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Lesson Plan #: AELP-INT0203
Submitted by: Tracey Bowen
Email: bowent@rcn.com
School/University/Affiliation: Memorial School, Burlington, MA; Lesley University
Date: September 24, 2002


Grade Level: 3, 4, 5

Subject(s):

  • Interdisciplinary
  • Language Arts/Literature/Children’s Literature
  • Science/Animals
  • Social Studies/History
  • Mathematics/Process Skills
  • Computer Science

Duration: Several 30-45 minute sessions

Description: Through a series of lessons, students will explore and expand upon their existing knowledge of the Cod’s habits and habitat, the Continental Shelf, the history of Vikings and Basques and the official discovery of North America by Columbus, political motivations for the American Revolution and the slave trade, and the New England fishing economy. Students also learn why this important creature is endangered.

Unit Goals: Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Arts, Language Arts, and History and Social Science. (Specific standards are listed in each lesson provided below.)

Unit Objectives:

  • Students will be able to use new information and vocabulary to brainstorm ideas for a creative presentation created with a partner.
  • Students will be able to use a guide to perform research for the roles and design the conversation assigned.
  • Students will gain meaning from print and build vocabulary.
  • Students will be able to evaluate their relationship to the cod and how it has impacted New England life.
  • Students will be able to use available technology to produce, revise, and publish a trading card.
  • Students will describe how the codfish influenced significant events in the history of Massachusetts and North America.
  • Students will be able to work cooperatively in a group setting within defined roles.
  • Students will be able to survey students and conduct research to gather information.
  • Students will use an online tool to create colorful bar, line, or pie graphs to display collected data.
  • Students will describe orally and in writing what they learned from the graphing activity.
  • Unit Materials:


    Useful Internet Resources:
    * Atlantic Cod: The Mainstay of Coastal Fisherman
    from Pete’s Bait & Tackle
    http://www.petesbait.com/species/cod.html

    * CJR Dollar Conversion Calculator, Columbia Journalism Review
    http://www.cjr.org/resources/inflater.asp

    * Cod (Gadus morhua) Econmult
    http://tidley.nfh.uit.no/FORKLAR/cod.html

    * Cod Quotables
    http://www.cangeo.ca/specialfeatures/atlanticcod/codquote.htm

    * Create a Graph Online
    http://nces.ed.gov/NCESKIDS/Graphing/

    * The Rise and Fall of Atlantic Cod
    http://www.cangeo.ca/specialfeatures/atlanticcod/codhome.html

    * Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
    http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/


    Table of Contents
    Lesson 1: The Under-appreciated Cod

    Lesson 2: Cod’s Tale Training Cards

    Lesson 3: Cod’s Tale Online Graph


    Lesson 1: The Under-appreciated Cod Description: Students research information about cod and participate in a drama/role-playing activity.

    Goals:


    Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework
    Theater, Standard 1: Acting, p. 58
    • 1.3—Pretend to be someone else, creating a character based on stories or through improvisation, using properties (props), costumes, and imagery.
    • 1.4—Create characters through physical movement, gesture, sound and/or speech, and facial expression.
    • 1.5—Learn lines, observe, listen, and respond in character to other actors.
    • 1.6—Demonstrate the ability to work effectively alone and cooperatively with a partner or in an ensemble.

    Theater, Standard 5: Critical Response, p. 64

    • 5.1—Describe and demonstrate audience skills of observing attentively and responding appropriately in classroom presentation, rehearsals, and live performance settings.
    • 5.3—Articulate reasons for particular emotional responses to and personal preferences about classroom dramatizations and dramatic performances.
    • 5.4—Analyze and describe strengths and weakness of their own work
    • 5.5—Give and accept constructive and supportive feedback.

    Massachusetts Language Arts Curriculum Framework
    General Standard 13: Nonfiction, p. 50

    • Standard 8—Identify and use knowledge of common organizational structures (chronological order). For example, use information from the story to construct a timeline showing names, dates and significant facts from the story.
    • Standard 9—Locate facts that answer the reader’s questions.
    • Standard 10—Distinguish cause from effect.
    • Standard 11—Distinguish fact from opinion or fiction.
    • Standard 12—Summarize main ideas and supporting details.

    General Standard 18: Dramatic Reading and Performance, p. 65.

    • Standard 2—Plan and perform readings of selected texts for an audience, using clear diction and voice quality appropriate to the selection, and use teacher-developed assessment criteria to prepare presentations.

    Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework
    Standard: Massachusetts and its Cities and Towns: Geography and History, p. 16

    • History and Geography: 1. Explain the meaning of time periods or dates in historical narratives and use them correctly in speaking and writing. (H)
    • History and Geography: 2. Observe visual sources such as historic paintings, photographs, or illustrations accompanying historical narratives and describe details such as clothing, setting or action. (H)
    • Civics and Government: 6. Give examples of why it is necessary for communities to have governments (e.g., governments provide order and protect rights). (C)
    • Civics and Government: 7. Give examples of the different ways people in a community can influence their local government (e.g., by voting, running for office, or attending meetings). (C)
    • Economics: 9. Define specialization in jobs and businesses and give examples of specialized businesses in the community. (E)

    Standard: New England and Massachusetts, p. 17

    • 3.5: Explain important political, economic and military developments leading to and during the American Revolution. (H, C)
      • a. the growth of towns and cities in Massachusetts before the Revolution.

    Objectives:

  • Students will be able to use new information and vocabulary to brainstorm ideas for a creative presentation created with a partner.
  • Students will be able to use a guide to perform research for the roles and design the conversation assigned.
  • Students will gain meaning from print and build vocabulary.
  • Students will be able to evaluate their relationship to the cod and how it has impacted New England life.
  • Materials:

    Procedure:
    Introduce new vocabulary and preview text of The Cod’s Tale , by Mark Kurlansky. Students create a KWL chart with the teacher, detailing what they know about cod and what they’d like to learn. Administer a true/false quiz to be used later for assessment purposes, as well as to trigger interest in the subject. Guide students through reading of the book, pausing to ask questions to emphasize information. Review the chart of details from before the reading and reclassify items in the chart. Students discuss any surprises from the information, as well as what they found interesting. Pair off students for a writing and drama activity. They will be creating short imaginary conversations based on what they have learned. Each pair is given one of the assignments below:

    • Imagine you are a Basque fisherman and you have met a Cod who can talk. What would you talk about?
    • Imagine your father is a fisherman who is out of work because of the fishing restrictions on cod. You have met someone who feels that fishing restrictions are not strict enough. What would you talk about?
    • Imagine you are a television reporter and you are interviewing a famous celebrity, Mr. Cod, an adult-size talking codfish. What have you seen taking place in the world during the past 400 years?
    • Imagine you are a newspaper reporter and you are interviewing a famous celebrity, Mr. Cod, an adult-size talking codfish. What opinions would you have on the fishing industry today?
    • Imagine you are two codfish who can talk and you’ve just run into each other. What would you talk about?

    The students work in pairs, using the Note-Taking Guide: The Under-appreciated Codfish (see Materials ) to organize their ideas and the Research Page to gather more information from the web sites. The students then script and rehearse how the conversation would go. Check in frequently to monitor progress and comfort level, and provide feedback and suggestions.

    The role playing format gives students creative license within a loose structure. Once the pairs have had an opportunity to revise and rehearse, the pairs present their conversations to the class. Provide encouragement and feedback on group behavior both as performers and as an audience.

    Pairs self-assess how they felt they did, discuss any changes they would have made, and receive feedback from the class. Students discuss the similarities and the differences in the assignments and the skits that the pairs produced.

    Assessment: Use students’ feedback, accuracy of content, and observation of group skills to note progress and show growth.

    Adaptations/modifications for students (differing abilities, learning styles): Provide frequent, positive feedback. Model the behavior desired and give clear instruction with the worksheets. Provide more time if needed.

    Pitfalls and solutions (what could possibly go wrong and how will I handle it?): Some students may have difficulty working in a group together. (Teacher should model how to share materials and time and provide positive feedback when students are using group skills successfully.) Some students may be shy about performing; the teacher should provide encouragement.

    Extension: Students could create written stories based on their skits and collect them in a class portfolio or book.


    Lesson 2: Cod’s Tale Trading Cards

    Description:

    Students will study the history of cod and New England and display important historical and/or scientific information in a trading card project.

    Goals:
    Massachusetts Science Curriculum Framework

    Strand 2: Life Science (Biology)

    • Living Things and Their Environment, Standard 8—Identify the ways in which an organism’s habitat provides for its basic needs (plants require air, water, nutrients, and light: animals require food, water, air, and shelter).
    • Characteristics of Plants and Animals, Standard 3—Recognize that plants and animals go through predictable life cycles that include birth, growth, development, reproduction, and death, p. 41.

    Massachusetts Language Arts Curriculum Framework
    General Standard 13: Nonfiction, p. 50

    • Standard 8—Identify and use knowledge of common organizational structures (chronological order). For example, use information from the story to construct a timeline showing names, dates and significant facts from the story.
    • Standard 9—Locate facts that answer the reader’s questions.
    • Standard 11—Distinguish fact from opinion or fiction.
    • Standard 12—Summarize main ideas and supporting details.

