The Acorn People, Lesson #1: Learning about Persons with Disabilities

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1 The Acorn People, Lesson #1: Learning about Persons with Disabilities Author(s): Kathy Krainak Grade Level: 7th Integrated Disciplines: Language Arts Nebraska Standards: LA Vocabulary: Students will build literary, general academic, and content specific grade level vocabulary. LA Comprehension: Students will extract and construct meaning using prior knowledge, applying text information, and monitoring comprehension while reading grade level text. LA Writing Process: Students will apply the writing process to plan, draft, revise, edit and publish writing using correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other standard conventions appropriate for grade level. LA Reciprocal Communication: Students will develop, apply, and adapt reciprocal communication skills. Objectives: Students will be able to: Understand and appreciate persons with disabilities by reading, discussing, and writing about them. Refine listening and speaking skills by attending to read-alouds, classroom discussions, small-group dialogues, and peer presentations. Practice critical thinking and comprehension skills by analyzing picture books about persons with disabilities. Assessment: Successful completion of Picture Book Analysis Activity (20 points) Respectful participation in whole-group and small-group discussions (20 points) Successful completion of journal activity (10 points) Materials: Smartboard/Projector/PC Class set of The Acorn People, by Ron Jones PowerPoint: Understanding Disabilities (attached) Set of picture books about people with disabilities (checked out from OPL list attached) Day One text from The Acorn People (attached) Classroom dictionaries Student notebooks pencils Procedures: Anticipatory Set: Have you ever been to a summer camp? What kinds of activities go on at summer camp? What is the role of a camp counselor? What is the role of a camper?

2 Today we will be getting ready to read a novel, The Acorn People, by Ron Jones. This is a true story about the experience of a group of children with severe disabilities at a summer camp. The story is told from the perspective one of the camp counselors. Emphasize to students the importance of being respectful during this discussion and throughout the entire unit. Display Day One text (first paragraph) from The Acorn People on the screen/smartboard. Inform students that they will be reading silently as you read aloud. Ask students to imagine that they are a camper, camp counselor, or parent in this story. Read the text aloud. After reading the text, ask students to share their mental images, thoughts, feelings, questions, etc. When questions arise, encourage other students to help answer those questions. Follow up questions: What do you think about the author s choice of words in Day One? If you were to imagine a camp for children with disabilities, what do you think it would be like? Have you ever seen a physically disabled stranger? If so, what was your reaction and why do you think you responded that way? Learning Activities 1. Understanding Disabilities Use the Understanding Disabilities PowerPoint to guide this discussion Explain the difference between disability and handicap, and explain why the author uses the word handicap incorrectly (by today s standards) Heart Activity In the literature section of their notebooks, students will close their eyes and draw a heart, write their name, and solve an equation (oral instructions). Students will then, with the opposite hand that they usually use, do these 3 things again. Discuss the experience. What types of disabilities were demonstrated in this activity? 2. Picture Book Analysis Distribute picture books about children and adults with disabilities (one book for each student in the group). Ask students to work in their small groups to review the books and answer the following four questions about each book given to their group. Each student should write down the following four answers about each book, to be turned in at the end of this activity. 1. What is the title of the Book? 2. Who is the author of the Book? 3. What did you learn about having a disability? 4. What was the main point of the book you read? Each group will select one book to report on to the entire class. Each group will also select one student to report to the class about the class. The teacher will ask follow-up questions and guide the whole-class discussion. Provision for special needs: Provisions for students with special needs will be made based on students IEPs. Co-teacher will assist in assigning students to appropriate small groups, in terms of academic and social needs.

3 Closure: In their journals or notebooks, students will write a paragraph about an experience in which they met someone who had a disability. How did you react to him or her? What was your first impression? Did your first impression change? Why or why not? (Teacher may need to explain the concept of first impressions. ) References: Jones, Ron. (1976). The Acorn People. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. Nebraska Department of Education Language Arts Standards, Updated 4/2/2009 Omaha Public Schools 7 th Grade Language Arts Curriculum, Updated 8/10/09 Picture book bibliography attached Sherman, Krista (2009). Inclusive stories: Teaching about disabilities with picture books. Retrieved from on August 16, 2009.

4 The Acorn People, Lesson #2: The Novel, Part 1 of 3 Author(s): Kathy Krainak Grade Level: 7th Integrated Disciplines: Language Arts Nebraska Standards: LA Vocabulary: Students will build literary, general academic, and content-specific gradelevel vocabulary. LA Comprehension: Students will extract and construct meaning using prior knowledge, applying text information, and monitoring comprehension while reading grade level text. LA Reciprocal Communication: Students will develop, apply, and adapt reciprocal communication skills. Objectives: Students will be able to: Apply textual information to the whole class discussion of The Acorn People, pp Use contextual clues and classroom reference materials to build vocabulary Create a character graffiti poster in collaboration with group members Assessment: Participation in small-group and whole class discussions (10 points) Successful completion of The Acorn People Reading Guide for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 (15 points) Materials: Smartboard/Projector/PC Class set of The Acorn People, by Ron Jones The Acorn People Reading Guide (attached) Photographs of swimmers with disabilities: Gallery at Classroom dictionaries Student notebooks pencils Procedures: Anticipatory Set: Begin the lesson with an oral review of Lesson #1 (how a disability is defined, what was learned about people with disabilities, etc.) Ask students to assist with this review (ask for volunteers or call on students randomly). Use the projector to show photographs from the Starfish School, a swimming school in England that specializes in teaching children with disabilities. What is happening in these photographs? What are your thoughts or feelings as you see these photographs? How do you think the swimming experiences of these children compares to the swimming experiences of the campers in The Acorn People?

