Lessons & Activities

Humanities Curriculum & Technology

Thinking about Lesson Plans

The most effective technology integration lessons put students at the center of the learning process. These lessons empower students by fostering creativity and innovation and they enhance collaboration and communication. Look for lesson plans that help build 21st century skills such as inventive thinking, communication and collaboration, and information literacy.

There are great lesson plan resources available online that help build 21st century skills. It is often helpful to review the lessons created and use them as a building block to develop personalized lessons for your classroom and students.

A Vision of K-12 Students Today, by Professor Michael Wesch

  • Instead of focusing on “canned” lesson plans, concentrate on finding “lesson ideas” that can be adopted and integrated into your lesson objectives.
  • Look for lesson plans and activities that enhance and supplement what you are trying to accomplish, not supplant it. Keep in mind that the number of sites devoted to lesson plans is growing rapidly and you will need to do some critical evaluation before introducing any of these lesson plans into your classroom. Not all lesson plans you find will automatically be valuable, authentic learning experiences.
  • It is often helpful to use sets of documents or themed materials that you can customize and build into lessons plans that will address the skills and needs of your students.

English Teacher Websites, Blogs, Wikis, and more

These websites are a gateway to a vast number of English and Language Arts teaching resources, including lesson plans, curriculum units, presentations, quizzes, and more. Many of these sites include technology-integration classroom activities, though not exclusively so.

As you browse their contents focus on “lesson ideas” that can be adopted and integrated into your lesson objectives. Look for lesson plans and activities that enhance and supplement what you are trying to accomplish, not supplant it. You will need to do some critical evaluation before introducing any of these lesson plans into your classroom.

 

Web English Teacher
Carla Beard has taught English for over 30 years at Connersville High School in Indiana, and her incredible web site is a must-see. Carla presents quality web sites in a wide range of categories for K-12 English and Language Arts classrooms. She includes grammar sites, sites on authors, poetry, Shakespeare, writing, and much more. Make sure to sign up for her free newsletter! (Note: Carla and Tom Daccord co-teach the “Teaching English and Language Arts with Technology” Summer Workshop.)

Will Richardson’s Blog
Will Richardson is a former High School journalism teacher and one of the leading thinkers and presenters of Web 2.0 technologies in education. His blog contains a bevy of resources and ideas. You can also visit his original blog, Weblogg-ed for earlier entries.

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… For Teaching ELL, ESL, and EFL
Larry Ferlazzo teaches Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced English Language Learners (as well as native English speakers) in Sacramento, California and provides “best of” tools and resources.

EdTechTeacher Blog
Thoughts, tips, and tools for integrating technology into the curriculum from Tom Daccord, Justin Reich, Greg Kuloweic, and Beth Holland of EdTechTeacher.

Ted Nellen’s Cyber English Homepage
Ted Nellen teaches English at Murry Bergtraum High School in New York City. His website is rich in information about teaching English with technology.

Bud the Teacher
Blog by Bud Hunt, an instructional technologist in northern Colorado and a former high school language arts and journalism teacher.

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching
Blog by Troy Hicks, an assistant professor of English at Central Michigan University and a Co-Director for the Red Cedar Writing Project. He explores issues related to teaching writing with new media for K-12 teachers and teacher educators.

A Teacher Writes
Geoff Sheehy teaches high school English in South Dakota and blogs about life, literature, and learning.

Metanoia
This blog is written by Ryan Bretag, a former secondary English educator and current Instructional Technology Coordinator at Hinckley-Big Rock High School.

The Polliwog Journal
Dawn Hogue blogs about integrating technology into the English classroom.

English for Pre-intermediate Students
Laura Martin’s blog helps facilitate Internet resources for autonomous learning.

English for Upper-Intermediate Students
Also from Laura Martin, syllabus and links for students.

The English Source
Patricia Babbitt-Edmondson provides a wealth of resources for teaching English.

