English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Colonialism
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Missionaries
  • Nigeria
  • Things Fall Apart
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Learning Through Digital Courses

    Learning Through Digital Courses


    In this lesson, students will begin to learn how to use their digital course. How can this technology help them as a learner this year? How can they take advantage of the possibilities it offers?


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Make arrangements to display the Guiding Questions in the classroom.
    • Explore the features of this digital course so that you are ready to help your students with any difficulties they have.

    This Digital Course

    • Your students will have a wide range of experience with the technology you will be using this year: some will be very comfortable, while for others the digital course will present more of a challenge. Encourage the class to think about the questions at hand.
    • Encourage students to write down whatever thoughts they have in response to these questions. You may want to allow them a minute before writing to talk to the person sitting next to them.
      • ELL: When calling on students, be sure to call on ELLs and to encourage them to participate as actively as their native counterparts, even if their pace might be slower, or they might be more reluctant to volunteer due to their weaker command of the language.
    • Call on a few students to share their responses in a Whole Group Share. Try to hear from as many students as possible, and be sure to record some challenges as well as benefits.
    • You may want to track student responses to the second and third questions on a T-chart at the front of the room.


    Start with a discussion of the benefits and challenges of this technology. Consider these three questions and share your responses with your classmates.

    • How is this similar to or different from what you’ve done before in school?
    • What are the benefits of using this kind of technology in the classroom?
    • Are there any challenges that come to mind?

    Digital Course Exploration

    You may have worked with online courses before. This course has several features that may be new to you. Right now, you will have some time to explore the tools that you'll be using throughout the year.

    • Your goal is to familiarize yourself with the navigation and organization of the coursel.

    Discuss your findings with your classmates.

    • As the students work, circulate and offer guidance if necessary.
    • Encourage students not to spend too long on any task in particular; rather, they should try to complete as many as they can.
      • SWD: Monitor that all SWDs are able to move on and complete as many tasks as possible. Pay attention to how they engage so as to be sure they are able to spend a short period of time on each task and then move on rather than doing a full exploration.
    • If you see that many students are stuck on a particular task, you may wish to demonstrate something to the class as a whole.
    • Go over some of the features of the tablet that you think will be interesting to your students before you let them work on their own. You can and should be really brief here, since you want the students to have time to learn by doing in order to engender a feeling of ownership and responsibility for the tablet's features and potential.

    Work Time

    You may have worked with digital courses before. Right now, you will have some time to explore the course, its navigation, and how it's organized.

    • Your goal is to familiarize yourself with the course’s features and potential.

    Discuss your findings with your classmates.

    Learning Survey

    • The results of this survey can be used to help you understand individual students, of course, but you can also use the results to think about your class as a whole. What trends do you notice?
    • Reflect with your class on the results of the survey.
      • ELL: Be sure that students are able to complete the survey appropriately and that they understand each one of the questions. (The language in surveys can sometimes be difficult for some ELLs.) If some students need support, decide whether they can be paired up with other students or if it would be better to create a small group and get support directly from you.

    Work Time

    As your year begins, it’s important to let your teacher know more about you as a student and a learner. Take some time to independently complete the Learning Survey. When you finish, answer the following question for your teacher.

    • What can you tell your teacher about yourself as a learner that will help him or her teach you better this year?

    Open Notebook

    Then reflect with your class on the Learning Survey:

    • What lessons can you, your teacher, and your classmates take about how best to move forward through the year?

    This Year

    • This Quick Write will help you get a sense of where each of your students is in their readiness for school year.


    You are beginning twelfth grade, your final year before moving on to the next stage of your life. Whatever your plans are for after graduation, your life will look very different 12 months from now. It’s important for you to not only think about what you want to accomplish in these months, but to take the time to share some of these thoughts with your teacher, who is in a unique position to help you work to achieve your goals.

    Take a few minutes to reflect on what you’ve seen and done today, and to think about the upcoming year. Write a short note to your teacher, outlining some of your academic goals for the year and identifying ways he or she can support you.

    • This year, I want to __.
    • Something that might get in my way is __.
    • I hope you can help me by __.

    Open Notebook

    Guiding Questions

    • Explain to the class that they will revisit these questions a few times during the unit. Ask them to respond to the Guiding Questions in their notebook. Later in the unit they’ll compare their initial responses with those they write after reading and discussing Things Fall Apart.


    You will revisit the Guiding Questions a few times during the unit. Respond to them in your notebook. Later in the unit you’ll compare your initial responses with those you write after reading and discussing Things Fall Apart .

    • How do our conflicts shape and show our character?
    • How can we tell a story about ourselves that’s both honest and positive?
    • How do definitions of justice change depending on the culture you live in?
    • What are ways individuals can react to a changing world? To a community that doesn’t accept us?

    Open Notebook