JenkinsMSBacktoSchool1 - Newsela | Learning & Support

“Back to School” Lesson Plan
Teacher(s): Lisa Jenkins
Subject: ELA
Grade: 6th-8th
Lesson Title
Back to School Supplies - What Could you do Without?
Featured Newsela Article
Teen's plan to save and donate a few stray pencils, grows to thousands
Learning Objective
Example statement(s)
about what students will
learn from this particular
Today I am learning … about the value of everyday tools I use to further my education.
So I can … have a perspective on what others around the world need, that may be simple to
I know I understand when…I can describe empathy and consider others when making
Students will be able to … begin brainstorming about the idea of empathy, defining their class
community and realizing the importance of tools in our everyday lives. This ties to 21st
Century Learning Skills -.communicating, collaborating, critical thinking, problem-solving.
Learning Standard
Common Core Standards
Include the standard that
this activity helps teach.
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the
text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by
making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
21st Century Learning Skills
Learning and Innovation Skills: Learning and innovation skills increasingly are
being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for
increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who
are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration is
essential to prepare students for the future.
Lesson Content
How will you introduce
the lesson to your
students? How will you
teach them the skills they
need to be successful?
How will you allow
students to practice the
skills they learned
withNewsela’s Write +
Quiz feature? How will
you assess mastery?
● Begin this lesson series by asking students to use their pencil to brainstorm
what the word empathy means. They can write the definition, draw images,
connect to an idea, etc. Any technique that works for brainstorming.
● Next, show the headline picture in the article “Teen's plan to save and donate
a few stray pencils, grows to thousands” and ask students to add to their
● Ask students in groups of 3-4 to share their brainstorm and inferences about
the picture. Have each group come up with one common idea to share with
the class about the word empathy and inferences/pre-reading for the picture.
● After 7-10 minutes, ask each group to share their ideas.
● Either the teacher or a student recorder add common themes/ideas to a class
note catcher about empathy.
● Begin reading the article (1080 Lexile) out loud and write your own
thoughts with the highlighter tool. Capture ideas just in the first 3
paragraphs that relate to empathy, ideas you wonder about or questions
you may have.
Student Practice:
● Ask students to read the article with a partner, and also annotate along
their reading. Have students use the highlight tool in the Newsela article as
their annotation notes. Partners can be assigned homogeneously
according to lexile ranges. Ask students to also add any ideas about
empathy to their brainstorm if the article gives them any additional ideas.
● As students finish their reading, use the “write” tool and ask students to
answer the question based on a quote in the article: What is your “foundation
to learn”? What do you need to be successful in school/in a class? **You will have
to rewrite this question in the Write tool, BEFORE your lesson begins.
Guided Questions:
● What is empathy?
● What makes individuals act on their ideas?
● What is your “foundation to learn”? What do you need to be successful in
school/in a class?
Wrap Up:
● Provide time for all groups to add to their brainstorm, if needed.
● Next, ask students to share their ideas about what they need to be
successful in this class. What learning conditions are ideal? In the article,
we learned that in other countries, students need just a simple writing tool
to be able to go to school and learn, something we probably take for
granted. (A fun experiment would be to see how many pencils/pens you
can find in the hallway after school that day to show them how many
priceless tools you found just discarded in your school).
● This may continue to the next day, or if you have longer, begin noting ideas
from the class so that students and the teacher can begin thinking about
what the learning community members “need” in order to learn in this
class. This can serve as a great start for class rules and reminders.
● Students will complete their definition of empathy.
● Students will show their thinking by annotating the article for important
ideas, questions and connections to concern for others/empathy.
● All lessons should include the reading quiz to assess comprehension (it is
at the teacher’s discretion to use it as a grade or simply to inform
What scaffolds can be
included to support
learners? Can you
anticipate different
reading levels for
Providing a partner for students who need additional support would be best utilized
with another student who is one reading level above the student needing support.
They can help break down the main ideas and record the partner’s thinking in
Teachers can also pre-select/highlight 5 sentences from the appropriate Lexile, and
ask students to type a response to just the teachers question/comments. Each
teacher question/comment can target a different focus - empathy, community of
learners, and a fact about students in another country.
How can you support
high level learners? Can
you anticipate reading
levels and Writing Prompt
to challenge?
This video is to build student interest in the background of pencil design. Students
can watch this video prior to or after the article reading. Student Question to consider:
Do you think the value/cost of a pencil is equal to the process and resources it takes
to make a pencil?
How a pencil is made Video
The Write prompt challenge - What tool or resource do we regularly use and discard
that you believe might be valuable in other places around the world?
What do you think motivates a student like Kyle to act on an idea?