English Companion
Teacher Jim Burke gives tools, exemplars, and a discussion area designed to provide access to useful information (e.g., lesson plans)

EricMacKnight.com
Eric MacKnight has been teaching English in public, independent, and international schools since 1980, and offers up a variety of resources.

Survey of Literature wiki
Created by Chicago Public Schools English teacher and Technology Coordinator, Gary Latman, this wiki offers a view into 9th grade English at Harper School.

A Village Named Harper
Parts of this site were originally created by Gary Latman for a Summer 2006 Test Prep. class at Harper High School. It was updated in September 2007 for ACT Test Prep – English.

Mr. Lettiere’s English on the Web
This blog features interactive resources for literature and rhetoric classes (grades 9,10, & 12).

Huff English
Dana Huff offers issues, ideas, and discussion in English education and technology

If Bees are Few
A blog written by an English teacher, blogger, writer, editor, and consultant in education from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

English 12 Honors Blog
Charles Young’s blog contains links for literature, film analysis, assignments, lessons, and research assignments.

March Movie Madness
Grade eight students at Ross Road School wrote and filmed movies based on the elements of a short story.

Just Read
High School English teacher Lisa Huff blogs about literature, classroom blogging, and Web activities with her students.

My Continuing Education
This blog presents thoughts from a teacher of British and American literature in a private 1:1 laptop school

Ms E’s Notes
Though under construction as of 8/16/2011, this site previously featured class notes, handouts, and assignments on the books she teaches. She has also created WebQuests on Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer

Throughlines
Blog reflections on Teaching, Reading, and Writing posted by Bruce Schauble, Director of Instruction at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Tempered Radical
Blog created by Bill Ferriter. He teaches 6th grade language arts in Wake County, NC, and was named Teacher of the Year for 2005-2006.

Reflect to Redirect
High school English Teacher, Jennifer Barnett, blogs about today’s digital learning environment.

Mrs. Goturk’s English Page
A teacher who truly utilizes the Internet and web publishing to enhance the study of high school English. She provides many handouts as well as projects for her expository writing and journalism classes.

View from Room 308
An English teacher blogs about teaching and the teaching life “from the trenches.”

English Corner
Julia Austeen is a 6th-grade Language Arts students in Georgia. Her students interact through her blog.

Mooney’s Madness
An engaging teacher course page with interactive projects such as the A Separate Peace WebQuest and A Raisin in the Sun WebQuest.

Doth Grin: The Next Generation
English teacher and former journalist, Cary Tyler blogs about teaching and technology.

Mr. Bass
Bill Blass is a former high school English teacher in St. Louis, Missouri and now a Technology Integration Specialist.

The Strength of Weak Ties
David Jakes is an Instructional Technology Coordinator who blogs about digital storytelling, visual literacy, and many other edtech topics.

Write On! Mr. Monson’s Grade 5 Classroom Blog
Jay Monson teaches grades 4, 5, 3-5 Title I Reading and Math, and K-6 Technology Integration.

Word Daze: The Word Lover’s Almanac
A “humble” high school English teacher’s blog celebrating the English language.

Miss Engram’s English Classroom
This page is for use with her grade ten, eleven and twelve English classes and is intended to help other teachers of English.

Pedagogy in Practice
Thoughts about teaching, the English language, and pedagogy in the classroom from an English teacher and Peace Corps volunteer.

Tom Kim
A blog written by a middle school English teacher from a Quaker private school in Pennsylvania.

Innovative English & Language Arts Technology Projects

Tom Daccord and Justin Reich are co-directors of EdTechTeacher, Inc., and taught together at the Noble & Greenough School in Massachusetts. Tom taught history for over fifteen years and for seven of those years taught in a laptop classroom. Justin is now pursuing a doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The lessons and projects below have been drawn from their teaching experiences.

The Student News Action Network

This student-produced current events journal features contributions from around the world and is led by five student-bureaus: The American School of Doha, Bishops Diocesan College, International School Bangkok, International School of Luxembourg, and Washington International School. The students have cleverly adopted the free Ning platform and far-flung students work collaboratively to create an interactive, multimedia-rich, and student-driven online newspaper.

