21st Century Lesson Plan

Jake Jewett

CEP 810

Twenty-First Century Lesson Plan

Grade: 4th

Common Core State Standards:

Reading Standards:

RL.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

RL.5.9 Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

Writing Standards:

W.5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

W.5.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.

W.5.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Language Standards:

L.5.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.5.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.5.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.


I can…

  • Understand the elements of the mystery genre.
  • Write a mystery using the writing process.
  • Show my learning through the use of technology.

Technology required:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Student chosen Apps (if needed)
  • iPods (if needed)
  • Microphone

Mystery Book List:

  • The Westing Game
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Egypt Game
  • No Place Like Holmes


Students will be working in groups and with partners to help solidify understanding.  Students will also be able to receive modified assignments if necessary.  The teacher will be meeting with one group each class period.


This lesson consists of three parts; reading, writing and publishing.  The first part is utilizing the site Edmodo to facilitate literature group discussions and complete assignments.  The second part of the lesson consists of students showing what they have learned by writing a creative story and publishing it using their program of choice.



The lesson will be introduced by the teacher defining the mystery genre.  The teacher and students will give examples of different types of mysteries.  The teacher will discuss what needs to be included in a mystery by going over plot, setting, characters, problem, and conclusion.  The teacher will create a poster of the specific components that defines a mystery.  Each book will be introduced by showing a video clip about the book.  The students will give their top three choices of the books they want to read.  The teacher will place students into groups based on what books they want to read and their reading levels.  Every group will be assigned a book from the mystery genre.

After the groups have been chosen, the students will receive a literature circle calendar to map out their reading over the next few weeks.  This calendar will then be put into the Edmodo group page to help keep students on track.  The teacher will discuss expectations for online responses and discuss the different roles of students.  For the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will act as the facilitator for each group.  They will ask the questions that promote discussions on specific components of the book.  The students are expected to respond at least twice to the question whether it is replying to the teacher’s post or replying to another student’s post.  The teacher will check in with each group frequently to make sure that students are on the right track and to provide guidance for understanding.

Questions students will answer in their group discussion board are:

  • What is the setting of the story?
  • What is the main problem/crime that has taken place?
  • How is this story different from other stories you have read?
  • How does the setting create the feeling of suspense or mystery?

Students will answer these questions and build off of other students’ understandings to help them solidify their own understanding of the setting of a mystery.

The next set of questions will deal with the characters.  The students will choose the main character from the story and describe their personality and how it fits in with the mystery genre.  The student will then add on to this discussion by determining the point of view from which the story was told and how this effects how they understand the story.

The final set of questions given by the teacher will be about the clues that were given to help solve the mystery.  The students will keep a journal of what they have read and write down any clues that the story gives them.  They will then follow each clue with a prediction about how to solve the mystery.

After the first three questions, the teacher will have modeled being the facilitator and the students will then take turns taking this role asking questions that are specific about their book.  The students must get their questions approved by the teacher before posting them onto the group discussion board.  This must occur two days before the intended response.  Teacher guidance will be necessary for this task.

Students will be assessed on the number and quality of their responses.  They need to have capital letters and proper punctuation along with proper spelling of grade level words.  After the students are done reading their book, they will take an Accelerated Reader Comprehension Assessment over the book they read.


After the students have finished reading, they will be working individually to write a mystery story using the components discussed in their literature book.  The curriculum that will be used to teach the writing process is Write Steps.  The students will start their writing plan by giving who, what, when, where, and why as well as choosing their villain and coming up with three clues they want to use in their mystery.  Students will learn how to come up with a creative lead into their story and how to unfold their plot creatively through the introduction of characters, setting, main problem/crime, and conclusion.  The teacher will discuss all of the six traits of writing and how to incorporate each one into their writing.  Students will be graded using the six point writing scale from the Write Steps unit.


After students have completed the writing process, they will begin to create a storybook with illustrations to go along with their writing.  Students can choose from the following programs: imovie, Photostory, Moviemaker, Prezi, or PowerPoint.  To launch this project, the teacher will show students examples of projects using different programs to give them an idea of what the final product should look like.  The teacher will then go over expectations for the project.  The students will need to choose the program they want to use.  Students who are using the same program will be put into groups.  Once in these groups, students will be taught how to use the program by tutorials and with teacher guidance.  While working on their individual projects, students will also be in their small groups so they can help each other.

For the final part of the project, students must post their presentation to Edmodo.  Students will then be given time to look at other projects and make positive comments to each other.  The teacher will go through and grade each project using the writing rubric along with the presentation rubric provided in the Write Steps curriculum.


In the beginning of a student’s educational career, the initial and one of the most important focuses is reading.  This focus continues throughout their education and grows as they get older.  By the time they have hit middle elementary age, the task of reading, answering comprehension questions, and writing a book report becomes tedious and overdone.  Our job as teachers is to make learning fun and exciting as well as to best accommodate for our learners.

In order to accommodate for our students, we must understand how they learn.  The clientele we are currently teaching have experienced a greater range of technology and have access to large amounts of resources.  Using a computer, cell phone, and iPod are of second nature to this generation of students.  These students are different learners, and teachers must be cognizant of this when planning lessons.

Literacy is no longer just text but instead is a variety of media and formats.  These concepts are often known as, “21st Century Literacy.”  Twenty-First Century Skills include being able to develop proficiency with the tools of technology as well as create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts.  As educators, we need to become familiar with these standards and include them in our everyday teaching.

In order to reach our students and be highly effective teachers, we must utilize technology and the multitude of resources out there.  The use of technology in the classroom will accommodate for our students who are multiprocessing problem-solvers and to help teach 21st Century Skills.  The use of online and collaborative communication can be an effective way to implement technology into your classroom.

There are many ways to utilize technology in the classroom.   I focused on utilizing an online discussion where students are more engaged and can build off other students’ understanding.  In addition, I incorporated students having the ability to innovate and use their own tools to show their learning and understanding.


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