Language in the Non-Language Classroom

Emily Hodge and Jennifer Lane

Target Level: Grade 12

Subject Area: Foreign Language, History, Social Studies

Section One: Identifying All Standards And Objectives


Students will be able to identify and discuss certain ‘hot words’ from the Arabic language commonly used in the US media. Students will be able to analyze and critique the misuse of certain hot words and discuss the origin of the Arabic root words commonly misused through the media.

PA State Standards

Subject: History (out dated):

Area 8.1.: Historical Analysis and Skills Development

Grade/Course 8.1.12: Grade 12

Standard B.: Synthesize and evaluate historical sources.

Section Two: Identifying Method(S) Of Assessment And Point Of Use Throughout Lesson


What are some Arabic ‘hot words’ commonly used in the US media? i.e. Jihad, Allah, Koran etc.

Formative Assessment

Ask students in small groups or pairs to list as many hot words as they can that they have heard used through the media or through other sources they encounter day to day.

Summative Assessment

Allow students to critically analyze political cartoons presented in the Powerpoint.

Section Three: Identifying The Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies And Details As To How The Lesson Will Be Carried Out

Introduction (Hook)

What are some of the Arabic ‘hot words’ that you have heard used in the media or by other sources?

Sequence of Instruction (Step 1, Step 2)

Provide students with a copy of both the word connotation sheet and the critical media literacy sheet. Introduce the guiding question through the hook introduction. Open Powerpoint. Ask students to define what they think is meant by Arabic “hot words.” Record responses on a chalk or whiteboard. Using the Middle East word connotation page, ask students to record some of the words they presented. Allow them to decide in what ways the connotations are being used, positive, neutral or negative. Ask students to identify a pattern about the kind of connotations attached to the words used in the media. What do you notice about the continuum of words you recorded?

Next, introduce the content from the Powerpoint slides. Allow students to ask questions and make connections between the words.

Next, provide student with photocopies of the political cartoons presented beginning on slide 16. The critical media literacy worksheet is to be used to interpret the messages that have been sent out via US media. Allow students to answer the questions pertaining to the political cartoon they are analyzing. Ask each pair or group to share their interpretations with the class and the responses to the critical media literacy sheet.

Closure/Wrap up

Ask students to interpret and state how they believe the US media has positioned the Middle East and Arabic through various media outlets. The result will be an awareness that the US media has portrayed the region and the people in a less than positive light.


Permit students to ask questions and take time as they begin to decipher the meaning of hot words and the negative portrayal of Arab countries and peoples across the region of the Middle East.

Materials (Teacher and Student)


  1. Teacher workshop – Critical Media Literacy Worksheet
  2. Teacher workshop – Language in the Non-Language Classroom
  3. Teacher workshop – Middle East Word Connotations

Differentiated Instruction (Planning, Teaching and/or Assessment)

Note that for some students this may be a very controversial issue. Be aware of the individual students who may need more support while engaging in the lesson.

Use of Technology (Where appropriate)

The Powerpoint and the imagery presented in the Powerpoint should be projected for the entire class to see, read, and interpret.

Section Four: Lesson Analysis

  • What went well?
  • Planning Reflection
  • Teaching Reflection
  • Student & Evidence
  • Improvements