Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Synonymous Sharks

Vicky Brioso


This lesson focuses on developing and applying vocabulary knowledge as well as reciprocal reading strategies through the use of an article on sharks. Students use the Internet to access the passage.


The student uses a variety of strategies to determine meaning and increase vocabulary (for example, multiple meaning words, antonyms, synonyms, word relationships, root words, homonyms).

The student uses a variety of strategies to monitor reading in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, rereading, self-correcting, summarizing, checking other sources, class and group discussions, questioning whether text makes sense, searching for cues, identifying miscues).


-1 computer per 2-3 students
-Internet access
-Concept of Definition Map, one copy per student or transparency (See Associated File)
-11” x 17” manila paper, one sheet per student


1. Be familiar with the Website and the appropriate links. (See Weblinks)
2. Schedule computer lab, if necessary.
3. Give students a basic tutorial on the Website they will be using, if needed.
4. Have handouts available or a transparency of the Concept of Definition Map. (See Associated File)


1. Inform students they will be learning about sharks while having the opportunity to sharpen their skills for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Students will research the article to be used for the lesson on the Internet.

2. Note: Students work in small groups throughout the lesson and on independent activities as well.

3. Assign students to the computer based on mixed abilities. One student should be responsible for navigating the Website to locate the article.

4. Have students open the Internet browser and go to (See Weblinks)

5. Students must follow the directions in order to locate the article to be used:
a. Click on Magazine Archives.
b. Click World Report Fall 2001.
c. Click on Issue-September 14.
d. Click Summer of the Shark.
e. Click Print this story.

6. Have students return to their seats with the article. Handout an 11” x 17” sheet of manila paper. Have students fold into 6 squares and number each one.

7. In box 1, have students brainstorm and web what they know about sharks. They can then pair/share (share information with a partner) and then have 2 or 3 students share aloud with the class.

8. In box 2, have students look at the title of the article, “Summer of the Shark,” and predict what they think this article will be about. Have students pair/share predictions.

9. In box 3, tell students to write the following words that they will encounter in the text: attacks, preying, study, scientists, denticles, and human.

10. Read text aloud to the students. Students should highlight or underline the vocabulary words from box 3 when encountered in text. (Note: If students are working with the article on the computer, then they should note where they found the words.)

11. Stop reading after the third paragraph. Have students write any information or words that they need clarification on in box 4.

12. Students can pair/share box 4. Have 2 or 3 students share with the class.

13. Have students read the next 3 paragraphs with a partner.

14. In box 5, ask students to visualize (illustrate) what they have read so far. Allow 2 or 3 students to share.

15. Students may continue reading silently or the teacher may read the rest of the article aloud.

16. After reading the article, lead the students in a discussion about the article. Identify with the students the main points.

17. In box 6, students summarize what they have read. Teacher may model using the following one-sentence summary: ______ begins with…, continues with…, and ends with… Students then pair/share and 2 or 3 students can share their summaries with the class.

18. Distribute the Concept of Definition Map (See Associated File) to each student or display on an overhead.

19. Use information from the article to complete the Concept of Definition Map with each student using the word “denticle.”

20. Students should be encouraged to complete a concept map independently with their choice of the vocabulary words introduced in box 3. Allow students to share their maps with the class. Illustrations are highly encouraged.


Note: This lesson also addresses ISTE NETS Standards 1 and 2. For more information on these national technology standards, please see Weblinks.

1. Students are formatively assessed on reading strategies demonstrated through the activities. For example: rereading, self-correcting, and summarizing.

2. Students’ ability to apply information from the article to create a response for the Concept of Definition Map (See Associated File) is a formative assessment tool that demonstrates understanding of meaning and vocabulary.

3. Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.

Web Links

Web supplement for Synonymous Sharks
Time for Kids

Web supplement for Synonymous Sharks
ISTE NETS Standards

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.