Analyzing the Structure and Content of an Essay to Inform | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M2A:U3:L5

Analyzing the Structure and Content of an Essay to Inform

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of an informational text. (RI.6.1)
  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of an informational text. (RI.6.1)
  • I can use several sources in my research. (W.6.7)
  • I can use evidence from a variety of grade-appropriate texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (W.6.9)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.6.4)
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to produce clear and coherent writing. (W.6.5)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze the structure and content of a model essay about the importance of reading every day.
  • I can outline "My Rule to Live By" essay to inform. 

Ongoing Assessment

  • "The Importance of Reading Every Day" model essay annotations and highlighting
  • Outline for "My Rule to Live By" essay to inform
  • Structure and Content of an Essay to Inform anchor chart

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

    A. Independent Reading Review (5 minutes)

    B. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

2.  Work Time

    A. Studying the Model Essay: "The Importance of Reading Every Day" (8 minutes)

    B. Backwards Planning: Examining the Model Essay for Structure and Content (12 minutes)

    C. Writing: Drafting an Outline for the Body Paragraphs of "My Rule to Live By" Essay to Inform (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

    A. Reflection: How Does an Outline Help You Plan for the Structure and the Content of Your Essay? (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A. Complete your outline and bring it to the next lesson to use for the end of unit assessment.

  1. This lesson launches the end of unit assessment and the performance task for the end of Module 2. Students will write an essay, which they have done in Module 1. The New York State Grade 6-8 Expository Writing Evaluation Rubric will be used to assess students for this essay.
  2. Students use an outline to scaffold the thinking and writing process. In this lesson, they examine how the model essay on reading would look in an outline format. Then they outline their own essay using their research information collected in their Researcher's Notebook. In Lesson 6, students will use this outline to support Part 1 of the end of unit assessment, where they will draft their body paragraphs.
  3. In Work Time Part B, there are specific questions to ask students during the think-aloud to help students understand the connection between the Supporting Topic and the Supporting Evidence.
  4. In advance: Review "The Importance of Reading Every Day" model essay and the "Importance of Reading Every Day" Outline (For Teacher Reference) in order to understand how to guide students' thinking during 

Vocabulary

structure, content, evidence-based essay; consequences, proportion, possess

Materials

  • Model Essay: "The Importance of Reading Every Day" (one per student)
  • "The Importance of Reading Every Day" Outline (one to display)
  • Document camera
  • "The Importance of Reading Every Day" Outline (for Teacher Reference; see teaching note)
  • Structure and Content of an Informative Essay anchor chart (new; co-constructed with students during Work Time B)
  • Equity sticks
  • Outline for "My Rule to Live By" Essay (one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Independent Reading Review (5 minutes)

  • Remind students that they were asked to be ready to give a brief summary of their independent reading book so far. Remind students that a summary is an outline of the main points.
  • Invite students to pair up. Give each student in the pair one minute to give a brief summary of their independent reading book. Tell students to listen carefully to each other because afterwards, they will be asked about the summary their partner gives.
  • Circulate to listen to students and to get an idea of who is reading independently.
  • Cold call students to ask them to paraphrase the summary their partner gave.
  • Independent reading reviews hold all students accountable for doing their independent reading homework.
  • Asking students to repeat what their partner has told them encourages them to listen carefully.

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

  • Invite students to read along with you while you read the learning targets out loud:

* "I can analyze the structure and content of a model essay about the importance of reading every day."

  • Ask students to turn and talk:

* "What does the structure of an essay mean?"

  • Listen for and guide students to say something like: "The way it is held together, like the walls of a building."
  • Ask:

* "What is the content of an essay?"

  • Listen for and guide students to say it is the ideas and the evidence of the essay.
  • Invite students to read the next learning target with you:

* "I can outline 'My Rule to Live By' essay to inform."

