Lesson Plan : Cultures and Languages

Teacher Name:
 Stephanie Conner
 Grade 3

 Culture and Language
 The similarities of languages and cultures around the world. Vocabulary: audio, culture, communication Big Question: How are languages around the world similar? Key Concepts: culture, communication, functions of language
 Students will research assigned cultures, concentrating mostly on the culture's languages. After research, groups present audio clips of different languages and students will listen to find similarities between all languages. This will lead them to make generalizations about communication as a whole.
 Students will be able to research cultures using a variety of resources. Students will be able to document research in a clear, organized way. Students will be able to use information to make generalizations about cultures and languages. Students will be able to write a response to the questions: What is language? What is culture? How are the two related? How are languages similar? Students will be able to present information gathered in a clear, understandable way. TEKS: (20) Writing/inquiry/research. The student uses writing as a tool for learning and research. The student is expected to: (C) take simple notes from relevant sources such as classroom guests, books, and media sources (2-3); and (D) compile notes into outlines, reports, summaries, or other written efforts using available technology (2-3). (14) Writing/purposes. The student writes for a variety of audiences and purposes and in various forms. The student is expected to: (A) write to record ideas and reflections (K-3);
 Books about culture and language, encyclopedias, internet access, pencils, paper, poster board, colored notecards, markers
 As a class, we will review the previous lesson by looking at the map and discussing what we learned before: that most areas of the world that speak a common language also have similar cultural ways. I will remind students that we were only able to look at one aspect of culture before, and now we have an opportunity to look at more. I will compare their work to that of scientists, and remind them that when scientists study a culture, they look at more parts than just one or two. I will make sure they understand where to look online for audio clips of their language, and I will stress that the audio clip is very important so that we can listen to the language. I will ask students what other parts of culture they would like to learn about, and record their answers. Then, each group will pick 4 topics to research for their previously assigned area of the world. For example, if in the previous lesson they researched Africa's languages and foods, now they will research Africa's languages, foods, dress, religions, customs, and education. Students will organize themselves into groups to pick their 4 additional cultural topics to research. They will choose one color of notecard for each topic.
 As a class, we will review what serious scientific research looks like: reading books or online, and recording information on the notecards, with some discussion about what they find. We will have a short lesson on note-taking, by reading a section of text together and writing only important parts.
 Students begin research. This will take more than one day, and as the students work, I will monitor them and take anecdotal notes on their participation and behavior and once in awhile I will remind them of what sort of behavior I am looking for. To take a break from research, we will read Animals That Talk, and they will respond to questions posed at the end of each day in their journals.
 I will place each ESL student in a group that can support him/her, and pair them with someone in the group that either speaks his/her language or can patiently re-explain information and help with reading and writing. I will also write bulleted directions on the board with a picture to go along with it. For example, since the first direction is to find their groups, I might write "Find groups" and draw a group of people next to it. For groups that are finished early, I will ask them to come up with a more creative way to present the information without being silly. "How can you show what you have learned in a way that your class will remember?" If they finish with this, I might ask them to write a short response as a group about what similarities they noticed between the parts of culture and the language/s.
Checking For Understanding:
 The presentations will be the main way that I check for understanding. If the group presents in a way that shows the parts of culture they chose to research and compares these parts to language, it is clear they understand the concepts. As a class, we will listen to the audio clips and write notes on what we hear. We will listen to pitch, volume, tone, speed, and articulation. I will also ask them how they researched their information. I would also say something like, "As scientists who have made a discovery about this culture, would you say that language is an important part of culture? So, if you have different languages in a community, is the culture more interesting than if you had only one language spoken?" These questions are intended to scaffold students to the realization that language diversity is a positive part of rich culture, and that it should be valued.
 After all groups have presented, we will discuss the audio clips. What was the same about all of them? What do we notice about language in general? I will record their responses on chart paper, and we will use this to think about communication in general. Even if we don't speak the language, are there some things that we can understand? (In the upcoming weeks, we will review the concept that communication goes much beyond word meaning, and this information will be used to develop our social action plan to help ESL students feel more comfortable in the classroom, even though we speak different languages.)
Teacher Reflections:

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