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Teacher Lesson Return to "Raising Money for the March of Dimes"
Raising Money for the March of Dimes
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ELA Literacy & Social and Emotional Learning
Raising Money for the March of Dimes


Story Summary: When Joel learns that his favorite teacher’s newborn twins’ have serious health complications, he develops a great sense of empathy. After a charity pays for the twins’ medical support, Joel’s teacher asks him to give back to this charity and he does without hesitation. By doing this for his teacher, he realizes he can make a difference and continues to raise awareness for the charity’s mission.

Lesson Objectives and Common Core Connections
• Students make personal connections to a text and successfully participate in story-based activities and discussions.
• Students have an opportunity to consider making choices based on a realistic evaluation of the consequences of their actions on the well-being of themselves and others.
• Students Students will respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives (CCLS SL.1).
• Students Students will read and comprehend literary nonfiction proficiently (CCLS R.10).
• Students Students will write routinely over extended and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences (CCLS W.10).

Before Reading the Story (10 min)
This opening activity will activate background knowledge to boost reading comprehension and set the emotional tone for the story.

1. Welcome students to the group. Introduce the lesson by telling them you will be reading a true story by a teen who finds a cause he cares about when he helps a favorite teacher.

2. Introduce the freewrite activity by explaining that students will have about four minutes to respond to a prompt in writing. The goal is to express their thoughts freely without worrying about writing conventions. The expectation is that everyone writes, without stopping, for the full time. (Note: writing lists and/or drawing with labels are modifications that support diverse learners.)

3. Freewrite prompt: “Think of a time when you decided to help someone, or wish that you had. What was the situation? Was it someone you knew or a stranger? How did you help or wish you had helped? How did you feel?”

4. After students have completed the freewrite, transition to a pair share. Students should select a partner or turn to the person next to them.

5. Pair share directions: Facing each other, and practicing active listening, partners should each take a turn sharing their responses to the freewrite prompt. Each speaker will have two minutes to talk and is in charge of what they choose to share from their writing. The listener does not need to respond. You can use a timer or wait until the hum of conversation dies down before closing the activity.

6. Facilitate a large group discussion: Bring pairs back into the large group and ask the following questions:
• What are ways that we can help others?
• What are reasons we want to help other people?
• How does helping others make us feel?

During Reading (20 min)
By practicing active reading strategies while reading aloud and discussing as a group, students build comprehension and support fluency.

1. Introduce the story (see the summary above).

2. Share the expectations for a group read-aloud: volunteers take turns reading aloud as much or as little as they would like. As the teacher, you may stop periodically to discuss or check in on active reading by asking students to share their responses to the story.

3. Tell students they will practice an active reading strategy called reading for a purpose. This will help them read for a purpose and be prepared to use the text in later activities.

4. Reading for a purpose directions: Write a star in the margin of the story when Joel does something positive. Write a “!” in the margin of the story when it makes you think about a cause you care about or helping.

5. While sitting in a circle, read the story aloud together. Stop to discuss periodically, supporting peer-to-peer talk and non-judgmental listening. To do this, ask for volunteers to share what they wrote a star and “!” next to and why. Alternately, you can pose an open question such as “What stands out to you in this section and why?”

6. Next, ask the group to consider these questions:
• What did Joel learn about himself by raising money for charity?
• How did Joel’s reasons for helping change over the course of the story?
• Does anyone connect with Joel’s story? How?

After Reading the Story (15 min)
During this post-reading activity students will make connections, build understanding, and rehearse positive behaviors.

1. Introduce the poster writing activity by explaining to the group that they will be thinking about the causes they care about and exploring ways that they can help others.

2. Read the following quote from the story to the group: “I’ve realized that all my life I’ve been the one needing support and help. I never thought that while being young, I could be the one that can also help when someone needs it.”

3. After reading this quote, explain to the group that, like Joel, we can all find ways to lend our support to those that need it, whether it is a family member, a teacher, a stranger, or a group of people.

4. Then explain that students will be creating a poster that showcases a cause they care about. The poster should educate and inspire teens in their school to get involved. Let them know they can refer to the parts of the story where they wrote an “!” in the margins to help them.

5. Read aloud poster guidelines that you’ve posted in the room:
Using words, pictures and symbols, create your poster. Think about including:
• Cause you care about or are interested in
• Why it’s important to you
• Who it helps and how
• Why others should support this cause
• How teens can get involved with this cause

6. Have students create their posters. When most students have finished their posters, ask for volunteers to share them with the larger group. If possible, have students hang up their posters in school hallways or a heavy-traffic area where all can see.

7. Thank students for being thoughtful members of the group and working to make connections to Joel’s story, reflect on their own lives, and share with one another.
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[Other Teacher Resources]
(NYC-2015-11-09)

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