  • Explain that an essay to inform is an evidence-based essay and that understanding what an evidence-based essay means is key to their success in the next several lessons.
  • Explain to students that in this essay, they will make a claim like they have done many times in Modules 1 and 2, but this time, the claim is their "rule to live by." Then they will use evidence from their research to support their rule.
  • Tell students that in order to get ready to write their own essays, the lesson today will focus on studying the model essay and beginning to outline the evidence they are going to use for their own essay.
  • Learning targets are a research-based strategy that helps all students, especially challenged learners.
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. The learning targets also provide a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Studying the Model Essay: "The Importance of Reading Every Day" (8 minutes)

  • Display and distribute "The Importance of Reading Every Day" model essay.
  • Explain that you are going to read the essay out loud. Ask students to circle any unfamiliar words and underline the rule in this essay. Invite students to follow along as you read the essay aloud.
  • When you finish, ask a volunteer to tell the class what the rule is from the essay. Listen for them to say something like: "The rule is to read every day."
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "Why has evidence been used to support the rule?"

  • Listen for students to explain that other people wouldn't trust the rule if evidence hadn't been used because without knowing the author, they don't know if the author has enough expertise in the subject.
  • Remind students that essays use formal language and it is important that everyone understand the language in this essay. Ask students to turn to a partner and discuss any of the unknown words in the essay that they circled.
  • After a few minutes, prompt students with these text-dependent questions to make sure they understand the meaning of certain words.
  • Ask a different volunteer to answer each of the following questions:

* "What do I mean by both 'negative and serious consequences' in this essay?"

  • Listen for students to say something like: "They are the bad things that happen to you if you can't read." Guide students to understand that a consequence is a result of an action. Negative means that it is a bad result.

* "What does it mean that a 'high proportion' of prisoners, who are high school dropouts, can't read?"

  • Listen for students to explain that a high proportion means many or most.

* "What does it mean to possess a strong vocabulary?"

  • Listen for students to say that possess means to have a hold of something, and in this essay, it means to have a lot of words in your head.
  • Invite students to add any words they were unfamiliar with to their word chart. 
  • Allowing students to discuss their thinking with their peers before writing helps to scaffold student comprehension as well as assist in language acquisition for ELLs.
  • Consider placing students in homogeneous pairs and provide more specific, direct support to students who need it most.

B. Backwards Planning: Examining the Model Essay for Structure and Content (12 minutes)

  • Using the document camera, display the "Importance of Reading Every Day" Outline. Ask students to raise their hands if they have ever used an outline to plan their writing before.
  • Call on a student who raised his/her hand to explain why you use an outline. If no one raises a hand, you can explain that an outline helps you plan structure for an essay and helps you plan the content you are going to use.
  • Ask students to turn and talk after you say:

* "Based on the outline, what is going to be the structure of our essay?"

  • Refocus whole class and cold call on a student to share the structure of the essay.
  • Paraphrase student thinking and write on the new Structure and Content of an Informative Essay anchor chart:

*  Five paragraphs

*  Three body paragraphs with one introduction and one conclusion

  • Explain that the first paragraph is the introduction and the last paragraph is the conclusion. Students will study these paragraphs in detail in Lesson 7. Today, the focus is on examining the body paragraphs.
  • Invite students to see how an outline works by listening to your think-aloud.
  • Read the second paragraph of the "Importance of Reading Every Day" essay. Think aloud about "Supporting Topic B." Explain that the topic of this paragraph is the consequence of not reading and you wrote that in the line for Supporting Topic B. Tell students this came from one article in your research.
  • Ask yourself out loud:

* "How does not reading lead to bad consequences?"

  • Explain that each line of the Supporting Evidence for Section B should answer that question. Read each line. Tell students again that this is information within the article you read during your research.
  • Pause and ask students to turn and talk:

*  "What did I just do to help myself figure out what supporting evidence from my research to use to explain my topic?"

