A lesson I have used for the last 2 years uses a paragraph from the book Charlotte's Web. It involves a barn and a great description of the smell and look of the barn - including some words/items in the text that the students may not have ever seen or experienced. I typically either leave out some of the harder items (harness dressing), but still use it as it creates a great visual.
The one thing that I didn't count on was made clear in our discussion of their drawings of their "mind movie."
One of the students went into great detail about this magnificent barn:
He started with:
"It was huge, I'm imagining the size of our quad (our building), and it has a top that is rounded like this." He showed his image. He was on a roll, but I wanted more. I started asking questions about his barn that he hadn't included.
"Wow - a huge barn with a rounded top! I'm starting to see one in my head now, too! What color is your barn?"
Purple. Suddenly I became very aware at what I was missing. These kids don't know barns. They know fictional barns painted in bright colors in various books. They know underwater barns on SpongeBob or some other show they stare at. However, they probably have not ever seen a real barn. Perhaps some of them remember a field trip way back in Kindergarten. Most not. Most weren't even in our country in Kindergarten.
Shame on me for forgetting my audience.
So, adding to the curriculum (a common occurrence in my classroom) - Barn 101. (Not to include cartoon barns).