Scaffolding for Essay: Planning Body Paragraphs for Position Paper | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4A:U3:L2

Scaffolding for Essay: Planning Body Paragraphs for Position Paper

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.7.1)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.7.4a)
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed. (W.7.5)
  • I can accurately use seventh-grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas. (L.7.6)
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary. (L.7.6)

Supporting Targets

  • I can improve my writing through prewriting and planning my position paper.
  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence in my position paper.
  • I can choose new vocabulary that will go into my position paper.
  • I can write a clear, concise position paper appropriate for the task, purpose, and audience.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Underlined Model position paper (from homework)
  • Position Paper Planner

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A.  Entry Task: Relationship between Reading, Research, and Writing (5 minutes)

B.  Reviewing Learning Targets and Introducing Steps to Writing a Position Paper Anchor Chart (7 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Plan Body Paragraphs (20 minutes)

B.  Independent Reading Check-in (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket: What Domain-Specific Words Will You Include in Your Position Paper? (3 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Finish planning body paragraphs. Use your researcher's notebook to assist you.

    B.  Read your independent reading book.

    • The Position Paper Planner builds from the essay planner used in Modules 1-3. Notice the inclusion of a space for students to consider their counterclaims at the end of the planner. This placement is intentional, since there are many possible places for students to include a counterclaim in their essay. If you would like to offer more structure, consider requiring that they acknowledge counterclaims in particular paragraphs--for example, either the introduction or the conclusion.
    • This paper planner also includes a background on brain science. Although this is similar to giving the context, which students know from the "Quote Sandwich" from Module 2A/2B and 3A, it will be challenging. If students experience difficulty with this complex subject, refer them to their notes and texts from Unit 1 and the Brain Development anchor chart. Remind them to write their position paper for an audience that knows nothing about brain science. Have them think about the basic information the reader would need to understand the student's reasoning. Many of the texts have modeled giving sufficient brain science. Prompt them to return to the texts "Growing Up Digital" and "The Teen Brain: It's Just Not Grown Up Yet" from Unit 1 as good examples.
    • The Position Paper Planner is first used in Lesson 1 to analyze the model position paper. Beginning in this lesson, students will use it to plan their own position papers and will need a fresh copy. They begin their essay planning in this lesson with the body paragraphs, not with the introduction or the conclusion. This deliberate choice allows students to flesh out the main body of their paper without getting "stuck" on the beginning or the ending. However, writing the introduction first can be a useful synthesizing step for a student; that is, allowing students to clarify the building blocks of their paper before elaborating upon them in the body paragraphs. Consider modifying the order in which the paper is written to meet your students' needs.
    • In this lesson, students participate in an independent reading check-in using whichever routine you have established with your class. For ideas, see the stand-alone document on EngageNY.org: Launching Independent Reading in Grades 6-8: Sample Plan. Remember that during this time:

    -   Students need time to talk with a peer about their book.

    -   You need a chance to confer with students about their reading (you will confer with a few each time, working your way through a class over several weeks).

    -   Students need to check in to see if they met their last goal and to set a new goal.

    • Feel free to move the independent reading check-in to a more suitable time, should students require more time to write and confer with you.
    • In advance:

    -   Cut out learning target cards and have tape (or other adhesive) available for sticking them on the Steps to Writing a Position Paper anchor chart.

    -   Make sure students have access to their researcher's notebook and Thinking Log.

    • Post: Learning targets; Steps to Writing a Position Paper anchor chart; Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart.

    Materials

    • Entry Task: Relationship between Reading, Research, and Writing (one per student)
    • Steps to Writing a Position Paper Anchor Chart (one to display)
    • Learning target cards (one set cut out to display)
    • Position Paper Planner (one per student and one to display)
    • Exit Ticket: What Will Be the Most Difficult Aspect of Writing This Paper? (from Lesson 1; one per student)
    • Researcher's notebook (from Unit 2, Lesson 3)
    • Exit Ticket: What Domain-Specific Words Will You Include in Your Position Paper? (one per student)
    • Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 2)

    Opening

    OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

    A. Entry Task: Relationship between Reading, Research, and Writing (5 minutes)

    • Distribute the Entry Task: Relationship between Reading, Research, and Writing and have students respond to the prompt.

     

    • Using entry tickets allows you to get a quick check for understanding of the concept for that day so that instruction can be adjusted or tailored to students' needs during the lesson or before the next lesson.
    • Developing self-assessment and reflection supports all learners, helping them learn to be metacognitive about their learning. Metacognition, or the ability to understand one's own thought processes, includes the ability to monitor one's own learning. Learning how to learn helps all students, but it is often a missing ability in those who struggle.