  • Cold call a student to answer. Listen for and guide the student to say that you asked yourself how the topic supported the rule for reading (or not reading in this specific example).
  • Thank the student for sharing. Ask them to pay close attention to the relationship between the Supporting Topic and the Supporting Evidence as they continue. Ask them to use a "how" question about the Supporting Topic to determine the Supporting Evidence. This will help them think about the content of the body paragraphs.
  • Direct students to look at the displayed outline again and read aloud to the students Supporting Topic C: "Reading helps you achieve more."
  • Tell students to work with their elbow partner to find the three pieces of Supporting Evidence from the third paragraph of the essay. Invite students to number the different pieces of Supporting Evidence as they read.
  • Circulate among students, listening and looking for students to number the evidence that is cited from the research. You can prompt students by asking: "How does reading help you achieve more?"
  • Refocus whole class to look at the displayed outline again. Cold call on a student and ask:
    • "Based on the paragraph, how does reading help you achieve more?" Paraphrase the student response and list the bullets below on the outline:

--     You will gain a large vocabulary.

--     You will be better at both reading and writing.

--    You will do better at school and work.

  • Ask for thumbs-up or thumbs-down from the other classmates if they have the same three details.
  • Ask the class to give a show of hands in response to the question:

* "How many of you asked yourself the question 'How does reading help you achieve more?'"

  • Survey the students who do not raise their hands and circulate to those students in the next round.
  • Explain that asking a "how" question will help them understand how the topic of each paragraph is developed.
  • Invite a volunteer to tell you the big idea for the Supporting Topic in the fourth paragraph of the essay. Guide the student toward something like: "Reading gives you freedom." Write this on the line for Supporting Topic D.
  • Prompt students to work independently and find the Supporting Evidence for this topic by asking a "how" question: (How does reading give you freedom?)
  • Circulate to the students who did not raise their hands earlier, and support them by asking what their "how" question will be about reading and freedom.
  • Refocus whole class. Cold call on a student to list the three pieces of Supporting Evidence for Section D.

* Paraphrase the student response and list the bullets below on the outline: Teaches you to think critically

* Helped slaves gain freedom

* Allows you to get all different types of information on your own

* Other people can't control your thinking if you can read information on your own

  • Write the following questions on the board:

* "What is the Supporting Topic?"

* "What is the Supporting Evidence?"

* "How do the Supporting Evidence and the Supporting Topic work together?"

  • Refocus whole class and ask students to silently answer each question in their head. Use equity sticks to call on students to answer each question. 
  • Listen for students to explain something like:

* Topic is the big idea that supports your rule.

* Supporting Evidence is the details, data, and quotes you found in your research.

* You use the evidence to explain more about the topic and how it supports your rule.

  • Add this to the Structure and Content of an Informative Essay anchor chart.

C. Writing: Drafting an Outline for the Body Paragraphs of "My Rule to Live By" Essay to Inform (15 minutes)

  • Distribute to each student an Outline Form for "My Rule to Live By" Essay.
  • Tell students that they are each going to write an outline for their own essay. Invite them to work with one person from their research team. Explain that in the next lesson they will be able to use their outline to write their body paragraphs. Also, explain that in the next lesson, this will be Part 1 of the end of unit assessment.
  • Encourage students to use their resources from their Researcher's Notebook to write the outline of just their three body paragraphs.
  • Display and review Steps for Outlining the Body Paragraphs:
  1. Begin by determining the three Supporting Topics in your Researcher's Notebook that best support their rule.
  2. Ask a "how" question to figure out the supporting evidence from your research you want to include in your topic paragraph.
  • Circulate among students. Celebrate their focused work and use of the outline. Support students by asking them a few questions:

* "What are the three biggest reasons to live by your rule?"

* "Now that you have identified your Supporting Topic, ask your 'how' question to determine the details you will include."

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Reflection: How Does an Outline Help You Plan for the Structure and the Content of Your Essay? 
 (2 minutes)

  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "How does an outline help you write the structure and the content of your essay?"

  • Explain that the next lesson is Part 1 of the end of unit assessment where they will independently draft their body paragraphs. They will be able to use their outline as a tool to help them write.

Homework

Homework
  • Complete your outline and bring it to the next lesson to use for the end of unit assessment.

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