Lesson: Use context clues to determine meaning

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT identify and use context clues to identify unknown vocabulary words in a nonfiction text.

Lesson Plan

Use Context Clues to Determine Word Meaning (lesson #9)
 
1. QQ (5 min.) List a few ways to figure out the meaning of unknown words in a text. 
2. Mini-lesson (10 min.)
a. Name the teaching point: Good readers use context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words in a nonfiction text. 
b. Using the Incredible Insects text, model, using a think aloud, how you use context clues to figure out the meanings of words you don’t know. 
                              i.   During the think aloud fill in the “Clued In†worksheet. 
c.   Using the teacher’s reader’s notebook as a model and the document camera have students copy today’s teaching point and notes into their reader’s notebook.   Copy a section of text from Incredible Insects to use as an example in the notes. 
                              i.   See the lesson files for notes
3. Students practice the reading strategy (10 min.)
a. With a partner, have students begin practicing defining unknown words using the common class text, Incredible Insects. 
                              i.   To guide students, give them a “Clued In†worksheet to record their words and definitions. 
b. When most pairs have defined 2 or 3 words have the entire class debrief using the strategy. 
4. Independent reading time (30 min.)
a. Using either the Incredible Insects text or their nonfiction independent reading text, have students continue to read independently, defining at least two additional words using context clues. 
5. Exit slip (3 min.)
a. Collect “Clued In†sheets and check the last two words that the students defined independently. 
6. Homework (3 min.)
a. Nonfiction independent reading for at least 20 minutes and complete nonfiction IR log. 
 
1. What went well?
2. What would you change?
3. What needs explanation?
The students understood the text so much better for slowing down and figuring out the unknown words. During partner and independent practice I heard a lot of, “Oh, that’s what it means. I get it now.â€Â 
 
The “Clued In†sheets helped the students stay focused on the task at hand and they were a good exit slip for me to gauge how well the students mastered the content.  
Incredible Insects may not have been the best text for this lesson. It does have tough words that are defined in the text, but the definitions are not overtly stated. Some of the definitions were too “hidden†for my struggling readers to find. Next time, I would choose a text that presents the context clues fairly overtly. In a follow-up lesson, I could use Incredible Insects, or as a challenge for some of my stronger readers. 
This is not the year’s first lesson on using context clues. We have worked on this in fiction too, but the students need constant practice with defining words by using the context. I will definitely repeat this lesson in the future to maintain this essential skill. 

Lesson Resources

Clued In to Unknown Words   Classwork
2,537
nonfiction reading log   Homework
10,987
Quick Questions with lines for OEQ s   Starter / Do Now
7,499
Good Readers of Nonfiction...   Notes
12,822
context clues  
2,373
Incredible Insects  
4,094

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