Discipline: ELA

Grade Level: Sophomore

Course: English II

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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Existentialism and Kafka
  • 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

      Day 1

      1. Task engagement

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

      Short Response with Bullets

      In a Quick-write, write your first reaction to the task prompt.  Add some notes of things you know about this issue.


      • Link this task to earlier class content.
      • Discuss student responses.
      • Clarify timetable and support plans for the task.

      Day 1

      2. Task analysis

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


      In your own words, what are the important features of a good response to this prompt?


      • Share examples of type of text students will produce (either from past students or from professional writers).
      • Identify or invite students to identify key features of examples.
      • Pair students to share and improve their individual bullets.
      • Create a classroom list: Choose one student to share a few ideas on the board, and ask others to add to it.
  • 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. Text selection

      Ability to identify appropriate texts.


      For each text, list the needed bibliographic information.  Add bullets on why you think the work is credible and/or worthy of study

      Identifies author, title, publisher, date, and any other needed information (for example, the volume for a periodical or the editor for an anthology).

      Includes reasonable evidence that work is credible and/or worthy of study.

      • Provide citation guide and discuss why each element of citation is needed.
      • View and discuss  Evaluating Sources DVD (Schlessinger Media)
      • Collaborate with Librarians to provide access to research sources.

      Days 2 and 3

      2. Active reading

      Ability to identify the central point and main supporting elements of a text.

      Short reflective entry for each text

      What is the author trying to accomplish? Which parts of the text show you that?

      Annotate each text using Purpose Questions (PQ): What is existentialism? How is/is not existential thought portrayed in Kafka’s Metamorphosis?

      Answers questions with credible response.

      Includes reasonable evidence through annotations to respond to the purpose question.

      • Invite students to brainstorm ways to figure out any author’s intent.
      • Invite students to share and discuss their answers for each text.
      • After the discussion, allow them to add to their entries.

      Days 2 and 3

      2b. Active reading

      Ability to summarize key supporting details and ideas in a text.

      Summary Notes

      For each text, create a summary using the Summary Notes format.

      Provides thorough summary of text.

      • Provide a model summary response.
      • Provide and teach Burke’s Summary Notes template.
      • Have students work in pairs to create a summary for one of the texts before students begin to work on this individually.


      3. Essential vocabulary

      Ability to identify and master terms essential to understanding a text. 

      Vocabulary list 

      In your notebook, list words and phrases essential to the texts.  Add definitions, and (if appropriate) notes on connotation in this context.

      Lists appropriate phrases.

      Provides accurate definitions.

      • After scoring, ask some students to share definitions of terms that others overlooked or misunderstood.
      • After scoring, be willing to provide direct instruction or guide a Cloze reading if needed to work through a key phrase most students missed.

      Day 4

      4. Academic integrity

      Ability to use and credit sources appropriately.

      Definition and strategies

      Discuss “plagiarism” and list ways to avoid it.

      Provides accurate definition of plagiarism.

      Lists several appropriate strategies to avoid plagiarism.

      • Discuss respect for others’ work to assemble evidence and create texts.
      • Discuss academic penalties for stealing others thoughts and words.

      Days 4 and 5

      5. Note-taking 

      Ability to select important facts and passages for use in one’s own writing.


      From each text, make a list of the elements that look most important for answering the prompt.

      Use strategies to avoid plagiarism.

      Identifies relevant elements.

      Includes information to support accurate citation (for example, page numbers for a long text, clear indication when quoting directly).

      • Teach Cornell Notes for note taking.
      • Check that early student work is in the assigned format (or in another format that gathers the needed information effectively).

      Day 6

      6.Organizing Research

      Ability to organize research logically and effectively for purpose of task.


      For each text, record useful quotes, summaries, or paraphrases to complete the task.

      Organizes research systematically (electronic or print).

