response to the cooperating teachers early evaluations that students
were struggling to grasp the text without these additional supports. By gathering outcome data, we were able to adjust instruction to
incorporate more scaffolds into the reading process, and in this particular lesson, we gather additional student data such that we can
again reassess how students are handling the material and decide how to proceed in the way that allows students the most
meaningful learning experience, relative to what they need. In this way, we can ensure that students are receiving the appropriate
amount of support throughout the unit.
Materials/ Instructional Resources:

Class set of Toms River

Chalkboard / Chalk
Paper / Writing utensils

*Learning Objectives (Add additional objective boxes as


*Assessment (both formal and informal)- Evidence of Student


Objective 1: Students will gain and/or demonstrate the

content-specific vocabulary knowledge necessary for their
continued comprehension of the text.

Related Assessment: Students will participate in a Kahoot! that

focuses on potentially unfamiliar vocabulary that students will
encounter in the upcoming reading.

Explain the Assessments Alignment with the Objective:

Kahoot! quizzes are a fun way to assess student knowledge and to
ascertain where additional instruction is necessary. The platform
gives the students immediate feedback such that if they didnt know
the correct response, they are able to learn it and apply it to their
reading. Turnign vocabulary instruction into a fun game can help to

make the information more memorable for students.

Describe the form of Student feedback that accompanies

the assessment:
The student feedback that we receive will be in the form of graphs
that display student responses to the given questions.
Objective 2: Students will begin the process of formulating
meaningful text-to-self and/or text-to-world connections by way
of a creative writing exercise.

Related Assessment:
Students will be asked to extend the Native American saying When
the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river
poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money into
a poem of at least four stanzas that reflect the structure and the
message of the original saying.

Explain the Assessments Alignment with the Objective:

By reading, ruminating upon, and responding to this quotation,
students will be forced to utilize their background knowledge related
to Toms Rivers central theme of pollution and its effects on
communities. This will prime students to continue to make these
outside connections to the text as they continue throughout the unit.

Describe the form of Student feedback that accompanies

the assessment:
The student feedback that we will receive for this assessment will be
in the form of written poems.

Lesson Considerations
The vocabulary Kahoot! activity will serve as the pre-assessment in this lesson. It will enable us to measure what students already
know and what they might need more help with in terms of understanding the vocabulary employed in this section of the text,
which is heavy on scientific and legal terms with which students may not necessarily be familiar, and that may cause them trouble
as they read if not addressed.
Prior Academic Learning and Prerequisite Skills: (Cite evidence that describes what students know, what they can

do, and what they are still learning to do.)

From students engagement with previous readings, we learned that students can read for comprehension and make connections
to particular themes when prompted to do so. They are also largely well-versed in the traditional academic theme essay, as they
have had significant prior exposure to the traditional structure throughout their time as English students. However, many students
enrolled in this class have shown difficulty relating texts to real-world events in their essays, and would prefer to stay within the text
while writing. Many students also require additional in-class supports to effectively independently read grade-level materials.

Personal, cultural, and community assets related to the central focusExplain what you know about your students
everyday experiences, cultural and language backgrounds and practices, and interests.
There are 2,383 students currently enrolled in school and 593 of those students are currently in eleventh grade. 1,073 students are
female and 1,310 are male. Seventy-five percent of students are White, five percent are Black, fifteen percent are Hispanic, three
percent are Asian, and two percent are two or more races. Sixty-five percent of students identify with Christianity, twenty percent
identify with Judaism, and fifteen percent identify with Islam. Thirty-eight percent of students are from low income. Six percent of
students are learning English as a second language. Fourteen percent of students have Special Needs. In our eleventh grade
classroom, there are twenty students. Of these twenty students, nine are White, three are Black, five are Hispanic, and three are
Asian. English and Spanish are spoken in the classroom. One student in the class has a mild visual impairment that requires the
student to be placed towards the front of the classroom as well as receive materials with enlarged print.
Some potential misconceptions about my students may be that:
Students who speak primarily Spanish cannot meaningfully contribute to a mainstream-level English Class
They cannot be motivated to learn.
This text is beyond their academic capacity.
While language, motivation, and readiness are absolutely vital to take into account with regard to the delivery of this lesson and
this unit, there are accommodations that can be made and structural aspects to this particular lesson that can enable students to
be successful in this classroom during this learning segment and beyond.

Language Objectives and Demands

Identify a Language Function:

Language Function. Using information about your students language assets and needs, identify one language function essential
for students within your central focus. Listed below are some sample language functions. You may choose one of these or another
more appropriate language function for this lesson.








