Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Independent - To Be or Not Top Be - Day 3, Lesson F: Coming to Terms

Katie Koehnemann
Bay District Schools


Students will develop a better understanding of significant events and reasons leading up to the Revolutionary War through the exploration of content vocabulary.


The student reads and organizes information from multiple sources for a variety of purposes (for example, supporting opinions, predictions, and conclusions; writing a research report; conducting interviews; taking a test; performing tasks).

The student prepares for and gives presentations for specific occasions, audiences, and purposes (including but not limited to informational or imaginative presentations, research reports, extemporaneous talks).

The student understands reasons Americans and those who led them went to war to win independence from England.

The student knows significant events between 1756 and 1776 that led to the outbreak of the American Revolution (for example, the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Boston Tea Party).


-Big Word Organizer for Social Studies (In Associated File)
-Big Word Board wall chart
-Words written on sentence strip
-Pocket chart
-(Optional) [Classrooms That Work] by Patricia Cunningham and Richard Allington
-(Optional) [Month-by-Month Phonics for Upper Grades] by Patricia Cunningham


1. Prepare and have up in the room a Big Word Board for Social Studies.
2. Copy a Big Word Organizer for Social Studies for each student. (In Associated File)
3. Pre-select vocabulary from the Guided Reading material as needed.
4. Write selected vocabulary words on sentence strips as needed.
5. Create a Pocket Chart.
6. Optional: Read suggested books of word game and activity. (See Materials.)


There are an unlimited number of ideas and strategies that could be used to assist students in developing an understanding of content vocabulary. No words are specified, although a few have been recommended to give you an idea of some words that could be unknown or misunderstood by students, and that if they knew what they meant, could aid in their comprehension of reading, discussions, and content material. Some games and techniques are suggested. You can read more about these and others in [Classrooms That Work] by Patricia Cunningham and Richard Allington, published by Addison Wesley Longman (ISBN 0-321-01339-5), and [Month by Month Phonics for Upper Grades] by Patricia Cunningham, published by Carson-Dellosa Publishing (ISBN 0-88724-473-4).

1. As Guided Reading lessons are prepared, make note of vocabulary words students may need to have clarified. Especially look for words that are on the summative assessment that students will need to thoroughly understand in order to do well on that test.

2. Present words before reading begins in a way that teaches students decoding. Present root words, prefixes, suffixes, rhyming words, and the chunking technique. Help students by creating simple associations with the words or word parts to model tricks, building their vocabulary and word decoding skills.

3. Present each word independently, and in parts, if appropriate, by placing it in a pocket chart.

4. Place the parts together and have students repeat it several times. Whole class, individual, whole class, this half the class, that half the class, etc. Make it fun and yet repetitious.

5. Have students predict the meaning. Read aloud a passage to the students from their reading material that has the word in it. Read it a couple of times with the vocabulary word, and then read it substituting the predicted meanings. Formative assessment occurs as students demonstrate understanding of new vocabulary. Offer positive and corrective feedback as students have Ah-ha moments.

6. For classroom recording of words, attach them to the Content Big Word Board in the classroom.

7. Students record new vocabulary by writing them on the Big Word Organizer for Social Studies. (In Associated File) One suggestion is for students to record the parts, the whole word, and the meaning as discussed and presented prior to reading.

8. For reviewing words already studied, a number of games can be used. Be a Mind Reader, Guess the Covered Word, and Nifty Fifty are but a few. (In suggested readings by Patricia Cunningham)

Boycott (What little words do you see that you know? Boy and cot.)
Repeal (re- meaning again, repeat; peal means think to peel back. Then you have repeal or to again peel it away, or withdraw, cancel.)
Massacre (What two words do you see you already know? Mass and acre. Make an association with mass meaning density, or lots of, and an association of acre with a wide amount of space. This will help you to recall the meaning of massacre as the killing of large mass or number of people who cannot defend themselves.)


To assess if students are successful and to what level, formative assessment occurs as studentsí responses are evaluated for correct pronunciation and meaning of selected content vocabulary during oral participation and through complete and accurate written responses on the Big Word Organizer. If any suggested word games are used, this also allows for formative assessment of studentsí correct usage of content vocabulary.


1. Liberty and Justice for All is an interactive Student Web Lesson. The lesson addresses this standard: the student understands reasons Americans and those who led them went to war to win independence from England. (See link to unit plan at the top of this page.)
2. United We Stand is an interactive Student Web Lesson. The lesson addresses this standard: the student knows significant events between 1756 and 1776 that led to the outbreak of the American Revolution. (See link to unit plan at the top of this page.)
3. Lessons may reflect modifications of, but are designed in conjunction with, the Reading Framework approach to classroom instruction and may be adapted to the Four Block Classroom. It is suggested that you have a historical fiction or a non-fiction book selected for use with the Shared Reading Component. Also, for the Self-Selected Reading Component, you will need to have appropriate period books available for which students to choose.
4. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, if any.

Attached Files

Big Word Organizers †††††File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.