    General Standard 19: Writing, p. 72

    • Standard 11—Write brief summaries of information gathered through research, such as a mini-encyclopedia planned to answer a set of questions with individual illustrated reports.

    General Standard 21: Revising, p. 79

    • Standard 2—Revise writing to improve level of detail after determining what could be added or deleted.
    • Standard 3—Improve word choice by using dictionaries.

    General Standard 24: Research, p. 87

    • Standard 2—Define the need for information and formulate open-ended research questions; Initiate a plan for searching for information; Locate resources; Evaluate the relevance of the information; Interpret, use and communicate the information; Evaluate the research project as a whole.

    Objectives:

  • Students will be able to use available technology to produce, revise, and publish a trading card.
  • Students will describe how the codfish influenced significant events in the history of Massachusetts and North America.
  • Students will be able to work cooperatively in a group setting within defined roles.
  • Materials:

    Procedure:
    Explain that the class will be creating trading cards about the information they have learned from studying The Cod’s Tale . (If available, the teacher can use the software program, Inspiration, to brainstorm the information students feel is important to capture.) Group the information into categories that the students suggest: Revolutionary War, slave trade, food chain, and others. Assign each group a category of information to research. If you were to go home and tell your parents the three most important pieces of information for that category, what would they be? How could you use that information (ex. timelines, create pictures, write stories)?

    Group the students by fours to make trading cards, and assign the jobs each team member will take on the Sharing the Work handout. Students use the Note-Taking Guide: Cod’s Tale Trading Cards to organize their work. Students use the Research Page and The Cod’s Tale to research their trading card topic, as well as the library. Students enter information into the trading card template (see Sample Trading Card in Materials ). Proofread, edit, print, fold, and tape together.

    When finished, the groups present the card they made to the class. (If a laminator is available, the teacher can laminate the cards for the students to keep.) Give positive feedback on some of the cooperative group behavior observed during the lesson.

    Wrap up: Students discuss what they learned and trade cards with each other. Give positive feedback on the cooperative group activity observed during lesson.

    Assessment: Check completeness of trading cards. Observe students’ cooperative work skills. Track students who require additional support or time to complete the activity.

    Adaptations/modifications for students (differing abilities, learning styles): Provide frequent, positive feedback. Model the behavior desired and give clear instruction with the worksheets.

    Pitfalls and solutions (what could possibly go wrong and how will I handle it?): Some students may have difficulty working in a group together. (Teacher should model how to share materials and time and provide positive feedback when students are using group skills successfully.)

    Extension: If available, scan additional pictures into the Resource Page for students to use.


    Lesson 3: Cod’s Tale Online Graph

    Description : Students will survey the class and collect information for display in a bar graph, using a free online tool.

    Goals:
    Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework
    Strand 5 – Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

    • Standard 4.D.1 – Collect and organize data using observations, measurements, surveys, or experiments, and identify appropriate ways to display the data, p. 56.

    Objectives:

  • Students will be able to survey students and conduct research to gather information.
  • Students will use an online tool to create colorful bar, line, or pie graphs to display collected data.
  • Students will describe orally and in writing what they learned from the graphing activity.
  • Materials:

    Procedure
    (Ahead of time, the teacher should become familiar with Create a Graph Online.) Help students create their own survey questions such as:

    • score the book A Cod’s Tale from 1-5 based on how much each individual student liked it
    • note how many times each student ate fish in the past week or two
    • use the online inflation calculator to determine what cod costs today, as well as 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago (source: CJR Dollar Conversion Calculator, http://www.cjr.org/resources/inflater.asp )
    • use store ad supplements from the daily newspaper to compare the prices of fish in two stores

    Students collect their data and create graphs showing what they learned. When students have finished their graphs, they present their graphs to the class, sharing what they learned. Students should explain how they collected information, what the graphs show, and what they learned from the activity.

    Wrap-up: Students can provide ideas for follow-up surveys they would like to do to help them learn more about the data they collected. Then students write paragraphs to summarize what they learned.

    Assessment: Observe students’ ability to collect data and plug that data into the online graph tool to create a graphic representation of the information collected. Collect students’ paragraphs.

    Adaptations/modifications for students (differing abilities, learning styles): Provide frequent, positive feedback. Model the behavior desired and give clear instruction.

    Pitfalls and solutions (what could possibly go wrong and how will I handle it?): Some students may have difficulty staying on-task. (Teacher should provide positive feedback when students are working successfully and redirect as needed.)

    Extension: Students can use clip art to make their graphs more visually appealing.