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? Contact us and let us know about it.
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- Learn Writing by Studying a Writer
- Exploring Ratio by Looking at Prison Statistics
- Thinking About Becoming a CNA?
- Workplace Safety – Learn It and Teach It
- Reading Partners
- Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth: Reading Closely, Studying Further, and Learning Mechanics at Three Levels
- Joys and Challenges of Holidays: Gathering Evidence from the Text
- Write to the Writer by Gale Czerski
- Making Sense of Extreme Inequality (and Scaffolding to Complex Text)
- Taking Action at Work
- Race and Voting Rights in 2016: Lesson Ideas
- Facing Racism
- Women Dealing with Domestic Violence
- Homework Swap
- Hair Care Recipes
- Using Math to Start a Poultry Farm
- Indigenous People’s issue: Beginning Literacy Adaptations
- Summer Reading Log
- Become a Census 2020 Ambassador
- Help Someone Understand the Census (beginner, intermediate and advanced)
- How to Fill Out the Questionnaire
- Avoid Hoaxes, Scams, and Rumors
- Become a Voting Ambassador
- Voter Suppression vs. Fraud
PACket 1: Learn Writing by Studying a Writer
Our 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.
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.
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.
This 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.
PACKET 6: celebrating freedom on juneteenth: Reading closely, studying further, and learning mechanics at three levels
“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.
Use 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 (Muslim), 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.
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.
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.
Use 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.
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.
- “Existing While Black”: A Worksheet for ESOL Learners by Lisa Gimbel
A 4-page worksheet with pre-reading activities (including definition of expressions and practice with expressions, vocabulary, and slang) and post-reading activities (including basics, language review, and comprehension).
- “Best Practices for Talking about Race” by Lisa Gimbel and Riva Pearson
A collection wide-ranging tips from personal practice to curriculum to program and community-wide ideas.
- “Who Paved the Way?” by Kathleen Budway
Pre- and post-activities (plus handouts) you can use with a short film made by an ESOL teacher in which her students talk about how it affected them to study African-American history and current events.
- “Preparing My Students to Write about Race” by Hazel Robin
A teacher shares how she introduced The Change Agent “Call for Articles” on the theme of race. Rather than starting out by asking students to speak from experience, she asks them to conduct research and learn some science behind race. Creating an evidence-based context, she then invites them to respond to The Change Agent writing prompts.
- “Exploring Racism: Police, Stereotypes, and the Possibility of a Better World” by Manny Reynoso
A teacher-created lesson that explores the definition of racism and incorporates a first-person story by someone who grew up afraid of the police. Finally, the lesson explores the possibility of a better world — using a video and discussion prompts.
- “The Construction of Race in the U.S.: An Early History” by Cynthia Peters
This is a GLE 10 version of the GLE 6 article by the same name that appears on p. 22 of the “Talking about Race” issue. It includes CCR-aligned activities at the end.
- “Using Sources: Unpacking a Well-Researched Article” by Kathleen O’Connell
This activity, based on “The ‘Chief Illiniwek’ Half-Time Show” on p. 8 of the Race issue, helps students examine and assess sources.
- “Race and Voting Rights in 2016: Lesson Ideas” — by Andy Nash and Cynthia Peters
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. Two versions are available:
– Race and Voting Rights in 2016 for advanced learners (Level 10)
– Race and Voting Rights in 2016 for intermediate learners (Level 6)
This packet contains three articles from Issue #19 of The Change Agent, “Women and Literacy.” Two of the articles by practitioners reveal the effect of violence and domestic abuse on women learners. A third article, written by a learner, tells a story of trauma and resilience.
Packet 14: Homework swap
The activity in this packet is modeled after the famous “Yankee Swap” party game. In this version, participants draw an assignment and then can swap assignments if there’s one they prefer – so there are lots of opportunities for students to talk to each other as they navigate all the swapping.
Use this collection of homemade of hair care recipes to practice reading, writing, and math. Take it further by creating a class recipe book of DIY personal care products and perhaps making some in class to use and/or share as gifts.
This true story about starting a poultry farm, written by an immigrant learner in Colorado, is a great way to teach math, reading, writing, and spreadsheet skills in a real-world context.
Download the article with discussion questions and math problems and the solutions and extensions. Get the adaptable Excel spreadsheet here and the adaptable worksheet (in Word) here.
This 13-page packet contains five pieces, all written at about a fourth grade equivalency level. All the pieces (except for the first) are adapted from articles that appear in the “Indigenous Peoples” issue of The Change Agent. If your class is multi-level, you can teach from different levels of the same piece.
Keep your students engaged with reading this summer by sharing this resource with them: a log of Change Agent articles that they read and listened to using our online audio.
• information about protecting the privacy of those who fill out the census
• an opportunity to brainstorm about ways to spread the word as Census Ambassadors
• tips & tricks for being an effective Census Ambassador + model for tracking & reflecting on the experienceA Census Ambassador is someone who understands some of the basics about the census, and as a result, feels prepared to talk to people in formal and informal settings about filling out the census. We’ve included multi-level articles, which teachers can mix and match depending on the literacy level(s) in their class. Also included: authentic documents from census.gov. These documents offer additional opportunities for students to tackle harder texts that include more visual complexity.
Census Planning and Tracking Grid. — Download Word doc and adapt as needed.
The purpose of this packet is to teach census basics, so that a student could explain what they learn to someone else. Thanks to the National Coalition for Literacy for generously supporting the development of these materials.
- The beginner packet has articles that have been adapted to be accessible for students reading at grade-level-equivalent 4. The After-You-Read activities are designed for beginners.
- The intermediate packet has a mix of articles from Level 4 to Level 6. The After-You-Read activities are modified to be intermediate level.
- The advanced packet has the same readings as the intermediate packet, but it includes the option to do additional research and learn more about how to evaluate the credibility of online sources, and it has more options for how to present the information learned.
This beginner-level lesson packet supports students to fill out the 2020 census questionnaire in three different ways. Both the PDF and online questionnaires are near exact replicas of the Census Bureau’s versions, except they are shorter. The paper copy has vocabulary and explanations on p. 2 of this packet. The online version has vocabulary and explanations embedded in the web pages.
This intermediate-level lesson packet gives students a chance to work on reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills in the context of relevant, timely information about protecting against fraud during the 2020 census.
This 10-page packet guides teachers to train students to be Voting Ambassadors. Students learn basics about voting — the issues and the procedures — and decide whether they’d like to take on the project of supporting others in their community to register and vote. Special attention given to carrying out this project-based learning opportunity safely during the pandemic. And we include a special article about voting during uncertain times. It is mostly intermediate- to advanced-level, and it gives students a chance to work on reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills in the context of a highly (!) relevant civics moment.
During the 2020 election, we are hearing a lot about both voter suppression and voter fraud. What are they? How should we evaluate the claims about them? This 5-page lesson packet offers some definitions and activities on this topic, and asks students to develop their own questions and then research the answers.