Teaching Curriculum


Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) is the teaching of grade-level subject matter in English specifically designed for speakers of other languages. It is most appropriate for students who have reached an intermediate level of proficiency in English (speaking, comprehension, reading and writing) and who possess basic literacy skills in their home language(1)*. The strategies are also effective for use with monolingual English speaking middle through high school students.

  • INTO activities and strategies prepare the learner before reading the text.
  • THROUGH activities and strategies guide learner collaboratively through the text.
  • BEYOND activities and strategies extend the learner’s understanding beyond the text.

INTO, THROUGH and BEYOND are the lesson plans developed to interact with the Zoot Suit Discovery Guide. Each of these lesson plans should take three to four class sessions, depending on how many additional activities you use and whether students read independently or collaboratively. In the breakdown below the teaching curriculum has been divided into Part 1a & b, Part 2a & b, and Part 3a &b. Each part provides a variety of activities/strategies to help students through the Zoot Suit Discovery Guide. (2)*

    Part 1a INTO – Zoot Suit: The Production & From Mexico to the United States
    Part 1b THROUGHBEYOND – Zoot Suit: The Production & From Mexico to the United States
    Part 2a INTO – Mexican Americans in World War II & L.A. in the Zoot Suit Era
    Part 2b THROUGH, BEYONDMexican Americans in World War II & L.A. in the Zoot Suit Era
    Part 3a INTO – Sleepy Lagoon Murder Trial of 1942 & The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943
    Part 3b THROUGH, BEYONDSleepy Lagoon Murder Trial of 1942 & Zoot Suit Riots of 1943

These lesson plans are designed to be flexible and adaptable for your personal use and can be assigned as homework. We would suggest using all of the INTO activities for each lesson as provided. You may vary the THROUGH activities, since these are teacher-directed and instead use the Directed Reading with Numbered Heads and Dialogue Reading for the sections whenever it works for you and your students. You do not have to use each and every exercise. Sometimes you may have students read sections silently or in a group setting. It is also important for students to come up with their own questions. The sentences starters in the Literature Log help connect the text to the students’ lives as they write. We have also included a variety of BEYOND activities to help students extend their understanding.


  • Prediction Activity
      Directed Seeing Thinking Activity (DSTA) engages students to make predictions on a hidden image or picture, which the teacher reveals one piece at a time, like a puzzle. The students verify and change their predictions based on evidence. This can be done with a transparency on the overhead or projected on a power point. This activity is usually used to introduce a new theme of study.
      Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA) uses text instead of a visual. One sentence or phrase is revealed at a time. Students make predictions on the text based on the evidence.
  • Language Connection introduces key vocabulary in the text. Students collaborate with their peers, using the context of the sentence to find the correct definition of the word.
  • Anticipatory Guide engages the reader by activating their prior knowledge about a topic by asking if they agree or disagree with the statement. Students check for accuracy of their predictions after reading the text, with evidence and deep processing.
  • Compare/Contrast Matrix, before reading the text, the students fill out the first column, drawing from their own experience. Once they have read the text, they will fill out the rest of the matrix as a way to summarize the key points/questions in the left column.


  • Directed Reading with Numbered Heads is used as a THROUGH activity to guide students to read collaboratively in small groups of four or five. (3)* Students are numbered off in their groups. The teacher asks a question and directs the students to read a small portion of the text. Time is called, the question repeated and students talk with their group members to discuss possible answers. The teacher calls out a number and the student with that number in every group stands and answers the question without repeating any previous response.
  • Dialogue Reading read a section of the text out loud, when there are lots of quotations and the text is of high interest. Students volunteer or are assigned roles. The part of the narrator should be read by a proficient reader or the teacher. Once the text is read/acted out, you may use Numbered Heads to direct a conversation about what was just read.


  • Reflection Logs provide a place to reflect on what they know, what they don’t know, what they want to learn, and how it relates to their lives. It allows students to make personal connections to what they’re learning. Entries are done frequently and may or may not be corrected for spelling or mechanics. They are dated and organized chronologically and provide a record of students’ progress over time. (4)*
  • Story Map retraces the play’s story in order to understand more fully the ideas and history presented in the play.  Students will write the following; the playwright’s name, the play’s setting, a list of the lead characters, the main problem facing the characters, a list of the events that transpired in the play and a conclusion.
  • Open Mind asks students to place themselves in the minds of the central characters of the play to give them the opportunity to think more deeply about the character’s motivation. Using the diagram of a head, students will fill the empty space with their impressions.


*For endnotes click here.

Janet Johns, Abriendo Caminos
Migrant Education, Region XI
Curriculum for the Zoot Suit Discovery Guide, 2009