Lesson Planning Template
Cohort 5 Literacy Initiative Participants
Name: Greg Pittman
School: View Ridge
Grade Level Expectation: Grade 4 (3-5, intermediate)
Principles of Learning to be addressed:
Comprehension is increased when there is a personal rapport between
the student and the material to be learned.
Learning experiences linked to emotion (connecting to emotion) are
more likely to be remembered.
Reading and writing skills will be strengthened more effectively if
they are taught in relation to one another.
Topic being Explored:
1. Heroes (in the context of Biography) – Defining and Celebrating
What makes a hero? How do we define heroes?
2. Reading Comprehension of nonfiction (Biography).
Professional Resources Referenced:
E. Rothstein/G. Lauber, Writing as Learning
D. Hyerle, Thinking Maps: Tools for Learning
J. Baltas/D. Nessel, Thinking Strategies for Student Achievement
A. Costa, Habits of Mind
E. Jensen, Teaching with the Brain in Mind
Comparing and Contrasting
Organizing information graphically
Mastering word recognition and word analysis skills
Comprehending informational texts skillfully and deeply
Instructional Materials Used:
Houghton-Mifflin, Grade 4, Blue Book
Unit on Heroes (p.526): using two stories from this section of the book
Gloria Estefan (p.560-576)
Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man (p.584-602)
Strategies to be Used:
Double Entry Journal
Steps to the Lesson:
*Preliminary Notes: I’ve designed this as a “mini-unit” to be completed in
about 5-7 days. I’ve structured it around my 90 minute literacy block and
can complete most of the steps involved for each day. I have used 5 days
below but realize there may be more time needed to complete. I have also
been using many of these strategies throughout the year and the students
are familiar with them.
1. Defining the literary genre with the students using the defining
format (Writing as Learning). Question – “What is a biography?”
Students will find a category and characteristics for the question
topic. We will have a working definition as we read through two
2. Exploring the theme – Heroes – using two circle maps. The students
will do this on their own in their notebooks and then we will share and
create class maps on butcher paper. The first map: “define how the
world sees a hero (hero in the middle). Second map: “how does a hero
see him/her self? (hero in the middle). *You may ask students what
kind of frame you could put around the circle.
3. Play Miami Sound Machine music on cd player. Hand out anticipation
guides on Gloria Estefan. Students agree or disagree with statements.
4. Begin to read together Gloria Estefan (p.560-565) with anticipation
guides close by. Address the statements when they come up in the
reading. When finished reading page 565 ask students to orally
clarify, question, predict, and summarize. This will prepare them for
the roles of reciprocal teaching during the next story.
1. Begin Flow map of Gloria’s life so far (up to page 565). Use a red
pencil (or any color) for when you write down something you think is
2. Have partners prepare for Read-Talk-Write. Students will continue
reading pages 567-576 on their own. When each partner is finished
reading, partner “A” will talk first, then partner “B”. They will both
write their own summaries about everything they have just read and
heard, remembering as much information as they can. They can check
in their book when they are finished for any missed information.
3. Finish Flow map and play some of Gloria’s Spanish language songs for
1. Focus on Hero – Quick Habits of mind “word splash” using student’s
suggestions for what habits of mind are used by heroes. Use the
overhead to brainstorm with students and take suggestions. Ask
students for clear explanations of how these habits of mind apply.
(i.e. persisting, striving for accuracy, etc.)
2. Possible Sentences – pick out 8-10 words from the story Lou Gehrig
and put them creatively on the board or overhead. (I try to pick out 1-
2 words that the students may not be familiar with) students create
sentences or short paragraphs to create a “story” using these words.
They then share their sentences with their partners. Volunteers then
share with the whole class.
3. Reciprocal Teaching – assign groups and review the roles of reciprocal
teaching. The students will read the first half of Lou Gehrig (p.584-
591). They will then perform their roles in their assigned groups
looking to summarize, clarify, predict and question from the story.
They will also keep a short double entry journal during this story,
recording information from the selection on one side, and writing their
thoughts and feelings about the reading on the other side. (If time,
play a short clip from “Pride of the Yankees”, showing Lou during his
1. Reciprocal Teaching – continue Lou Gehrig (p.592-602). Have the
students switch roles.
2. Students will work on multi-flow map. The first thing they will do is
write “Lou’s illness” in the center box. They will then write about what
happened before the illness and what happened after. Discuss any
distinct similarities and differences when students are finished.
3. Play the speech from “Pride of the Yankees” on the VCR. Discuss the
emotion felt as Lou gives the speech.
1. Students use a double-bubble map to compare/contrast Lou Gehrig
and Gloria Estefan.
2. Students use the double-bubble to write an essay comparing these
two heroes and explain how they both fit the definition of a hero.
Assessment will be taken from Day 5 when the students will write an essay
based on their double-bubble map. They will hand in both the thinking map
and the essay.
*Alternate assessment – Have students create a collage of heroes (pictures
from newspapers/magazines/drawings) and give a brief explanation of how
each of them fits the definition of a hero.