Discipline: Social Studies

Grade Level: 7

Course: U.S. History

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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U.S. Intervention in Foreign Wars
  • Skills Cluster 1: Preparing for the Task
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 1: Preparing for the Task

      Pacing Day 1

      1. Bridging conversation:

      Ability to connect the task and new content to existing knowledge, skills, experiences, interests, and concerns.

      Short response

      “When should the United States become involved in foreign wars?”

      Focus Correction Areas (FCAs): Will address organization, 3rd person perspective, ability to state a position clearly.

      • Teach or review content required for the task either before or during the production of the task.  If teaching other levels, discuss the demands embedded in these levels as well.

      Pacing Day 1— part of class period

      2. Project planning

      Ability to plan so that the task is accomplished on time.


      Create a project timeline.

      Creates a “doable” timeline that paces reading and writing processes. 

      • Model a common or sample timeline & homework.
      • Provide students with a timeline template.
      • Discuss the importance of planning.
  • Skills Cluster 2: Reading Process
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 2: Reading Process

      Day 2

      1. Reading “habits of mind”:

      Ability to select appropriate texts and understand reading strategies needed for the task.

      List or bibliography.

      1) Identify sources you will use and note how each source relates to your task. 2) Note sources in bibliographic format (if applicable).

      Selects appropriate text(s) for task (if applicable).

      Creates a first draft of a bibliography (if applicable).

      Writes in readable prose.

      • Assist students in selecting texts or provide texts. Teachers may select texts for students, direct them to a collection, or have them select on their own.
      • Demonstrate reading strategies relevant to a type of text to prepare students for next steps in the ladder.
      • Provide students with template for bibliography and explain format and use.

      Day 2

      2. Essential vocabulary:

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

      Graphic organizer entries

      In your notebook, identify key words or phrases as you read and discuss them within the context of the passage in the work you are reading.

      Identifies vocabulary words and phrases and notes their meaning within the context of the passage(s).

      Writes in readable prose.

      • Use of dictionary and other sources to acquire understanding.
      • Teach strategies for understanding words in context.
      • Introduce specific language of reading and writing relevant to task (e.g., claim, position, argument, evidence, introduction, conclusion, body, etc.).
      • Introduce or reinforce language that applies to the discipline and literacy practices (e.g., Just War Theory, Bush Doctrine, foreign, rights, terrorism, Isolationism, pre-emptive, self-defense, etc.).

      Pacing Day 3–6

      3. Note taking

      Ability to read purposefully and select relevant information; to summarize and/or paraphrase.

      Just War Theory notes and Pro-Con graphic organizer

      Using a note-taking method, select information (passages, facts, data, etc.) relevant to the task; list or bullet each source and note relevant information.

      L2 What strategies will you use to discern credible sources?

      L3 Why is it important in the process of inquiry to identify “gaps” or unanswered questions about the topic?

      Accomplishes task by selecting relevant source material to support
      controlling idea (include L2 and 3 if applied to task).

      Answers question about plagiarism correctly and provides appropriate strategies for avoiding it.

      Writes in readable prose.

      • Review policy for plagiarism and develop students’ understanding of it.

      • Provide students with note-taking methods and templates.
      • Discuss the term “relevant” and what it means stay on task, two demands embedded in the rubric.
      • Teach strategies for identifying and selecting source material in the form of quotes, passages, data, and so on, as it relates to a controlling idea and task. Give students strategies for avoiding “highlight sprawl.”
      • L2 Discuss what is meant by “credible sources” and strategies for recognizing a credible source.
      • L3 Discuss and demonstrate how authors identify “gaps” or unanswered questions and why this is important to inquiry.
      • Identify any gaps or unanswered questions as you read about your topic.
      • Teach strategies for summarizing or paraphrasing.

      Pacing Day 7

      4. Organizing notes

      Ability to prioritize and narrow supporting information.

      Reasons For/Reasons Against graphic organizer

      Prioritize relevant information in your notes on which to build your sequence or process.

      Provides a prioritized set of notes that connect points for logic
      structure or line of thought.

      Suggests implications drawn from information about the issue or topic.

      Writes in readable prose. Attempts to meet the criteria
      for “meets.”

      • Students prioritize notes from “most important” to “least important” or “most relevant” to “least relevant.”
  • Skills Cluster 3: Transition to Writing
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 3: Transition to Writing

      Pacing Day 7

      1. Bridging conversation

      Ability to transition from reading or researching phase to the writing phase.

      Why Cite?” PowerPoint notes

      Students categorize their notes by placing a number next to learned information that corresponds to the Just War Theory. Students then organize their paper based on these themes.

      No scoring

      • Conduct a seminar on the question prompt.
      • Discuss the prompt and what students need to do to complete the writing portion.
      • Refer to the rubric. Point out demands and qualities of performance.
  • Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process
    • Pacing Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

      Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process

      Day 8–9

      1. Planning

      Ability to develop a line of thought and text structure appropriate to an argumentation task.


      Create an outline including key elements drawn from your reading, research, or graphic organizer, and order them in some logical way.

      Applies an outline strategy to develop reasoning for argument.

      Provides citations and references with elements for correct form.

      Draws a credible implication from information about an issue or topic.

      Writes in readable prose.

      • Use mini-lessons in logic structures.
      • Use discussion-based strategies to develop thinking relevant to prompt.

      • Have students connect ideas among the arts, literature, and current or past events.

      Day 10–12

      2. Development

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

      Opening paragraph and first draft

      Draft an opening for your composition with one or more paragraphs that establishes the controlling idea and provides a lead in for your reader. Write an initial draft to include multiple paragraphs: an opening, development of your process, an ending to include a comment, conclusion, or implication.

      Provides an opening to include a controlling idea and an opening
      strategy relevant to the prompt.

      Provides an initial draft with all elements of the prompt addressed.

      Writes in readable prose.

      • Teach how to open and end an argumentation composition.
      • Use of template for all levels to guide students through first draft.
      • Student-led revision session.

      Day 13

      3. Revision

      Ability to apply revision strategies to refine development of argument, including line of thought, language usage, and tone as appropriate to audience and purpose.

      Revised drafts (two or more)

      Apply revision strategies for clarity, logic, language, and cohesion (students should do at least two drafts).

      Demonstrates use of revision strategies that clarify logic and
      development of ideas; embeds relevant details; improves word usage and phrasing; and creates smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs.

      Applies a text structure to organize reading material content and to explain key points related to the prompt.

      • Develop ways to manage the revision process so that students get feedback in timely and helpful ways.
      • Draft study (students volunteer a segment for class or small group help and discussion).
      • Peer feedback on clarity of thinking and development of claim or argument.
      • Read aloud for peer and adult feedback
      • Strategies for embedding information, such as citation methods, quoting, paraphrasing, and so on.

      Day 13

      4. Editing

      Ability to apply editing strategies and presentation applications.

      Final draft

      Finalize draft for the readership; apply finishing touches (e.g., visuals, neatness, formatting, copy editing, etc.).

      Demonstrates use of strategies that enhance the readability and
      appearance of the work for presentation.

      • Use of error analysis to encourage self-correction of language usage and grammatical errors.
      • Use of copyediting marks.

      Final Draft

      Submit your final draft before or on due date for scoring and feedback.

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