Lesson Packets

In honor of our 20th Anniversary, we are creating lesson packets with Change Agent articles from across issues. Check back to see as new packets are added. Have you mined The Change Agent for interesting groupings of articles? Send us your ideas! If your lesson idea is selected, we would like to share it with others and give you a free one-year individual subscription in return. Is there a topic you would like to see us explore? Leave a note in the comments and let us know about it.

These lesson packets are freely available for you to download, edit, and use. We hope that you’ll let us know who you are so that we can notify you when new lesson packets or other resources are added to the site.

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**NEW election year Lesson packet**nash extra image

Race and Voting Rights in 2016: Lesson Ideas

Use the context of this election year to explore voting rights in the past and present. This packet includes pre- and post-activities, the hands-on History of Voting Rights activity, a link to a history of voting rights video, an article by Andy Nash on race and voting rights, and more stories and facts and figures about current voting restrictions.

Download level 10 version for advanced learners.
Download level 6 version for intermediate learners.


Packet 1: Learn Writing by Studying a Writer

T. Lovett ArticleOur first in a new series of teacher resources is an exploration of three articles written by Timothy Lovett published in three different issues of The Change Agent (Good Jobs, Not Just Any Jobs; All About Food; and Prisons and Justice?) The articles are accompanied by a lesson plan that is aligned to the College and Career Readiness Standards. This lesson plan zeroes in on writing anchor standards 1-5, breaking them down into plain English, providing you with a way to teach them to students, and offering student writing that models the anchor standards for your learners. You, as the teacher, get a clear-cut way to address standards, and your students get the added motivation of learning the standards not from an expert, but from someone just like them — a student who is modeling increasing mastery of writing skills — and at the same time writing about interesting topics in a sometimes humorous and always compelling way.

Download Packet 1: Teach Writing by Studying Writers


Packet 2: Exploring Ratio by Looking at Prison Statistics

prison population graph

This lesson is meant to supplement instruction on ratio and is aimed at those who are comfortable or getting comfortable at Level C in the CCR standards. This lesson first explores ratio and then offers students the opportunity to think critically about ratio in the context of socially relevant data presented in two kinds of charts. Answer sheets are provided – for the teacher’s reference only or to share with students – your choice.

Download Packet 2: Exploring Ratio by Looking at Prison Statistics 


Packet 3: Thinking About Becoming a CNA?

lesson3This lesson is designed to provide CCR-aligned activities in the context of content that provides information about work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). The readings are GLE 5-8.

Download Packet 3: Thinking About Becoming a CNA?


Packet 4: Workplace Safety — Learn It and Teach It


This lesson is designed to increase reading, math, and presentation skills in the context of materials that explain health and safety laws as well as specific practices that workers – particularly those in environmental services or housekeeping – can use to stay safe on the job. Since one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it, this lesson plan includes the opportunity for students to teach what they have learned.

Download Packet 4: Workplace Safety – Learn It and Teach It


Packet 5: Reading Partners

students at tableThis rich lesson packet provides relevant reading and writing opportunities, builds relationships between immigrant students and other receiving community members, and helps English Language Learners connect with community resources. In “Reading Partners,” English language learners and members of receiving communities read one or two selected articles from The Change Agent and then use the writing prompts to engage in an exchange of ideas, experiences, and perspectives about the article topic. There are eight articles to choose from – articles about moving to a new community, work, health, schooling and parenting.

The aim of this activity is to use text as a way to get people from different communities talking (through writing) about topics of common interest. Programs that have partnerships with local organizations can use the activities to bring students into conversation with these partners (health care providers who want to connect with immigrants about health, employers who are interested in hiring immigrants, etc.). However, there are many opportunities to communicate across communities right in our own programs: this activity could be carried out by ABE and ESL classes that partner to read and correspond about the same articles, by program volunteers that partner with students, or by diverse student pairs in one classroom.

Download Packet 5: Reading Partners


PACKET 6: celebrating freedom on juneteenth: Reading closely, studying further, and learning mechanics at three levels

“Juneteenth at Oak Bluffs” by Sonia Sadler. Used with permission from Inez Sadler.

“Juneteenth at Oak Bluffs” by Sonia Sadler. Used with permission from Inez Sadler.

