In class, I wrote the following sentence on the board: In many western cultures, the number XX is considered unlucky. Most of the students knew that the number 13 is considered unlucky, and then some started to mention that the date was Friday the 13th. Of course, they wanted to know why 13 was an unlucky number and why Friday the 13th is particularly unlucky. So, there you have it--one way to motivate students to read is to choose materials which are meaningful and relevant to the students' lives. For example, the reading corresponds to an issue or event that is current. Here is how the remainder of this lesson plan transpired.
After gaining the students' interest in the topic, they answer some prereading questions. Notice the key vocabulary "origin" and "superstition" are introduced here.
- What numbers are unlucky in Japan?
- Do you know the origin of these beliefs?
- Do you think that Japanese people are superstitious?
The students begin reading the article, again taken from Active Skills for Reading Book 2, and distinguish the main ideas from the details. A graphic organizer is given to the students for this purpose. I used the visual of an umbrella: the main idea is represented by the covering part of the umbrella and the details are represented by the supports for the covering part of the umbrella. Students fill in the graphic organizer and read the article. After reading, the article and their work is checked and discussed.
As a follow-up to this reading activity, I asked students to brainstorm a list of Japanese superstitions. Then, with a partner, they created posters explaining the superstition. The three requirements for the poster were a title, a picture, and a paragraph with a main idea and supporting details. Students were encouraged to include information about the origins of their superstitions. At the end of class, each poster was shared with the class.
From this activity, I learned a lot about Japanese superstitions! In addition, the students gained a better understanding of the concepts "main idea" and "details". By integrating writing, reading, artwork, and collaboration, multiple learning styles were used. And, I will try to post some of their work, if possible, so you can admire their creativity!!