      • View and discuss Organizing Research DVD
      • Introduce various note-taking systems (note cards, electronic files, NoodleBib).
  • 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

      Day 6

      1. Bridging

      Ability to begin linking reading results to writing task


      In a Quick-write, record what you’ve learned since reading about existentialism.

      Form a group and discuss your findings.

      Use the “My Thought/Their Thoughts” graphic organizer to record your group’s discussion.

      No scoring

      • Small group discussion using question. Use “My Thoughts/Their Thoughts” organizer
  • 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 7

      1. Controlling idea

      Ability to establish a controlling idea and consolidate information relevant to task.

      Controlling Idea

      Write an opening paragraph that includes a controlling idea and sequences the key points you plan to make in your composition.

      Provides direct answer to main prompt requirements.

      Establishes a controlling idea.

      • Use “Creating a Thesis Statement for Definition paper” organizer.
      • Review the list that students created earlier to identify needed elements (from Cluster 1, skill 2).

      Day 7

      2. Planning

      Ability to develop a line of thought and text structure appropriate to an information/ explanation task.


      Create an outline based on your notes and reading in which you state your claim, sequence your points, and note your supporting evidence.

      Create a topic outline

      Supports controlling idea.

      Uses evidence from texts read earlier.

      • Provide and teach one or more examples of outlines or organizers.
      • Provide a “Topic Outline Organizer” for students to use.

      Day 8 and 9

      3a. Development

      Ability to define existentialism and its related sub-topics.


      Explore various meanings and associations with “existentialism.”

      Create a personal definition of “existentialism.”

      Respond to Pre-Writing activity.

      • Provide “Existentialism Pre-Writing” activity.

      Days 8 and 9

      3b. Development

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

      Initial draft

      Write an initial draft complete with opening, development, and closing; insert and cite textual evidence.

      Provides complete draft with all parts.

      Supports the opening in the later sections with evidence and citations.

      • Encourage students to re-read prompt partway through writing to check that they are on-track.

      Day 10

      4. Documentation

      Ability to integrate information without plagiarizing.

      In-text Citations & Works Cited Page

      Incorporate sources within text of paper without plagiarizing. Write a Works Cited page.

      Uses in-text citations correctly.

      Drafts an accurate Works Cited page.

      • Offer examples of papers documenting sources correctly.
      • Offer examples of Works Cited pages.
      • Refer students to MLA resources.

      Days 11 and 12

      5. Revision

      Ability to refine text, including line of thought, language usage, and tone as appropriate to audience and purpose.

      Multiple drafts

      Refine composition’s analysis, logic, and organization of ideas/points. Use textual evidence carefully, with accurate citations. Decide what to include and what not to include.

      Provides complete draft with all parts.

      Supports the opening in the later sections with evidence and citations.

      Improves earlier edition.

      • Model useful feedback that balances support for strengths and clarity about weaknesses.
      • Assign students to provide each other with feedback on those issues.

      Day 12 and 13

      6a. Editing

      Ability to proofread someone’s work and offer helpful suggestions.

      Peer Editing

      Read a classmate’s draft for grammar, mechanics, and usage errors.

      Provides useful feedback for peer review.

      • Discuss peer editing ethics.
      • Create and provide “Peer Edit Exercise” handout to guide students through process of peer reviewing.

      Day 12 and 13

      6b. Editing

      Ability to proofread and format a piece to make it more effective.

      Correct Draft

      Revise draft to have sound spelling, capitalization, punctuation and grammar.  Adjust formatting as needed to provide clear, appealing text.

      Provides draft free from distracting surface errors.

      Uses format that supports purpose.

      • Briefly review selected skills that many students need to improve.
      • Teach a short list of proofreading marks.
      • Assign students to proofread each other’s texts a second time. 

      Day 14

      7. Completion

      Ability to submit final piece that meets expectations

      Final Piece 

      Turn in your complete set of drafts, plus the final version of your piece.

      Fits the “Meets Expectations” category in the rubric for the teaching task.

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