“Juneteenth” is the celebration of June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas learned they were free – two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This activity includes text (at three different grade level equivalents or GLEs) and art work. The text shares a family’s oral account of being slaves in Texas in 1865 when word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached them, a description of Juneteenth celebrations in Texas, and the ways an artist has preserved family history with her artwork. Students also have a chance to look at and analyze two full-color paintings by Sonia Sadler. The text is available at three different levels (GLE 4, 7 and 10). The aim of this activity is to provide students with an engaging, relevant text that allows them to develop key reading and writing skills and knowledge about U.S. history.

Instructions for Lesson packet #6

Download one or more texts for Packet 6: GLE 04, GLE 07, GLE 10


Packet 7: Joys and Challenges of Holidays: Gathering Evidence from the Text

fireworksUse the graphic organizer we provide (p. 36) or create your own to help students analyze four essays about holidays. They will investigate the text to find what the author says are “fun aspects” of the holiday as well as “challenging aspects” of the holiday, and they will write a paragraph based on the essays. The four essays are: “Christmas Changed” (also available in audio on The Change Agent website) by Diana Solorzano, “Taking the Good with the Bad” by Gregory Parker, “Celebrating Eid” by Nuzhat Jahan, and “My Diwali” by Sue Byman. The holidays also represent diverse religious traditions — Christmas (Christian), Eid (Muslin), and Diwali (Hindu) — so these texts also lend themselves to social studies explorations, such as geography, world religions, immigration patterns, and more. The texts used are levels 7-8 (grade level equivalent). CCR standards addressed are Level D (GLE 6-8.9). The aim of this activity is to provide students with engaging, relevant stories that help them practice the important CCR skill of using evidence from the text to be able to explain what the author is saying.

Download Packet 7: Joys and Challenges of Holidays

Packet 8: Write to the Writer by Gale Czerski


This lesson packet provides students with the opportunity to write back to Change Agent writers.

Find a description of Lesson Packet 8 here with downloadable articles and worksheets.

Packet 9: Making sense of Extreme Inequality (and Scaffolding to Complex Text)

income inequality chart

Use these four articles from The Change Agent to examine extreme inequality and to consider the policy changes over the past 50 years that have increased wealth and income inequality. During the course of this lesson, students will be scaffolded to read a fairly complex text.

Download Packet 9: Making Sense of Extreme Inequality

PACKET 10: Taking action at work

living wage protestUse this selection (or a subset of the selection) of multi-level articles written
(mostly) by students to teach reading skills and to spark discussion about the role of workers in determining what happens in the workplace.

Download Packet 10: Taking Action at Work

7 thoughts on “Lesson Packets

  1. How about caregiving, the baby boomers need CNA’s they all need assistant.
    Certified Nursing Assistants are on a RISE!

  2. We must be careful of overrepresentation. It’s the lucrative and privileged careers that workers of color are NOT on the rise in that concern me.

    • Hello Rhodeisland — So true! The careers that are growing rapidly are mostly low-paid, ladder-less positions. And people of color are way over-represented in those. Just as people of color are way over-represented in prisons. Despite enormous effort and social justice organizing over many decades, the system is not color-blind. We still have work to do! How can the field of adult ed. do its part to address the ways that systemic racism shows itself in our work?

  3. You cannot support a family working as a CNA. I always urge people who want to be a CNA (because it’s a short training and doesn’t require a HS diploma), to think more long term. I urge them to consider the next step to to LPN or RN, both of which pay a living wage.

  4. Maureen — very good point. Most (all?) CNA salaries do not provide a living wage. (Some CNAs in unions have wage and benefit packages that perhaps approach a living wage.) Looking at that fact would be a great addition to this lesson packet. And considering career options beyond CNA is another good extension. Thank you!

  5. I am truly excited to begin my journey into this new forum. I will soon be chatting w/a colleague who has been using the magazine for some time now in her classroom. I look forward to engaging my students (reading and writing) as well w/this new discovery.

    I will also continue to look for more math work as I teach the fundamentals of math as well. I found the ratio on prisons to be pertinent to the clientele I work with as well.

    The fact that the CCRS are right there for me to review is also a bonus.

    I am so glad to be on board.

    I tip my bonnet off to all of you who put this together. I can see the care and love that goes into this magazine through the readings and work that surrounds it for use in the classrooms. AND I love love love that Adult learners are involved.

  6. Paula — thanks so much for your words of encouragement! It means a lot to us to hear how people are using the materials. As you try things out in the classroom, please do get back to us and let us know how it goes.
    all the best,

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