Launching the Module: Quotes about the Middle Ages | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M2B:U1:L1

Launching the Module: Quotes about the Middle Ages

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of informational text. (RI.6.1)
  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about sixth-grade topics, texts, and issues. (SL.6.1)
  • I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions. (SL.6.1)
  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words and phrases. (L.6.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can read informational excerpts to make inferences.
  • I can talk with my peers about an informational excerpt.
  • I can determine the meaning of unknown words in an informational excerpt.
  • I can share my knowledge and my questions about medieval times.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Exit Ticket: 3-2-1


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reading Quotes (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

    A. Four Corners: Analyzing "In This Time" Quotes (15 minutes)

      B. Closer Look at Vocabulary: "In This Time" Quotes (10 minutes)

        C. Framing the Module: What Do We Know? What Do We Wonder? (10 minutes)

        3. Closing and Assessment

        A. Exit Ticket: 3-2-1 (5 minutes)

        4. Homework

         A. None.

        • This lesson is intended to pique students' interest in the Middle Ages.
        • In this module, the term Middle Ages is used interchangeably with "medieval times."
        • Since this lesson includes "mystery activities" designed to engage students, do not post the learning targets in advance. The activities in Work Time A and Work Time B are designed to build wonder around the topic; therefore, do not reveal the targets, topic of study, guiding questions, or big ideas beforehand.
        • The Four Corners protocol requires structured student movement around the classroom. Label the four corners of your classroom 1, 2, 3, and 4 with large, visible signs before this lesson.
        • In advance:

        -    Review Four Corners protocol (see Appendix or Work Time A)

        -    Prepare quote strips by cutting them into individual quotes. Distribute them to students as they enter the classroom or have them waiting at their desks. Depending on the size of the class, some quotes will most likely need to be used more than once.

        -    Prepare the What I Know, What I Wonder anchor chart (see supporting materials). 


        manor, obey, lords, peasants, livestock, famines, plagues, honorable, warrior, May Day, infants, maturity, falconry, adversities, feast days, whims, crusade, faith, trade, pilgrims, martyred, perished, atone 


        • "In This Time" quote strips (see Teaching Notes)
        • Four Corners Questions (for teacher reference)
        • What I Know, What I Wonder anchor chart
        • Exit Ticket: 3-2-1 (one per student) 


        OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

        A. Reading Quotes (5 minutes)

        • Place the "In This Time" quote strips at students' seats in advance or distribute them as they enter.
        • Ask them to quietly read their quote, without showing it to anyone around them.
        • Tell students it is important that they become familiar with their quote, as they will have to consider several questions with the quote in mind and make inferences about them. Therefore, they should read it over several times.
        • Ask:

        * "What is an inference?"

        • Invite volunteers to share their understanding of this word. If none share accurately, remind students that an inference is a conclusion that can be reached based on evidence. In this case, it is conclusions or ideas that they will come to based on evidence within the quote they are reading. (Reinforce their work with Module 1, in which they consistently made inferences about Percy Jackson.)
        • Give them the next couple of minutes to read and reread the quote. Circulate and assist anyone having difficulty understanding their quote. 
        • The quotes have varying lengths and levels of difficulty. Consider students' reading readiness and language skills when assigning quotes. 

        Work Time

        Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

        A. Four Corners: Analyzing "In This Time" Quotes (15 minutes)

        • Direct students' attention to the labels hanging on each of the corners of the classroom. To be sure they are oriented, ask them to point to corner 1, then corner 2, etc.
        • Give directions for this activity:
          1. You will hear a question or prompt about your quote.
          2. Based on what you believe from the evidence in the quote, you will move, slowly and quietly, to one of the four corners of the room.
          3. Once you are at your corner, you will find a partner.
          4. Take turns reading your quotes to one another.
          5. Discuss with your partner the evidence in the quote that persuaded you to make the choice you did in coming to that corner.
        • Address any clarifying questions about the directions.
        • Begin asking questions from Four Corners Questions
        • Consider pairing some students, such as ELLs, around a single quote so they can act as thought partners. 

        B. Closer Look at Vocabulary: "In This Time" Quotes (10 minutes)

        • Arrange students in groups of three.
        • Tell them that on each of their quotes, there is at least one word in boldface type. Explain the meaning of boldface type if necessary.
        • Tell students that they will encounter these words multiple times throughout the coming weeks, so they should take this opportunity to start to make meaning of them.
        • Remind students that there are multiple ways to make meaning of words in a text. They can use context clues, or words around the word, to help them. They can use parts of the word, or "words within the word," to help them. Finally, they can use reference materials, such as dictionaries, to help them.
        • Give directions:
          1. Over the next 6 to 7 minutes, look at each other's quotes.
          2. Take turns sharing your boldface words.
          3. Work together to try to determine the meaning of the word.
          4. Write the meaning you determined above the word on the strip of paper.
          5. We will share out our words as a class.
        • After 6 to 7 minutes, stop the students in their work.
        • Ask each group to briefly share out their words and the meanings they determined. Do not worry if students' definitions are only an approximation at this point; they will continue to learn more about the Middle Ages throughout the module. 
        • Consider having dictionaries available for students who are having difficulty using the text itself to make meaning of the words.
        • Intentionally pair ELLs with students for whom English is their home language. 

        C. Framing the Module: What Do We Know? What Do We Wonder? (10 minutes)

        • Reconvene students whole group.
        • Tell them that over the next several weeks, they will look at the common theme of adversity across multiple time periods. (Students will look more closely at the word adversity in subsequent lessons. Here it is fine to define it simply as "challenges people face.") More specifically, they will read people telling their own tales of adversity in the form of monologues and poetry.
        • Tell them that one time period on which they will focus is the Middle Ages, or medieval times. This was a period in European history from around 400 AD to 1500 AD. We often think of this as the time of knights and chivalry, lords and ladies, the Crusades, and the plague.
        • Tell students that to understand people's stories of adversity, they first need to truly understand the time context, or time and place, in which the people lived. Therefore, over the next couple of weeks, they will be engaged in research about the Middle Ages.
        • Direct students' attention to the What I Know, What I Wonder anchor chart.
        • Ask:

        * "Based on the quotes you read, and based on your own prior knowledge, what can we say we already know about the Middle Ages?"

        • Invite volunteers to share facts they already know about the Middle Ages. Chart their responses in the What I Know column.
        • Ask:

        * "What types of questions do you still wonder about when you think about the Middle Ages?"

        • Invite volunteers to share what they wonder about the Middle Ages. Chart their responses in the What I Wonder column. 

        Closing & Assessments


        A. Exit Ticket: 3-2-1 (5 minutes)

        • Distribute an Exit Ticket: 3-2-1 to each student.
        • Tell them their responses will guide you in helping them to learn about the Middle Ages.
        • Tell them that they should write three things they learned about the Middle Ages today, two questions they have, and one thing that surprised them.
        • Collect the exit tickets. 


        • None

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