    B. Reviewing Learning Targets and Introducing Steps to Writing a Position Paper Anchor Chart (7 minutes)

    • Post or project the Steps to Writing a Position Paper anchor chart.
    • Ask students which steps they have already taken or partially taken and what they have specifically done. Listen for: "Prewriting--we have looked for resources and recorded them in our researcher's notebook." Note to students that this may look like a small step, but it actually represents the majority of the work. Students should be congratulated for already completing the lion's share of this assignment.
    • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read them aloud:

    *   "I can improve my writing through prewriting and planning my position paper."

    *   "I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence in my position paper."

    *   "I can choose new vocabulary that will go into my position paper."

    *   "I can write a clear, concise position paper appropriate for the task, purpose, and audience."

    • Invite students to think about how the learning targets fit in with the steps. Ask them to turn and talk to a partner and tell where each learning target fits on the Steps to Writing a Position Paper anchor chart.
    • Cold call students to share. As students respond, stick the learning target cards next to the identified step.
    • If students disagree as to where to put the target, remind them that writing is a process and they will sometimes revisit these targets as they write, but today they will plan their position paper. Remind them that prewriting and planning are important and will make drafting and revising easier if they put a lot of thought and effort into these steps now.

    Work Time

    Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

    A. Plan Body Paragraphs (20 minutes)

    • Distribute a new copy of the Position Paper Planner. Remind students that they have had a planner for every paper they have written this year.  
    • Point out that this planner is very similar to the Model Position Planner they worked with in Lesson 1, but has a different focus question at the top.
    • Ask students to turn to the last page of the planner. Point out that they again will need to include a "counterclaim" somewhere in their paper.
    • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about what a counterclaim is. Then cold call partnerships to share. Listen for something like: "A claim that is opposite the claim I am making in my paper."
    • Remind students that although the place to think about the counterclaim is at the end of the planner, there is no one place in the essay for the counterclaim to go; in addition, there may be more than one counterclaim. They will need to think carefully about where to include it. Remind students that in the model position paper in the previous lesson, the counterclaim was acknowledged in the closing paragraph but could have been mentioned in multiple places.
    • Reiterate that the counterclaim is not a place where the author contradicts herself, but rather a place where she acknowledges the complexity of the subject and the validity of differing opinions.
    • Return students' Exit Ticket: What Will Be the Most Difficult Aspect of Writing This Paper? Quickly discuss patterns you saw in their responses, and assure students that you will focus on their needs. For example:

    *   "Twenty of you expressed concern with finding details--we are going to make sure that we hammer this out; and if you still are struggling, let me know and I will work with you."

    • Have students take out their researcher's notebook. Tell students they can use the three reasons they identified for their homework to fill in the reasons on the planner immediately. Since they have already found and recorded their evidence in their researcher's notebook, now they will need to make sure their evidence supports their reasons, which support their claims on the planner.
    • Tell students to work today only on the body paragraphs and the counterclaim, not the introduction or conclusion yet. Let them know they will continue to work on the body paragraphs for homework. Remind them to include a brief explanation of the brain science in the beginning of their body paragraphs. Encourage them to go back to the model position paper they reread for homework if they need help.
    • Give students time to work. Circulate to support as needed. Push students to be clear and explicit in their planning.
    • Consider inviting coordinating service providers to your class to check in with students who need more reading support. This is an opportunity to ensure that students comprehend their independent reading and monitor their progress.
    • Consider giving students transitional words to help them show counterclaims (e.g., "alternatively," "another possibility," "aside from," "conversely," and "even though").

    B. Independent Reading Check-in (10 minutes)

    • Use this time for an independent reading check-in using whichever routine you have established with your class. For ideas, see the stand-alone document on EngageNY.org: Launching Independent Reading in Grades 6-8: Sample Plan. Remember that during this time:

    -   Students need time to talk with a peer about their book.

    -   You need a chance to confer with students about their reading (you will confer with a few each time, working your way through a class over several weeks).

    -   Students need to check in to see if they met their last goal and to set a new goal.

    Closing & Assessments

    ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

    A. Exit Ticket: What Domain-Specific Words Will You Include in Your Position Paper? (3 minutes)

    • Distribute the Exit Ticket: What Domain-Specific Words Will You Include in Your Position Paper? for students to complete. Collect students' exit tickets.
    • Ask students to refer to the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart and write at least six words from the list that they think they will use in their position paper.
    • For students struggling with handwriting, consider providing a page with the words from the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart and ask students to circle those that they will use in their paper.

    Homework

    Homework
    • Finish planning body paragraphs. Use your researcher's notebook to assist you.
    • Read your independent reading book.

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