K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

The student will learn how to describe, interpret, evaluate and analyze linguistic information through the use of scaffolding techniques: cloze procedures, binary choice, phonemic and semantic cues, expansion, “wh” questions, and metalinguistic analysis.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

60 minutes


  • Dragon’s Fat Cat by Dav Pilkey
  • tape or CD of Witches’ Brew Pot Full of Songs for Oral Language Development by Hap Palmer and Martha Cheney
  • Tape or CD player
  • Journal
  • Crayons, Pencils
  • Grater, bowl and Ice Cubes
  • Kool-aid Popsicles (cups, popsicle sticks, kool-aid, sugar, measuring cups, mixing bowls, spoons, plastic wrap)
  • Animal crackers

Technology resources

  • Video tape recorder
  • Tape recorder


The students will need to know some animal categories before they begin. Teacher/Therapist (T/T) will introduce tame and wild animals. The students will need to be aware of the differences between pets and other groups of animals, such as: farm animals, animals that live in the woods, animals that live in jungles.


  1. Teacher/Therapist (T/T) shows the book to the class and begins to discuss the cover of the book.
  2. T/T ask students to describe what they see in the picture and then think about and discuss what is going to happen in this story.
  3. T/T reads the title and ask students to tell about the characters in the picture. T/T aids in discussion by asking questions: Who is dragon? Who is fat cat? Are dragons real? Why is dragon holding fat cat? How do you hold your cat/dog? Show me.
  4. Turn to title page and discuss picture and title again, making sure to note any differences in the picture and title: Dragon is gently petting… I can tell fat cat likes to be petted because… Why do you think this cat is fat?
  5. Turn to table of contents page and read the titles of the five sub-episodes. Discuss the picture: What is fat cat doing? Why is fat cat in the snow storm? What happens to an animal in the snow? Fat cat looks sad because… Will fat cat find a home or find a place to stay in the woods? Discuss the titles of the five sub-episodes and “brainstorm” about what might happen in the storybook.
  6. Turn to title page of first sub-episode. Discuss the title and picture: Where is fat cat going? Who do you think lives in the house? Why is the title of this part of the story “Meow!”?
  7. Read the first page of the “Meow!” sub-episode. Discuss what is happening in the picture. Ask specific questions about information presented in the text: What did dragon hear? What did it sound like? What kind of day was it?
  8. Instruct the students to go to the center of their choice. T/T and aid should assist at each center to integrate the storybook theme into meaningful activities.
    • Music Center: Have students listen to the song “Grandmother’s Farm” and sing along and make animal sounds when the animal is named. “I saw a cow and it talked to me.” MOOOO, MOOOO
    • Journal Center: Discuss what a pet is and can be. Have each student draw a picture of his/her pet. Have the students dictate/write a sentence about their pet.
    • Science Center: Make “snow” by grating ice cubes into a bowl.Put some “snow” in the student’s hands and discuss how it feels. Talk about what happens to snow when the sun comes out. Ask students to pretend their hands are like the sun. What happened to their “snow”? Discuss where snow comes from and how it is made.
    • Drama Center: Have the students pretend to be out in the snow.
    • Snack: Make kool-aid popsicles. Have students measure water and sugar, mix the ingredients together with the koolaid. Transfer mixture to a pitcher 8and help each student pour their own popsicle into a paper cup. Cover cup with plastic wrap, punch a small hole through it and insert popsicle stick. Place in freezer and serve as afternoon snack. As students eat animal cookies, discuss what is going to happen to the kool-aid in the cup.


