Discipline: Social Studies

Grade Level: 10, 11, 12

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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U.S. Policy of Isolationism vs. Aggression in the 1930s
  • 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

      Duration: 60 minutes


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


      Develop a timeline that documents the acts of German/Italian aggression in Europe and Japanese aggression in the Pacific between 1933–1939.

      Develop a similar timeline that documents U.S. actions/policies of isolationism during the same time period.

      The students can reflect on correlations between aggression and isolationism.

      • Small group settings that allow for individual students to work on different areas and then share information. This will be competed over two class periods (Day 2–3).

      Duration: 60 minutes


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


      Teacher leads "Anatomy of the Question" Q/A and guides notes for the students. 

      Teacher details what is expected and explains the Feedback Rubric and/or Scoring Rubric.

      The student has notes that they can reflect on throughout the task, to enable him or her to focus on the basic needs to answer the question.

      • SMARTboard/Whiteboard notes, Class Q/A session notes
      • This will be completed over one class period. (Day 4)
  • 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

      Duration: 50 minutes


      Ability to identify appropriate texts.


      Bullet points on why you think the article is credible and 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 worthy of study.

      • Provide citation guide and discuss why each element of citation is needed.
      • Ask students to brainstorm what makes an author credible and, thus, makes his or her work worthy of study.
      • Provide access to research sources for students to assess the texts.
      • Note: For an “after researching” task, add time for students to select the texts they will use. (Day 5)

      Duration: 50 minutes


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


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

      L2 Identify some competing views that the student has uncovered.

      L3 Research articles about current events that tie into the task question.

      Answers questions with credible response.

      • Invite students to brainstorm ways to figure out an author’s intent.
      • Invite students to share and discuss their answers for each text.
      • After the discussion, allow students to add to their entries. (Day 6)

      Duration: 30 minutes


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


      Develop a “word web” on the board; then have the students enter the definition into their notebook.

      Student has both terms and definitions for use during research.

      Student has firm understanding of terms and definitions to complete the Task Questions.

      • Class “word web” activity.
      • Play "definition race" to write definition on the board.
      • Whole class definitions in notebook. (Day 7)

      Duration: 15 minutes


      Ability to use and credit sources appropriately.


      Define "plagiarism" and list ways to avoid it.

      Provides accurate definition.

      Lists several appropriate strategies.

      • Discuss respect for others’ work to assemble evidence and create texts.
      • Discuss academic penalties and potential legal ramifications for stealing others’ thoughts and words. (Day 7)
  • 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

      Duration: 20 minutes


      Ability to begin linking reading results to writing task.


      In bullet point format, write about what you know now that you’ve read about (content). 

      No Scoring

      • Small group interaction to compile notes on the key points to help prove the task question. (Day 9)
  • 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

      Duration: 30 minutes


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


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

      Writes a concise summary statement or draft opening.

      Provides direct answer to main prompt requirements.

      Establishes a controlling idea.

      Identifies key points that support development of argument.

      • Offer several examples of opening paragraphs.
      • Ask class to discuss what makes them strong or weak.
      • Review the list that students created earlier to identify needed elements (from
        Cluster 1, Skill 2). (Day 10)

      Duration: Ongoing


      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.

      Creates an outline.

      Supports controlling idea. Uses evidence from texts read earlier.

      • Show examples of sample outlines from prior students.
      • Show examples of current student outlines. (Day 11)

      Duration: Ongoing


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


      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 12)

      Duration: 50 minutes


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


      Refine composition’s analysis, logic, and organization of ideas and 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.

      • Sample useful feedback that balances support for strengths and clarity about weaknesses.
      • Assign students partners to provide each other with feedback on strengths and weaknesses. (Day 13)

      Duration: 50 minutes


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


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

      Provides draft that is 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)

      Duration: Ongoing


      Ability to submit final piece that meets expectations.


      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. (Set completion date for student at this time.)

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