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Pendemonium: Unnatural Selection: Quotation Marks
Pendemonium: Unnatural Selection: Quotation Marks
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Language Arts Duration: 1 class period
 



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Student Objectives
  • Identify quotation marks.
  • Categorize and demonstrate the uses of quotation marks in an observation diary.
Materials
  • Unnatural Selection: Quotation Marksvideo
  • Paper, pencils, and markers
  • Newspapers or age-appropriate works of fiction
  • Print resources
Procedures
  1. After viewing the video, reinforce the video's concepts by presenting materials from books about quotation marks listed underPrint Resources.
  2. Review the uses of quotation marks. Ask students to provide examples of direct quotations, words they can emphasize with quotation marks, and titles that require quotation marks.
  3. Discuss the uses of direct quotations. Draw attention to their placement depending on the quotation’s position within a sentence, as well as the ending punctuation (period or comma). Tell students that quotation marks are also used for book chapters, articles, episodes of television shows, songs, stories, and poems. Write these uses on the board.
  4. Ask students to find direct quotations in works of fiction or newspapers. Have students rewrite a few sentences without quotation marks and discuss how the sentences' meanings can change without the use of quotation marks. Have them also find newspaper headlines and article titles and practice using quotation marks with titles.
  5. Review the setting ofUnnatural Selection: Quotation Marksand the animals the four characters saw in the Galapagos Islands. Explain that Charles Darwin’s scientific conclusions were based on careful observations recorded in diaries.
  6. Ask students to make their own diaries using memories of the previous day's activities and conversations. Remind students that their main objective is to demonstrate the correct use of quotation marks. Encourage students to record their daily observations, including school events, after-school activities, conversations with their friends and family, music they listened to, or television programs they watched.
  7. Make a list on the board with daily events the students can recall and record in their diaries. Refer students to the list of the uses of quotation marks and direct them to begin their own diaries. Tell students that these diaries should not refer to personal events, but should instead maintain a scientific tone of observation. Remind them to focus on details.
  8. Have volunteers read some entries and explain their uses of quotation marks.
  9. Create a classroom bulletin board about quotation marks and display pages from student diaries.

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Assessment
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points: Students clearly identified at least three uses of quotation marks; constructed a scientific diary full of details and different types of quotation marks; clearly demonstrated the importance of observing details in a scientific manner.
  • 2 points: Students identified three uses of quotation marks; constructed a scientific diary with some details and some types of quotation marks; demonstrated the importance of observing details in a scientific manner.
  • 1 point: Students were unable to identify three uses of quotation marks; failed to construct a scientific diary with details or any types of quotation marks; did not demonstrate the importance of observing details in a scientific manner.

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Vocabulary
details
Definition:Small and intricate characteristics that make something unique
Context:Sherlock Holmes was a great detective because he noticed details that others missed.

direct quotation
Definition:The exact words spoken by a person, placed within quotation marks
Context:The principal wrote a direct quotation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "I have a dream today."

observation
Definition:The process of using all five senses to closely examine a subject
Context:Josh made a careful observation of his cereal this morning and concluded it was oatmeal with raisins.

scientific diary
Definition:A place to record scientific observations
Context:The scientific diary has observations on page 3 about last night's dinner.

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Print Resources
  • Angelillo, Janet.A Fresh Approach to Teaching Punctuation. Teaching Resources, 2002. This source uses mini-lessons, partner and group activities, and familiar authors to help students understand and use punctuation. All grades.
  • Collins, Susan.Quotation Marks: Teaching the Basics about Quotation Marks, Without Putting Students to Sleep. Cottonwood Press, 1999. Uses a monster theme and language students can understand; students write their own material. All grades.
  • Halverson, Jim.Punctuation Puzzles and Mazes: Ready-to-Go Reproducibles. Scholastic, 2001. Ages 9–12. Teacher-friendly publication that uses games to teach punctuation. Grades 4–7.
  • Jarnicki, Harold.No Boring Practice, Please! Punctuation and Capitalization. Teaching Resources, 2005. Engaging practice pages and easy-to-score quizzes help students learn and teachers assess. Includes crosswords, word searches, and other activities. Grades 4–7.

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Academic Standards
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
The National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching the English language arts. To view the standards online, go tohttp://www.ncte.org/about/over/standards/110846.htm.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K–12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visithttp://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Language Arts: Viewing - Uses conventions of punctuation in written compositions (e.g., quotation marks)
  • Science: Scientific Method - Knows that good scientific explanations are based on evidence (observations) and scientific knowledge

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