Unit Overview

Content Area: Language Arts
Unit Title: Use Your Brain
Target Course/Grade Level: Grade 9-12, English Resource Room              
Name: Eileen Clark
School: Lindenwold
Date: August 19, 2010

Unit Summary
This unit will introduce students to the use of dictionaries, thesaurus’, newspapers, Spark Notes, articles, and other resources to give them hands-on tools and experience to be successful in completing work as assigned throughout the school day.

Primary interdisciplinary connections
Science, History, Math, Foreign Language

21st century themes
Global Awareness

Unit Rationale
This unit is being taught to help students gain research self-help skills that can be applied in all areas of study and life.


Learning Targets

Standards Key Ideas and Details

Content Statements
Use resources available to assist in gaining knowledge in specific areas.
W- 8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively.
SL-2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
SL-5 Make strategic use of digital media in presentations to enhance understanding of findings and reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
L-5 Demonstrate understandings of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
RI-4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyzing the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.

Unit Essential Questions



Unit Enduring Understandings


Unit Learning Targets
Students will...

Evidence of Learning

Summative Assessment (X days)
Written test having the students use their words correctly in story form at the end of unit.


Equipment Needed
Laptops, Assignments, paper, pencils, worksheets

Teacher Resources
Online resources (www.dictionary.com, www.thesaurus.com, onlinenewspapers.com, etc…)

Formative Assessments



Lesson Plans
Lesson 1
Using The Laptops
1 class period/1 day

Lesson 2
Rules to Accessing the Internet
1 class period/1 day

Lesson 3
Dictionaries and Thesaurus’
2 class periods/ 2 days

Lesson 4
Newspapers Online
2 class periods / 2 days

Lesson 5
2 class periods / 2 days
Lesson 6
2 class periods / 2 days

Lesson 7
2 class periods / 2 days

Lesson 8
Maps and Atlases
2 class periods / 2 days


Teacher Notes
Grammar connections are made in lesson 3 as students identify parts of speech and synonyms for specific words given.

Curriculum Development Resources
To access additional resources used to design this unit: See UDL Teacher Toolbox Resources – (last page)


Lesson Plan 1
Content Area: Language Arts
Grade: 9-12
Lesson Title: Words and their meanings
Timeframe: 2 days

Lesson Components

21st Century Themes
X Global Awareness: Available world-wide resources
Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy.
Health Literacy 
Civic Literacy

21st Century Skills
Creativity and Innovation
Media Literacy
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
ICT Literacy
x Communication and Collaboration: Working in groups/pairs
x Information Literacy: Research and reference skills
x Life and Career Skills: Self help skills
Interdisciplinary Connections: Science- Research, Social Studies – Maps, Research, English-   research,                study skills, Foreign Language- Research, dictionary
Integration of Technology: Internet, Smart Board, and Elmo (document camera) will be used to locate                 information, use information, and share information.
Equipment & materials needed: Laptops, Smart Board, Elmo (document camera), highlighters,             worksheets


Students will:

  • State the difference between the thesaurus and the dictionary.
  • Use the dictionary definitions for given words with correct part of speech in complete sentence in 8 out of ten sentences.
  • Use the thesaurus and dictionary to find and write the meanings of words given and their synonyms and share orally with 8 out of 10 words correct.


Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies

share their conclusions with the rest of the class.
B. Students will find the dictionary and thesaurus online, and prepare to use them.
http://www.dictionary.com and http://www.thesaurus.com
C. Students will participate in class assignment successfully.                                 

          A. Using Elmo (document camera), have students share their definitions with the class.
B. Discuss the various word findings of synonyms and why there are different synonyms.
4.    Elaboration:
A. Ask students why they might want to use these sources for class assignments 
B. Discuss the importance of knowing parts of speech, and how that knowledge can help in      
determining proper meanings.
5.    Evaluation:

Formative Assessment Tasks

  • Each student will share at least one word, its meaning, and its synonym on the document camera, with the class.
  • Completion of worksheet through participation in group work, sharing, and writing what they discover.
  • Teacher Observation





Universal Design for Learning Options

Multiple Means of Representation
  1. Perception- Readability: helps to put whatever the students are reading in font and format that best fits them, rather than have the student struggle with reading that they cannot focus on. (Use of website http//lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability)
  2. Language & symbols-Access www.visuwords.com; an online graphic dictionary and thesaurus
  3. Comprehension- Access www.exploratree.org.uk; readymade graphic organizers to help build organizational skills; prepares student for more complex work

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  1. Physical activity- For those who have a hard time with the keyboard, they can access www.lakefolks.org/cnt/ and they will be able to use a keyboard that better suits them while using the computer.
  2. Expressive skills and fluency- www.kerpoof.com/teach, allows set up for expressive writing and creative communication
  3. Executive functions- www.exploringlanguage.com; Learning about setting goals when writing

Multiple Means of Engagement

  1. Recruiting interest- www.wordgeneration.org; exposure to language needed for success
  2. Sustaining effort and persistence- www.learnalberta.ca; Students teaching students; Using Student Essays to build coping skills and self esteem.
  3. Self-regulation- ePals; sharing with others to expose students to people outside of Lindenwold