The language function most clearly related to this particular lesson is interpretation. Particularly by way of the poetry exercise,
students are being asked to formulate an understanding of the given proverb, and compile that with their interpretations of what
theyve read thus far and their interpretations of related real world issues and formulate a response. In so doing, students are
demonstrating an ability to interpret information and knowledge from a variety of sources and incorporate it into a meaningful written
product. In that way, the task could also be perceived as a synthesis, and certainly it gives students some pretense to work toward
lengthier and more information-centered synthesis work later in the unit.
Free-verse poetry
Text-to-world connection

Learning and Linguistic Accommodations: Describe the instructional accommodations that you must make, as the classroom
teacher, in order to address the learning needs of students with special needs and students who are not English proficient or
students who use varieties of English.
Accommodations for students with Special Needs:
We will allow for our student with a visual disability to compose his poetry assessment on a Chromebook to enable for him to adjust
text size and brightness such that he is able to fully participate in the activity. This student will also be seated at the front of the room
in order to see written instructions and we will write largely and neatly on the chalkboard and explain what were writing as we write it.

Accommodations for students who are not proficient users of Standard English:
We will clarify instructions as necessary, particularly for our English Language Learners such that they understand the tasks theyre
being asked to complete. The vocabulary activity may also help these students in particular, as it should increase their reading
fluency (along with being helpful for learners whose primary language is English. The days tasks do not require grammatical
correctness, in fact, the poetry assignment is fairly creative, allowing for students to utilize their language backgrounds and
competencies as they see fit in order to address the task. They will not be graded on grammar usage or spelling.
Explain your instructional decision-making and the way you plan to support student learning when using whole class, small groups,
and individualized assignments. In addition, explain accommodations for students who have special needs and students
who are not proficient users of Standard English as part of whole class and small group arrangements
Much of this lesson is built around whole-class instruction, but the primary learning task is largely individual, as we want students
poems to reflect their own personal understandings. This will also ensure that each student is engaging with the task, including our
students with language and learning needs, who may occasionally feel unequipped to contribute to a group effort in an English
classroom. We will be sure to pay particular attention to our English Language Learners as they work independently such that they
understand the task at hand and feel empowered to complete it.

*Lesson Plan Details

5 min.

Lesson Introduction
We will begin the class by tying together any potential loose ends from the prior day of discussion and activities related to
chapter 18 in the text, such that students are prepared to move on with their reading.

40 min.

Learning Activities From there, we will move into content that prepares students for chapters 19-21. We will begin by having the students
participate in a Kahoot! quiz that focuses on vocabulary that they will encounter in their reading. This text, and this section
of the text in particular, contains a fair amount of scientific and legal jargon that may be difficult for students to comprehend
without direct vocabulary instruction. The Kahoot! will allow us to diagnose the words that students are struggling to
comprehend and to explain these in more detail, which we will do after each question, as necessary. By introducing this

vocabulary ahead of the reading assignment, students will be able to read with more fluency and understanding.
After that, we will introduce the students to a Native American proverb and briefly discuss the significance of the proverb
and its literal meaning as a class. Students will then be asked to compose a poem that utilizes the proverb as its first
stanza. In this way, students will have the structural support to compose a poem that responds to their interpretation of the
proverb in a way that is personally relevant students and responds to the primary text.
Describe how your planned formal and informal assessments, including a written product, will provide direct evidence of
students abilities to construct meaning from, interpret, OR respond to a complex text throughout the learning segment.
The vocabulary assessment will provide evidence of student abilities to construct meaning from text, as it will show that
they understand the requisite vocabulary. Students will also have the opportunity to include their interpretations of the
greater meaning of Toms River by way of the poetry exercise.
At the conclusion of the learning activities, students will have the opportunity to share their poems with the class. Ideally
students would volunteer to do this, but if not, we
could collect them and read them anonymously. We will then assign the reading homework to be completed by the
following class day.

If time allows, we can allow for more students to share their poetry. Alternatively, we can begin the assigned reading as a
class, highlighting the themes that students should continue to follow the development of throughout the course of their
individual reading.

Resources and References (use APA or MLA listing the information from the conceptual framework
above as well as from any other categories where cited a source):
Baumann, James F., Edward J. Kameenui, and Gwynne Ellen Ash. "Research on vocabulary instruction: Voltaire redux."
Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts 2, 2003, pp. 752-785.

Burke, Jim. The English Teachers Companion: A complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the
Profession. 4th ed., Heinemann, 2012