Henry IV Wiki

A high school wiki that features creative student-produced content, including a “Henry IV rap,” a Henry IV poem, a radio show, movies, charts, a slideshow, and more. Students provide a much information about the Shakespearean world and do so in an engaging way that addresses varied learning styles.

iSearch Literature Project

Peter Raymond, an English teacher at the Noble and Greenough School, says that the I-Search project he undertakes with high school juniors “encourages a deep personal exploration” with literature within a public context. Student posts “become increasingly sophisticated, personal, and refined” as students develop a comfort with the blogging process and better understand the work in question.

Students choose a piece of literature that they wish to investigate in depth, read scholarly critiques about the work, and then respond to what they read. Few structured guidelines are provided, and students are encouraged to follow whatever theme or topic interests them and discuss their interactions with the literature. The I-Search blog serves as a personal diary of sorts as students record their reflections on the literature they are studying. During the process, students respond to comments made by their teacher, and possibly peers, and use these as the basis for developing a more sophisticated exploration of literature.

Ms. Yollis Classroom Blog

Mrs. Yollis is a third grade teacher who incorporates images, interactive multimedia, and student-produced content to create a lively, informative, and engaging classroom blog.

Great Debate of 2008

Tom created a wiki and a private online social network for the “Great Debate of 2008” project, an exploration and discussion of issues and candidates surrounding the 2008 presidential election. The project represented a wonderful opportunity for students to connect with other students around the country in a private online social network to share information and ideas related to the 2008 presidential election. It also helped to develop research, critical-thinking, and communication skills. Moreover, the project required little technical expertise and only a few class periods to participate.

Participating teachers provided Tom with a list of students and email addresses and he subsequently invited them to edit the wiki and join the online social network. Since minors were involved, access to the project was restricted.

Students posted information on the wiki about select campaign issues and partook in online discussions and surveys with other students in the private online social network.

Students had to abide by the Student “Code of Conduct” on the wiki and teachers had the Teacher Handout.

A Day in the Like of a Hobo”

This interdisciplinary creative writing/historical simulation activity called on students to research the plight of homeless teenagers during the Great Depression and then create their own fictionalized account of a day in the life of a Hobo. Students posted their stories on their blogs and read each other’s work. Students commented by stating what they liked about the stories that they read — and what made it seem authentic. The blogs provided a public forum for presenting and sharing student work. Students were then interviewed in character and recorded as part of a “1930s Radio Show” podcast.

Excerpts from a past student story:

When you’ve gotta worry ’bout starvin’ and freezin’ to death you forget to keep track of what day it is, but I’d estimate today’s the 15th of December, year 1932. It took me near three weeks to get here. “Here” is Lancaster, California. I left home in Abilene, Kansas when Dadi told me he’d got word from Aunt Sarah in California. “Aunt Sarah’s got a place for you to stay with her and she’s found you a good job in a shop downtown Lancaster,” he said. “You go put your things in the bag that I’ve left you upstairs and I’ll take you to the train in the morning...

I made quick friends with a hobo ’bout my age named Jim. He warned me ’bout the bulls and told me where the camps that made the best mulligan stew were on the way from Kansas to California. I spent ‘near three weeks ridin’ the rails, walkin’ on route 66 to get from station to station and stoppin’ at hobo camps in between. Pretty much ‘came a ‘bo myself...

Background Reading for Students:

1920s Multimedia Magazine Project

Tom’s students created a multimedia magazine that covered aspects of culture, politics, arts, music, and lifestyles from the 1920s.

Student Instructions: “Your job as a class is to create a magazine covering aspects of culture, politics, arts, music, lifestyles and the like from the 1920’s. In small groups you will create a magazine whose content is reflective of the time period. Your magazine will be published and you will each receive a copy.

Topics & Groups

  • Prohibition & Smuggling
  • “New Woman” and Flappers
  • Scopes Trial & Fundamentalism
  • Jazz & Harlem Renaissance
  • Sports & Movie Stars
  • Big Business & Politics