  • Students will be assessed through portfolio reading and writing samples from the classroom (for classroom teachers’ assessment), data collection from video tapes made by the Therapist during class discussion time and center times/therapy sessions and checklists to determine a baseline/current level of language comprehension and functioning, and evaluations done by the Teacher and/or Therapist.
  • Students will demonstrate comprehension of the story and its theme, PETS, by answering questions correctly guided by the T/T through the use of scaffolding techniques during repeated readings of the same book. Documentation of these correct answers can be done through: checklists for each child at each center, reviewing the video tape of the classroom discussion and center based activities and noting on checklists each student’s responses, evaluations done by teacher and SLP, reviewing journal entries and artwork done by each child, and SLP therapy data collection during therapy sessions on those students in speech therapy.
  • I use an 80% accuracy rate on a minimum of 20 responses as a determination that a goal is met in the therapy setting. In the inclusion method using scaffolding techniques, a student has met the lesson goals when he/she can comprehend and answer questions with higher level language than that used when they started. Each individual child’s ability levels must be considered when that level of comprehension and usage is determined.
    • T/T will ask what a pet is and how do you pick a pet?
    • T/T will ask students to describe their own pets and discuss what kind of animal can be a good pet, i.e. through binary choice: Is a good pet friendly or scary? Is a good pet big or small? After several repeated readings the students will be able to answer questions requiring higher level language complexity: i.e. Why is a tiger a scary pet? Should a person have a tiger as a pet? Why? Why not?
    • T/T will ask students where Fat Cat lived when Dragon found her.
    • T/T will discuss where pets live, i.e. through cloze procedures: Some pets live in the house. Some pets live outside. Cats can live —-. Horses can live outside in a pasture. Sometimes they live in a building called a —-. Goldfish live in a water filled tank or a bowl called a —--. Tigers can live in wide open spaces or in a —-. Higher-level language processing questions could include: Tigers live in wide open spaces because —. Dragon felt sorry for fat cat and brought her inside because —-.
    • T/T discusses the sounds animals make and asks students what sound Dragon heard when he was in his house.
    • T/T and students will make animal sounds and target phonemes being studied in the classroom.Teacher asks what sound a cat makes and then asks what is the first letter sound they hear. Teacher can use phonemic cues to help, i.e. A cat makes a sound like mmmmm—--/mmmmmeee—--/mmmmmeeeeoooww. Teacher asks students what letter makes the mmmmm sound. Teacher asks what sound letter /m/ makes.This procedure can be used at any time to help a student recall an answer. The T/T can target sounds they want emphasized throughout the lesson by using this procedure to ask a question as well.
    • T/T will discuss the season winter.
    • T/T will ask students to describe and define snow through semantic cues i.e. What is something that is white and cold that falls to the ground? What do you make when you mix snow, vanilla flavoring, sugar and milk together? What can you throw at someone that is cold, white and round? What can you make when you lie down in the snow and move you legs and arms up/down and in/out?
  • Higher level language processing questions might include: What has to happen before it snows? Why is being out in the snow for a long time dangerous?

Supplemental information

  • Norris, J. (1997) “Functional Language Intervention in the Classroom: Avoiding the Tutoring Trap.” Topics in Language Disorders, 17, 49-68.
  • Norris, J.& Hoffman, P. (1990) “Language Intervention Within Naturalistic Environments,” Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 21, 72-84.
  • Hoggan, K., & Strong, C. (1994) “The Magic of ‘Once Upon a Time’: Narrative Teaching Strategies.” Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 25, 76-89.
  • Miller, L. (1989) “Classroom-Based Language Intervention.” Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 20, 153-169.


A note to the Teacher/Therapist before you begin this lesson: How many pages you discuss before the students participate in centers depends upon the makeup of the students in the classroom. Some students will possibly be producing and processing language at lower levels of language complexity and not processing language at higher levels. These students will need a slower pace and more redundancy to develop the ability to use language with increased semantic complexity. Covering one page a day of the book followed by theme based centers has been shown to work best with these students. The following lesson can be stopped after the introduction and discussion of any one page and be followed by centers which reinforce the theme of that page of the storybook. The T/T can choose to read an entire sub-episode of the storybook and then follow the lesson plan presented below. Wherever the T/T decides to stop in the storybook, theme based centers should follow. These centers provide opportunities for the students to respond appropriately to scaffolding strategies which set a higher level of language complexity because the concept is taken from text that is familiar to the student. If the material presented at a center is difficult for the student, scaffolding strategies may help the child go from a lower level of language complexity to a higher level.

This lesson plan was inspired by Dr. Monica Bellon who was my instructor for the course School Aged Child Language at Western Carolina University. Dr. Bellon advocates inclusion to teach language learning impaired students. This method allows teachers and speech/language specialists to meet their goals and objectives together in one setting. The speech IEP goals and objectives are carried over to other settings through this approach because language learning stategies are processed and produced in the classroom setting. The SLP and classroom teacher must work very closely together to make this successful. I have tried to put what I’ve learned in the lesson plan format.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Kindergarten
          • K.RL.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
          • K.RL.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
          • K.RL.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).
        • Speaking & Listening

          • K.SL.2 Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
          • K.SL.3 Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
          • K.SL.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)


  • Goal 1: The learner will develop and apply enabling strategies to read and write.
    • Objective 1.01: Develop book and print awareness:
      • identify the parts of books and function of each part.
      • demonstrate an understanding of directionality and voice-print match by following print word for word when listening to familiar text read aloud.
      • demonstrate an understanding of letters, words, and story.
      • identify the title, name of the author and the name of the illustrator.
  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.01: Connect information and events in text to experience.

Information Skills (2000)


  • Goal 1: The learner will EXPLORE sources and formats for reading, listening, and viewing purposes.
    • Objective 1.01: Participate in read-aloud, storytelling, booktalking, silent and voluntary reading experiences.
    • Objective 1.05: Demonstrate sense of story (e. g., beginning, middle, end, characters, details).
    • Objective 1.09: Demonstrate awareness that resources convey meaning and exist in a variety of formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia).
  • Goal 3: The learner will RELATE ideas and information to life experiences.
    • Objective 3.05: Describe how information and ideas are influenced by prior knowledge and personal experience.
  • Goal 5: The learner will COMMUNICATE reading, listening, and viewing experiences.
    • Objective 5.01: Respond to reading, listening, viewing experiences orally, artistically, dramatically through various formats.