5 Learning Activities 2. Guided Reading Distribute reading guides. Ask students to fill out names, points (50) and due date. Also tell them that the book is RL 5.6 and is worth 2 points if they take a book test in Literature class. Distribute novels. Explain that the novels will remain in the classroom, and that the class will read the novel together. Students will participate in a guided reading of The Acorn People, pp The teacher and students will take turns reading aloud. The teacher will also stop periodically for discussion questions and activities. Students will complete the activities in the reading guide for the first 3 chapters (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) 3. Vocabulary and Characterization Activities The teacher will model the Vocabulary and Characterization sections of the activity guide on the SmartBoard. Students will contribute to the vocabulary activity by providing definitions, looking up context clues, and researching dictionary definitions. Students will contribute to the characterization activity by providing examples of adjectives that describe each of the characters. 4. Whole-Group Discussion Questions: 1. (Day 1) Why does Ron, the camp counselor, feel that Camp Wiggin is an odd place for these children? 2. How does this first day affect Ron? 3. How would you feel if you had just arrived as a camper at Camp Wiggin? 4. (Day 3) Although physically disabled, these children are in many ways no different than other children their age. Explain this. 5. Why is the idea of the acorn society so important? 6. How does Ron begin to change by Day 3? Compare his change to the change taking place in the boys. 7. *(Question not included in discussion guide:) What do you think the acorn necklaces mean for the campers? Do the necklaces have a different meaning for the counselors and the campers? Provision for special needs: Provisions for students with special needs will be made based on students IEPs. Co-teacher will assist in assigning students to appropriate small groups, in terms of academic and social needs. Closure: The closure for this activity will be a whole-class review of the reading. References: Buehl, D. (2001). Classroom strategies for interactive learning, 2 nd ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Jones, Ron. (1976). The Acorn People. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. Nebraska Department of Education Language Arts Standards, Updated 4/2/2009 Omaha Public Schools 7 th Grade Language Arts Curriculum, Updated 8/10/09

6 The Acorn People, Lesson #3: The Novel, Part 2 of 3 Author(s): Kathy Krainak Grade Level: 7th Integrated Disciplines: Language Arts Nebraska Standards: LA Vocabulary: Students will build literary, general academic, and content-specific gradelevel vocabulary. LA Comprehension: Students will extract and construct meaning using prior knowledge, applying text information, and monitoring comprehension while reading grade level text. LA Reciprocal Communication: Students will develop, apply, and adapt reciprocal communication skills. Objectives: Students will be able to: Apply textual information to the whole-class discussion of The Acorn People, pp Use context clues and classroom reference materials to build vocabulary Create a character graffiti poster in collaboration with group members Assessment: Participation in small-group and whole class discussions (10 points) Successful completion of The Acorn People Reading Guide for Days 6 & 7, and Day 8 (15 points) Successful completion of Character Graffiti poster (15 points) Materials: Smartboard/Projector/PC Class set of The Acorn People, by Ron Jones The Acorn People Reading Guide (attached) Classroom dictionaries Construction paper or poster paper (at least 12 x 18 ) Markers Stickers/other embellishments for posters (optional) Wall-safe masking tape Student notebooks pencils Procedures: Anticipatory Set: Begin the lesson with an oral review of Lesson #2. Review select discussion questions and vocabulary words from the reading guide. Ask students if they have any questions about the text. Learning Activities 1. Guided Reading Students will participate in a guided reading of The Acorn People, pp. 29-

7 54. Students will complete the activities in the reading guide for Days 6 & 7 and Day 8 (Vocabulary, Characterization, and Dyslexia) 2. Whole-Group Discussion Questions: 1. Why is climbing Lookout Mountain so important to everyone? 2. What kind of encouragement and gimmicks (tricks) do the boys use to encourage themselves to climb the mountain? 3. How do the kids react to Mrs. Nelson s actions? 4. What did Mrs. Nelson do that was revolutionary? 3. Character Graffiti Poster: In groups of 3-4, students will create a graffiti poster of the characters in the novel. Each group will be given a large piece of construction paper (12 x 18 minimum), and each student in the group will choose a different color marker. Students will sign their names at the bottom of the poster (in their chosen marker color). Students will divide the poster into sections, one for each character: Ron, Dominic, Benny B., Thomas Stewart, Aaron ( Arid ), Spider, and Mrs. Nelson Next to each character, each student in the group will write something about the character (descriptive word or phrase, abilities, talents, quote) or draw a picture of the character After students have completed their posters (approx. 15 minutes), one student from each group will display the poster at the front of the room. Students will take a poster tour to view the posters created by the other groups After all the posters have been viewed, students will return to their seats and participate in a class discussion of the posters and of the characters in the novel. Provision for special needs: Provisions for students with special needs will be made based on students IEPs. Co-teacher will assist in assigning students to appropriate small groups, in terms of academic and social needs. Closure: The closure for this activity will be the poster tour and discussion. References: Buehl, D. (2001). Classroom strategies for interactive learning, 2 nd ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Jones, Ron. (1976). The Acorn People. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. Nebraska Department of Education Language Arts Standards, Updated 4/2/2009 Omaha Public Schools 7 th Grade Language Arts Curriculum, Updated 8/10/09

