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

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Learn new words using context
With guided practice students will use context clues to determine meaning of unfamiliar words in short passages. When students have completed the practice activities, they will read a newspaper or magazine article, picking out unfamiliar words and using context clues to decide what the word means. As a group activity they will share the article, the words, and their meanings with the class.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–8 English Language Arts)
By Betty DeLuca.
Vocabulary surprise
This lesson focuses on prediction skills and vocabulary development. Students predict what is in a box from information they are given. In order to determine the contents of the box, vocabulary must be deciphered through contextual meaning. The activity idea could be used in all areas with a few modifications. Science would be easily integrated. Cooperative learning is also used.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 English Language Arts)
By Jennifer J. Murphy.
Which word is it?
Students will determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words using Context Clues, a dictionary, and structural analysis within a game format.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–8 English Language Arts)
By Donna Harkey.
Archaeological context
In Intrigue of the Past, page 1.5
In their study of context, students will use a game and a discussion to demonstrate the importance of artifacts in context for learning about past people.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Social Studies)
Understanding vocabulary in their own terms
This lesson focuses on vocabulary development. Students will work together in small groups to identify at least three to four unknown vocabulary words in a given passage. Vocabulary meanings will be learned through contextual means, previous knowledge and dictionary use. Students will then find a relevant way to illustrate the meaning of the word so that others can understand easily.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 English Language Arts)
By Christa Schneider.
Night of the Twisters
Reading strategies are used to introduce a literary work.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 English Language Arts)
By Authurice Mitchell.
Cross-checking: An early reading strategy
Beginning readers need to learn how to bring together two sources of information simultaneously. They have to think about what would make sense and think about letters/sounds; cross-checking. Most children prefer to do one or the other, but not both. Therefore, some children guess something that is sensible but ignore the visual (letter/sound) and others guess something which is close to the visual but makes no sense in the sentence. This activity will demonstrate how to cross check.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 English Language Arts)
By Jane Kate Blackmon.
Vowel, consonant, vowel your way to better reading
This is a lesson for Secondary Special Education Teachers who teach exceptional children who are reading at the second grade level. Students will learn decoding patterns using vowels and consonants to divide words into syllables in order to sound out the word.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 English Language Arts)
By Julie Wilson.
Teaching deaf students in the inclusive classroom: Part 2
A continuation of "Teaching Deaf Students in the Inclusive Classroom: Part 1," this video uses expert interviews and classroom footage to explore some of the conditions that lead to a deaf student's...
Format: video/video
Riddles from The Hobbit
In The Walking Classroom, page 8
In this lesson for fifth grade language arts, students discuss the use of riddles in The Hobbit and their figurative qualities.
Format: lesson plan
Cause and effect
Students will identify and interpret cause and effect as expressed in poetry.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 English Language Arts)
By Rochelle Mullis.
Reading photographs
A picture is worth a thousand words — but which words? Questions can help students decode, interpret, and understand photographs thoughtfully and meaningfully.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
The student pathfinder
By creating pathfinders, students not only learn to manage time and produce a higher quality research project, but they also develop twenty-first century learning skills.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
A Christmas Carol chronology
Christmas Carol Chronology, based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, provides students with an opportunity to develop comprehension by listing plot developments and arranging them sequentially. This lesson begins with cooperative learning groups and ends with an individual manipulative activity of cutting and pasting strips of events in chronological order.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–8 English Language Arts)
By Judy Gibbs.
Cotton mills from differing perspectives: Critically analyzing primary documents
In this lesson, students will read two primary source documents: a 1909 pamphlet exposing the use of child labor in the cotton mills of North Carolina, and a weekly newsletter published by the mill companies. Students will also listen to oral history excerpts from mill workers to gain a third perspective. In a critical analysis, students will identify the audiences for both documents, speculate on the motivations of their authors, and examine the historical importance of each document.
Format: lesson plan
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Jackie Robinson taught us more than baseball
After determining student knowledge about Jackie Robinson, the teacher/counselor reads "Teammates" by Peter Golenbock to fifth graders. The teacher/counselor then divides students into four groups to work cooperatively on questions. Groups select leaders and recorders and each group leader presents answers to the whole class. The teacher/counselor ends the activity with a question that individual students will respond to in writing.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–5 English Language Arts, Guidance, and Social Studies)
By Jan Huggins.
Areas of philosophy
In Philosophy resources for educators, page 1.3
This page introduces the various areas of philosophical thought, and links out to our (related) lesson plans.
Format: bibliography
Point of view
Students will consider how point of view affects the meaning and interpretation of a work of art. They will view a sculpture of a Palmyran woman dated between 150-170 C.E. Students will consider three different points of view, analyze each of these views, and discuss what aspects of the sculpture would be highlighted and neglected when considering these different points of view.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–7 Visual Arts Education and Social Studies)
By Amanda Keller.
Tree-ring dating
In Intrigue of the Past, page 2.5
In their study of dendrochronology, students use activity sheets and a discussion to apply principles of dendrochronology to determine a tree's age and to recognize climatic variation. They will also analyze and experience how archaeologists can sometimes use tree rings to date archaeological evidence and study past climates.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Science)
A smoke-free me
In this lesson, students will use the "A Smoke-Free Me" Mini Page to learn about how the heart and lungs work, smoking regulations in their state, and the harmful effects of smoking. Students will create an anti-smoking poster using their new knowledge. If possible, students will hang these posters around the school to educate others.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–5 Healthful Living and Science)
By Summer Pennell.