Writing Mini-Lesson Plan

By Lola J'Vlle

Objectives:

* to understand function of relative pronouns

* to discuss and understand purpose of sentence combining

* to use relative pronouns to make complex sentences from pairs of simple

sentences

Rationale:

At the beginning of the semester, students in our ED 360 expressed anxiety over the thought of teaching grammar to students in high school or middle school. Therefore, the need for a demonstration of teaching an effective grammar lesson was met by assigning a student in our classómeóto teach such a lesson.

My first attempt at teaching a grammar lesson to our class helped us to see very clearly many of the problems encountered by a teacher when presenting a grammar lesson. Using too much "technical language" in a grammar lesson (which I used in my first lesson) was the major problem the class saw with my lesson. From the teaching end of the lesson, I discovered that too many objectives, especially with a grammar lesson, can be problematic, as well.

However, this lesson was created in order to show a different, and hopefully better, approach to teaching a grammar lesson to young students. My objectives for the lesson have been cut roughly in half, my approach has been changed from deductive to inductive, and the "technical language," which sank my last lesson, has been severely limited or omitted altogether!

Procedure:

Introduction:

* Describe lesson objectives:
  • to learn function of relative pronouns
  • to discuss and understand purpose of sentence combining
  • to use relative pronouns to create complex sentences

* List the relative pronouns on the board

* Prep the class for listening to a song that uses relative pronouns

  • instruct them to listen for relative pronouns the first time they listen to the song

Activity:

* Listen to song; instruct class to find relative pronouns and to try to detect their function

* Hand out lyrics (Appendix A)

Body:

* Put lyrics on the overhead projector and find, as a class, all of the relative pronouns in the song and mark them

* Note how the words are working within the sentences/phrases (how they are combining singular ideas)

* Discuss reasoning for learning sentence combining techniques (When students want to make their sentences more complex and sophisticated, they often mistake length for quality and create run-on sentences. Also, they mistake "big" words for credibility and add excessive adjectives and/or adverbs or use words out of context. Therefore, we need to explain to our students that we are showing them proper sentence combining techniques to get the results they want, while helping them avoid the mistakes they donít.)

* Provide two sets of simple sentences on the blackboard; combine the sentences as a class using relative pronouns

* Hand out worksheet for students to work on individually (Appendix B)

Conclusion:

* If there is time, have some students read their sentences for the class

* Quickly go over what we covered during the lesson

* Remind students about how sentence combining, done not just by using relative pronouns, can improve their writing (eliminates short, choppy sentences; increases sentence complexity; and adds sophistication to their writing, for example)

Materials:

* Tape deck and song

* Lyric handout for the class

* Overhead projection of lyrics

* Two pairs of simple sentences for board examples

* Worksheet for the class

Evaluation:

* Students will participate in listening activity and class discussion of material covered in the lesson (relative pronouns, sentence combining)

* Students will effectively combine sentences using relative pronouns

 

 

Appendix A:

Song Lyrics (a song by Toad the Wet Sprocket)

 

Itís hard to rely on my good intentions

When my headís full of things that I canít mention

It seems I usually get things right

But I canít understand what I did last night

 

And itís hard to rely on my own good senses

When I missed so much that requires attention

I have to laugh at myself sometimes

And I canít see that Iím not blind

 

Thereís little relief

Give us reprieve Oh, oh

For all the things Iíve left behind

Iím positive that Iím not blind

 

Iím not afraid things wonít get better

But it feels like this has gone on forever

You have to cry with your own blue tears

You have to laugh with your own good cheer

 

And itís hard to rely on my good intentions

When my headís full of things that I canít mention

It seems I usually get things right

But I canít understand what I did last night

 

Thereís little relief

Give us reprieve Oh, oh

Imagininí the world outside

Iím positive that Iím not blind

 

I canít be hard on you

ëCause you know Iíve been there, too

Learned a lot of things from you

 

Oh, oh, What weíd like is a little release

Give us reprieve

When everyone is cold outside

I clench my fist

And close my eyes

Imagining the world outside

And I canít see that Iím not blind

 

 

Appendix B:

Worksheet for Practicing Sentence Combining

Using Relative Pronouns

 

Combine the following sentences using relative pronouns.

1. The girl is running for Homecoming Queen.

Her slip is showing.

2. The player could not participate in Saturday's game.

His grades are unsatisfactory.

3. The cow's bell fell off.

She belongs to the farmer up the road.

4. Only six people passed the test.

They studied for it.

5. The recital was cancelled.

It was scheduled for 7 p.m.

 

 

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