All resources in CHS Reading Resources

Literacy in Science: Word Clouds

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8th Grade Science teacher Peter Hill from King Middle School in Maine shares a quick strategy tool and strategy he refers to as "word cloud". The "word cloud" is generated by a computer program that takes words from an article and generates a "cloud" with different sizes of words with the size emphasizing the frequency of the word. Mr. Hill uses this as a quick pre-reading activity to increase curiosity and engagement and to have students anticipate what the article or essay is about and what the main idea is. Teachers might also consider a twist to this idea and have student groups create their own word cloud after reading a selected text.11

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Accessing Complex Text Through Structured Conversations

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In this lesson students use a structured format (an adaptation of Think-Pair-Share) to discuss and deconstruct complex text. The new core standards emphasize the importance of developing students' speaking and listening skills as well as helping them access complex text through reading, re-reading, re-thinking, and re-examining.The purpose of this lesson is to get the students to focus and stay on topic while they talk. As a result, students are required to think more extensively about a topic by repeatedly reading and discussing with others.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Climate Change: Cross-Curricular Math, English, Science Lesson

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This unit provides Common-Core aligned lessons based for Math 3, English 10, and Biology (NGSS Standards). The subjects are linked by a text on climate change, and they hit the standards of argumentation for English, comparing functions in Math 3, and human effects on environment in Biology.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Data Set, Diagram/Illustration, Homework/Assignment, Interactive, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reading, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: Joanna Schimizzi, Christine Sheffler, Rob Leichner, Theodore Mueller, Yilmaz Yoruk


Primary Source Exemplar: Progress, Conflict, and Outcomes

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This unit is centered around an anchor text that may be common among content area teachers in a high school setting. Although this unit may be incorporated into any high-school English class, it is aligned with Common Core standards for 9-10. This unit will primarily focus on informational and argumentative texts, and can be used to incorporate more informational texts (as directed by the Common Core) into English classrooms at the high school level. This unit is best suited to a collaborative model of development in which ELA and content area teachers share an anchor text (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and communicate about how to connect diverse skills to common texts and essential questions.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Erik Iwersen

Trayvon Martin case reignites gun law debate

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The shooting death in Sanford, Florida, of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin at the hands of 28-year-old George Zimmerman in February 2012 has touched off debate on many issues, including the role of race in both the shooting and the subsequent investigation by the Sanford Police department. This exercise consists of two student readings. The first reading examines the debate surrounding Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. What is the "Stand Your Ground" law? What do supporters and critics have to say about it? What effect has it had? The second reading takes a wider look at the gun control debate. Should stronger gun control laws be passed? Questions for student discussion follow each reading.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: Mark Engler

Measuring Human Rights: High School Mathematics Unit

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In this unit, students will read and interpret primary sources to address the question “How do we measure the attainment of human rights?” By exploring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN’s Guide to Indicators of Human Rights, and data about development indicators from multiple databases, students will unpack the complexities of using indicators to measure human rights.

Material Type: Assessment, Lesson Plan

Author: Tamar Posner

Primary Source Exemplar: Nutrition and Human Rights

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In this unit, students examine the question: How does access to a specific diet (nutrition) impact human rights? As students explore biological information on how the human body uses food as a source of energy, they will explore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) document, to examine the crucial question of how access to a proper diet is related to a person’s rights.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Author: Joanna Schimizzi

‘Hunger Games’ Science: Investigating Genetically Engineered Organisms

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What lessons can we learn about genetically engineered organisms from the example of the jabberjay, a fictional bird in the movie “The Hunger Games”? In this lesson, students discuss the definition of genetically modified organisms, learn about the risks and benefits of research on G.M.O.’s, explore the growing do-it-yourself biology movement, and develop proposals seeking to either restrict or permit research into genetically modifying the avian flu virus.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Case Study, Homework/Assignment, Interactive, Lesson Plan, Reading, Simulation, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Author: David Goodrich

Summary, Analysis, Response Guidelines

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This resource gives students a way to approach reading and responding to nonfiction without requiring them to write an essay. It is relatively formulaic but builds skills through scaffolding concepts and encouraging students to develop the confidence necessary to start reading critically and making arguments about the nonfiction they read.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Homework/Assignment, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Chauna Ramsey