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)
What
Instruction?
  • Skills Cluster 1: Preparing for the Task
    • Click here to download a pdf version of Skills Cluster 1.

      Pacing Skill and Definition Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...) Instructional Strategies

      Skills Cluster 1: Preparing for the Task

      20 - 30 minutes

      1. Bridging conversation

      Ability to recognize the curricular concepts and ideas.

      Ability to comprehend factual information related to the concepts, ideas, and seminar text.

      Mini-Task Prompt: Write a paragraph that answers the question that follows, keeping in mind our Essential Question. Be sure to give at least one specific reason or example to support your viewpoint.

      Would you rather have a recipe or a poem?

      Note: The mini-task serves as a pre-test and provides some information to teachers as to students' understandings and writing skills.

      Product: Short response in the form of a paragraph

      None

      Note: Teachers should read student responses to help them gauge students' understandings and what supports may be needed.

      • Introduce students to the key concepts and ideas: structure and meaning.
      • Have students work in pairs to trace tree leaves then take turns giving each other instructions on how to draw another leaf without seeing it. Reflect as a whole group on the details of a leaf structure. Develop a class definition of "structure."
      • Have students work in pairs to read a list of items from Pizza Recipes. Challenge them to put the instructions in order. As a pair, write a short explanation of what is included in a recipe, make a summary statement about structure.
      • Next read two "Trees" poems. On graphic organizer, students take notes about the two recipes and two poems for similarities and differences.

      Preparation:

        • Clarify the objectives for the Seminar. See pp. 23-24
        • Identify ideas and values. See pp. 25-26
        • Select text for Seminar. See pp. 27-31.

      5 - 10 minutes

      2. Task analysis

      Ability to understand and explain the task's prompt and rubric.

      Prompt: In your own words, write a brief explanation of what the task is asking you to do.

      Product: Short constructed response

      No scoring

      • Have students share responses so that students can hear/know what one another are doing, and encourage them to help each other when appropriate.
      • Review each student's response to ensure she/he understands the task. Ensure relevant reading material is selected or provided.
      • Discuss in detail the prompt, type of writing and structure, the product, and the rubric.

      PD/preparation:

      • Collaboratively plan the task: How much time to teach each step? How much time to score? How to conduct scoring? Do we need any training on specific aspects of the task? What resources can support teaching? Who has the expertise?
  • Skills Cluster 2: Reading Process
    • Click here to download a pdf version of Skills Cluster 2.

      Pacing Skill and Definition Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...) Instructional Strategies

      Skills Cluster 2: Reading Process

      5 minutes

      1. Inspectional Reading

      Ability to identify structural components of the seminar text.

      Mini-Task Prompt: Label the parts of the text by numbering the lines of the poem and circling important words. (See Resources for selections. A text may be print or visual.)

      Product: Structural notations on text

      Meets Expectations: Structural features of the text are visible and clear.

      Instructional Strategies/Notes:

      • Distribute the text and supplementary materials as needed. Having determined a simple, but logical system for marking structural features, simply guide students to replicate the process.
      • Ideally all students have a copy of the text that they can mark on, otherwise direct markings to be made on sticky notes or in another form.

      Preparation:

        • Select text(s) for Seminar. See pp. 27-31.
        • Select other supplementary readings, particularly if additional factual or contextual information is necessary, to accelerate select students as need be.

      15 minutes

      2. Essential vocabulary (on-going)

      Ability to apply strategies for developing an understanding of a text by locating words and phrases that related to key concepts and facts, or information.

      Prompt: As we read the poem together, mark words that would be unfamiliar to a student one grade below you. Discuss words with students and offer short, simple definitions/synonyms for them to place next to the words in question on the text.

      Product: Vocabulary list

      Note: Post the definitions and synonyms of difficult words.

      No scoring

      Instructional Strategies/Notes:

      Use contextual clues to identify personally relevant vocabulary. Other common approaches to illuminate vocabulary are appropriate as well.

      1 - 2 days

      3. Analytical Reading and Note-taking

      Ability to read purposefully and compare information for relevance; to summarize, paraphrase, and evaluate.

      Mini-Task Prompt:What three phrases, sentences, or images in this text remind you of something else we have studied?

      The students are instructed on their reading focus. They are to mark the text as it is read for any reactions to the lines, the order of the words, the impact of the phrases and sentences.

      Read poem aloud for second time. Have students discuss with partner how to divide it into sections.

      Product: Graphic organizer with textual notes and connections to other works

      Meets Expectations: students exhibit fully marked texts.

      Instructional Strategies/Notes:

      Having completed the Inspectional Read, students should be challenged to read the text in a developmentally appropriate fashion. After reading the text (or chunks, depending on length), students should either independently or in pairs complete the reflection required in the graphic organizer. Teacher coaching and support should be available; therefore, most reading should be conducted in class.