8 The Acorn People, Lesson #4: The Novel, Part 3 of 3 Author(s): Kathy Krainak Grade Level: 7th Integrated Disciplines: Language Arts Nebraska Standards: LA Vocabulary: Students will build literary, general academic, and content-specific gradelevel vocabulary. LA Comprehension: Students will extract and construct meaning using prior knowledge, applying text information, and monitoring comprehension while reading grade level text. LA Reciprocal Communication: Students will develop, apply, and adapt reciprocal communication skills. Objectives: Students will be able to: Apply textual information to the whole class discussion of The Acorn People, pp Use contextual clues and classroom reference materials to build vocabulary Assessment: Participation in small-group and whole class discussions (10 points) Successful completion of The Acorn People Reading Guide for Day 10 - Epilogue (20 points) Materials: Smartboard/Projector/PC Class set of The Acorn People, by Ron Jones The Acorn People Reading Guide (attached) The Acorn People Test Review Game The Acorn People Final Project Menu Classroom dictionaries Student notebooks pencils Procedures: Anticipatory Set: Begin the lesson with an oral review of Lesson #3. Review select discussion questions and vocabulary words from the reading guide. Ask students if they have any questions about the text. Learning Activities 1. Guided Reading Students will participate in a guided reading of The Acorn People, pp During and after the reading, students will complete the activities in the reading guide for Days 10-Epilogue (Vocabulary, Characterization, Braille Alphabet, and Crossword Puzzle). *If time is limited the Braille activity or crossword puzzle may be assigned as homework.* 2. Whole-Group Discussion Questions: 1. Why does Aaron cry?

9 2. What transformation (change) occurs in the children only days before they are to go home? Why? 3. What idea does Mrs. Nelson have for the last day? 4. How do the parents, children, and counselors feel about Camp Wiggin? 5. What did you learn from the book? Provision for special needs: Provisions for students with special needs will be made based on students IEPs. Co-teacher will assist in assigning students to appropriate small groups, in terms of academic and social needs. Closure: The closure for this activity will be the discussion of the final activity and The Acorn People Test Review Game. References: Buehl, D. (2001). Classroom strategies for interactive learning, 2 nd ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Jones, Ron. (1976). The Acorn People. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. Nebraska Department of Education Language Arts Standards, Updated 4/2/2009 Omaha Public Schools 7 th Grade Language Arts Curriculum, Updated 8/10/09

10 The Acorn People, Lesson #5: Final Exam and Project Author(s): Kathy Krainak Grade Level: 7th Integrated Disciplines: Language Arts Nebraska Standards: LA Vocabulary: Students will build literary, general academic, and content-specific gradelevel vocabulary. LA Comprehension: Students will extract and construct meaning using prior knowledge, applying text information, and monitoring comprehension while reading grade level text. LA Writing Process: Students will apply the writing process to plan, draft, revise, edit and publish writing using correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other standard conventions appropriate for grade level. LA Writing Process: Students will write for a variety of purposes and audiences in multiple genres. Objectives: Students will be able to: Demonstrate comprehension of the content and vocabulary in the novel through the Acorn People exam. Create a book project, following the guidelines on the Acorn People project menu. Assessment: Participation in whole-group discussion and exam review (5 points) Successful completion of The Acorn People exam (50 points) Successful completion of the selected book project (50 points) Materials: Smartboard/Projector/PC Class set of The Acorn People, by Ron Jones The Acorn People Project Menu (attached) The Acorn People Exam (attached) Classroom dictionaries Student notebooks pencils Procedures: Anticipatory Set: Begin the lesson with an oral review of the novel. Review select discussion questions and vocabulary words from the reading guide. Ask students if they have any questions about the text. Learning Activities 1. The Acorn People Exam Students will take the book test and turn it in to the teacher s inbox.

11 2. Final Project (DUE DATE ) Students will work on their final projects and turn them into the teacher s inbox or finish them at home and turn them in by the due date. Provision for special needs: Provisions for students with special needs will be made based on students IEPs. Co-teacher will assist in assigning students to appropriate small groups, in terms of academic and social needs. Closure: The closure for this activity will be the discussion of the final activity. References: Buehl, D. (2001). Classroom strategies for interactive learning, 2 nd ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Jones, Ron. (1976). The Acorn People. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. Nebraska Department of Education Language Arts Standards, Updated 4/2/2009 Omaha Public Schools 7 th Grade Language Arts Curriculum, Updated 8/10/09

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