Discipline: English and social studies

Grade Level:11

Course: Integrated English and U.S. history

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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Letter to Congress
What
Instruction?
  • Skill Cluster 1
    • Group Or Individual? Skill and Definition Mini-Task Instructional Strategies
      Product and Prompt Scoring (Product "Meets Expectations" if it...)

       Group

      Ability to identify what is already known and what needs to be learned and done in order to complete the task, as outlined in the entry document and rubrics

      Complete a know/need-to-know list based on the entry document and rubrics. List your prior knowledge and the questions you need to answer in order to complete the project.

      "Know" and "need-to-know" lists are clearly reflective of information in rubric and entry document

      • Highlight entry document in two colors—one for what is known, one for what is unknown Rubric jigsaw
      • "Novel Ideas Only" share, in which groups share their "know" and "need-to-know" lists
      • Revisit "know" and "need-to-know" lists as phases of project are completed

      Individual

      Ability to describe the events leading up to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as the effects of the documents' ratification and lasting importance 

      Ability to describe the basic principles of the Constitution

      Ability to describe and apply the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights

      Ability to describe the process by which a bill becomes a law Ability to identify and find, as well as gather information from, valid sources on a particular topic

      Ability to read primary source documents with comprehension 

      Ability to identify important information and use appropriate note-taking strategies

      Create a research folder to share with your group that includes citations for valid sources and notes on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      The research folder contains citations for at least six valid sources on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Notes are concise and answer key questions in students' own words.

      • Workshop on valid sources
      • Curated list of resources for struggling students
      • Constitution graphic organizer for note taking
      • Guiding questions for research, textbook reading, and note taking
      • Analysis of primary source documents, looking at historical context, close reading for intent and impact

      Individual

      Ability to describe the decisions in at least two landmark Supreme Court cases and how they relate to a current law

      Read about landmark Supreme Court cases, finding evidence to support your position.

      Cited evidence supports position. Constitutional question is defined clearly.

      • Guided questions for note taking
      • Workshop on appropriate resources for struggling students

      Individual

      Ability to write an introduction with a thesis

      Ability to make logical arguments and defend them

      Ability to correctly use paragraphs to structure and organize writing

      Ability to create and use an outline

      Plan and write a rough draft of a letter to a Congressperson with an introduction, a thesis that makes a logical argument, evidence, and paragraphs.

      Rough draft includes an introduction with a thesis, paragraphs, and evidence.

      • Workshop on introductions with thesis statements
      • Workshop on paragraphs using online paragraph resources
      • Workshop on argumentative writing using tutorial from Colorado State University
      • Workshop on outlining
      • Structured outline provided for struggling students
      • Teach guided analysis of persuasive writing of Abigail Adams and Patrick Henry

      Individual/Group

      Ability to revise for clarity and precision

      Ability to correctly use a business letter format and standard font and font size

      Revise and edit your rough draft. Create a clear, correctly formatted final draft of your letter to your Congressperson. 

      Final draft is correctly formatted, with appropriate spelling, grammar, and usage.

      • Peer revision/editing, looking at spelling, grammar, usage, and format
      • Round Robin share of letters
      • Consensus around best sections/letters to use in campaign

      Group

      Ability to describe the events leading up to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as the effects of the documents' ratification and lasting importance 

      Ability to describe the basic principles of the Constitution

      Ability to describe and apply the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights

      Ability to describe the decisions in at least two landmark Supreme Court cases and how they relate to a current law

      Ability to describe the process by which a bill becomes a law

      Ability to organize information logically in a variety of genres

      Ability to compare and contrast historical thinking with contemporary thought and ideas

      Ability to choose and use appropriate data

      Ability to create, format, and annotate a list of appropriate resources

      Ability to use images and text to communicate clearly to an audience

      Ability to describe how technological tools such as social media can facilitate the democratic process

      Create a website that outlines your position, provides evidence, and outlines the specifics of your grassroots campaign.

      Website is organized, and includes a clear and thorough discussion of historical context for contemporary democratic process, and a clear argument for or against a particular law, with evidence. Website includes images and text that clearly communicate message and specific steps for taking action, including using social media to enter democratic process.

      • Analyze models of other websites arguing for or against a particular cause
      • Compare/contrast matrices for comparing and contrasting historical thought and contemporary ideas
      • Design workshop on appropriate website design (including graphic design)
      • Peer evaluation according to project rubric

      Group

      Ability to use various strategies to delegate and divide tasks among group members and check for completion

      Complete a group folder (a collection in Google Docs), that includes your group contract, task list, and notes from group meetings.

      Group contract includes series of steps in order to hold group members accountable, with evidence of use of steps in notes. Task list divides tasks fairly and includes notes on completion and timeliness.

      • Team-building sessions
      • Peer-collaboration assessments using collaboration rubric
      • Group meetings with teacher to review contract and notes
      • Workshops on ideal team meetings
      • Group role divisions, with one member tasked with maintaining group folder
      • Structured, teacher provided task lists for struggling groups
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