      After this reading, teachers should introduce the great ideas that will be the focus of the seminar discussion.

      Preparation:

      See How to Read a Book for secondary literacy strategies.

      Teachers should also be prepared to provide supplementary texts that address the same concepts and ideas to accelerate students understanding as need be.

  • Skills Cluster 3: Transition to Writing
    • Click here to download a pdf version of Skills Cluster 3.

      Pacing Skill and Definition Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...) Instructional Strategies

      Skills Cluster 3: Transition to Writing

      15 - 20 minutes

      1. Transition to Writing

      Ability to reflect and apply ideas in dialogue.

      Mini-Task Prompt: What has been discussed that related to your original thinking about a recipe and a poem?

      Would you rather have a recipe or a poem?

      Note: The mini-task serves as a pre-test and provides some information to teachers as to students' understandings and writing skills.

      Product: Reflective notes

      Meets Expectations: Student completes set of working notes.

      Instructional Strategies/Notes:

      Have students write reflective notes about the seminar discussion: capturing ideas from the discussion, adding to pre-seminar content writing, and organizing reflections.

      Use something like the sample "Reflection Questions" (Appendices) to connect the concepts and ideas from the Seminar and the writing task. May have additional reading selections to support students with continued conceptual understanding (see Student Reader for possible texts).

  • Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process
    • Click here to download a pdf version of Skills Cluster 4.

      Pacing Skill and Definition Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...) Instructional Strategies

      Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process

      1 class period

      1. Initial Essay Notes

      Ability to take general notes in organized fashion.

      Mini-Task Prompt: With your copies of "Birches" and the Pizza Recipe in hand, work with a partner to take notes on how the structure of each influences how we respond as readers. Explain how the structure of words influences meaning.

      Product: Initial notes for essay on graphic organizer (see below)

      Meets Expectations: Completed graphic organizer

      Give students a general outline for their essay with two columns: Birches (poem) and Pizza Recipe. Include a section for specific examples. The final section should include a note about advice to others.

      20 minutes

      2. Planning

      Ability to brainstorm an audience and qualities of writing for this informative writing.

      Mini-Task Prompt: Working together as a whole class, let's define our audience and then develop a list of strong characteristics for this particular type of writing.

      Product: Notes on audience and essay type

      Meets Expectations: Written notes on audience and positive characteristics.

      Provide and teach one or more examples of outlines or organizers. Invite students to generate questions in pairs about how the format works, and then take and answer questions.

      1 class period

      3. Development

      Ability to construct an initial draft with an emerging line of thought and structure.

      Mini-Task Prompt: How are poems and recipes different and similar? How do these two language structures convey different meanings?

      Read poem aloud for second time. Have students discuss with partner how to divide it into sections.

      Product: First draft of essay.

      Not scored

      Instructional Strategies/Notes:

      Provide time for students to write the first draft of their essay. Be sure all notes, graphic organizer, and texts are at hand.

      1 class period

      4. Revision

      Ability to read and give feedback.

      Mini-Task Prompt: What about your partner's essay stands out to you? What part isn't yet clear to you? Revise your first draft after considering your partner's or others responses.

      Product: Revised first draft

      Meets Expectations: Complete second draft of multi-paragraph informational or explanatory essay

      Model useful feedback that balances support for strengths and clarity about weaknesses.

      Assign students to provide each other with feedback on those issues.

      1 - 2 class periods

      5. Editing

      Ability to edit informational or explanatory draft for grammar and spelling conventions.

      Mini-Task Prompt:

      Teaching Point—Punctuation has purpose.

      Complete a punctuation inquiry to identify the reasons authors use punctuation in their writing.

      Use "Circus Dad" to study the author's choice of punctuation. Create a chart:

      Symbol / Name / Purpose (Why it's there/What it does)

      Look at your own draft and review your use of punctuation. Does it serve a purpose? Does it do it well? Make changes as needed.

      Use teacher's text to find subjects and predicates that agree and don't agree. Discuss changes that should be made. In pairs, look at your drafts and analyze your subjects and predicates. Make changes as needed.

      Write a final draft of your narrative. Keep in mind that readability is key. Your final work should be neat, double-checked, and clean.

      Present the writing to a wider audience and receive responses to the work.

      Product: Final draft

      Meets Expectations: A complete final draft ready to be scored.

      Students turn in finished compositions for scoring and feedback. Teachers use LDC Rubric for Informational/Explanatory Essay (see p. 4) to score student writing

      Extension:

      Invite students to survey other selections in Student Reader before and after the Seminar Dialogue.

      Have students bring in family recipes and favorite songs to analyze structure and meaning. Repeat process with sample email and text messages.

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