November 13, 2016
by Catherine Crider
Lesson Plan:

Mini Dictionaries!

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At the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify what a glossary is and use one to obtain desired information.

(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Show students a dictionary. If students have not spent much time with a dictionary before, allow them to look through and explore the dictionary.
  • Ask students to think about everything they know about dictionaries and how they work. (Guide students to notice things like its alphabetical nature and that it includes a word/definition.) Record student answers on the board where students can see them.
(5 minutes)
  • Now, show students the glossary at the end of the textbook. What features do they notice?
  • Ask students to compare what they see in the glossary to the list they just made on the board for a dictionary. Does it have the same features?
  • Explain to students that glossaries are really like mini dictionaries found at the back of books to help readers quickly understand specific words and ideas found in the book.
  • Ask students to point out where some words and definition/key ideas are in the glossary at the end of the textbook. Remind students that if they know what word they are looking for, they can look it up alphabetically in the glossary.
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out the Glossary worksheet to students.
  • Go over the glossary on the worksheet as a class. Note its alphabetical order, where the key words can be found, and read the definition/key information side.
  • Do the first one or two questions as a class to double-check student understanding. If necessary, stop and take a moment to discuss any confusion students may be having.
  • Before sending students back to their seats, ask if there are any final questions. Remind students of any classroom rules that are applicable during independent work times.
(10 minutes)
  • While students are working independently/in small groups, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and redirecting students as necessary. In order to foster creativity and silence, light music can be playing in the background.
  • Support: For English Language Learners, providing books with glossaries in their native languages can be useful. For students who would benefit from orally talking through the use of a glossary and the information found inside one, the use of a partner can provide a scaffold. Posting an alphabet in the room can help students to locate words alphabetically.
  • Enrichment: For students who need an extra challenge, creating their own glossary can be a fun activity. Students can choose a piece of writing or have appropriate literature provided. Then, they should choose key vocabulary from the text to define and provide simple definitions. Finally, they can put all of this information in alphabetical order.
  • If students create their own glossaries as an activity extension, it can be fun for students to type these out and produce a more formal “published” version to share with their peers and friends.
(5 minutes)
  • Students can be informally assessed on their knowledge and enthusiasm based on their participation in class discussions and activities.
  • Students can be more formally assessed based on the number of correct answers they are able to provide on the Glossary worksheet.
  • For an additional form of assessment, students can be assigned to create their own glossary on a chosen topic (or a topic of their choice) as homework. These should be in alphabetical order and include key words and simple definitions and facts.
(5 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Go over the Glossary worksheet as a class. Were some questions confusing? Do students understand why they missed any they did?
  • Remind students that glossaries are really like mini dictionaries found at the back of books to help readers quickly understand specific words and ideas found in the book.
  • Encourage students to include a glossary as part of their next writing exercise!

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