Discipline: English/Language Arts

(Scope and Sequence: Quarter 3, approximately two to three weeks)

Grade Level: Middle Grades

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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The Power of Language (Communication is More than Language)
  • Background to Share with Students
    • This language arts module addresses the role of power of language in different forms, including prose and poetry, as well as literary and nonliterary forms. It is intended in part to help you become aware of using language more effectively.


      How does language structure shape meaning? After reading "Birches," "Trees," "Thirteen Ways with Figs," and "Fig Butter Recipe," write an essay that compares the effects of different language structures on meaning.

  • Task/Texts
    • Teaching Task

      Task 23- Informational or Explanatory/ Comparison L1

      [Insert question] After reading _______ (literature or informational texts), write a/an ________(essay, report, or substitute) that compares _______ (content).

      If possible, invite older students to visit your class to share your students' essays while enjoying the pizza your students prepared from the recipe in the Student Reader.

      Reading Texts

      See materials list.

      Extension (Optional)
      Collect student essays into a bound volume with a copy of the original texts from the student reader: Circulate through the classroom library (and school media center?).
  • Content Standards
    • Standards Source: Number: Content Standards:

      The CCR Anchor Standards from the Common Core State Standards Reading and Writing are already identified by the Literacy Design Collaborative for all information or explanatory tasks. This module includes Speaking and Listening.


      Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


      Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.


      Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


      Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

  • Reading Standards for Informational or Explanatory
    • "Built-In" Reading Standards "When Appropriate" Reading Standards (applicable in black)
      • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
      • Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
      • Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
      • Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
      • Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
      • Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
      • Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
      • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
      • Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
      • Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • Writing Standards for Informational or Explanatory
    • "Built-In" Writing Standards "When Appropriate" Writing Standards (applicable in black)
      • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
      • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
      • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audience.
      • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
      • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
      • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
      • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
      • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Scoring Rubric for Informational or Explanatory Template Tasks
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