Mid-Unit Assessment and Author’s Craft: Narrative Techniques | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3A:U1:L10

Mid-Unit Assessment and Author’s Craft: Narrative Techniques

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone (analogies or allusions). (RI.8.4)
  • I can intentionally use verbs in active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood. (L.8.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone in Unbroken.
  • I can determine if sentences are in active or passive voice. 

Ongoing Assessment

  • Mid-Unit 1 Assessment: Fishbowl Note-catcher: Understanding Perspectives on the Pearl Harbor Attack (from homework)
  • Unbroken structured notes, pages 51-60, and summary of pages 60-73 (from homework)
  • Active and Passive Sentences handout

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Collecting the Mid-unit 1 Assessment (4 minutes)

B. Engaging the Reader: Focus Question and Review Learning Targets (6 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Author's Craft: Things Good Writers Do (20 minutes)

B. Analyzing Voice: Active and Passive Sentences (10 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Debrief Learning Targets and Preview Homework (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Complete a first read of pages 73-77 and 85-89 in Unbroken, plus the summaries of pages 78-85 and 91-113 provided in the structured notes.  Complete the structured notes.

  • In this lesson, students turn in their completed Fishbowl Note-catcher: Understanding Perspectives on the Pearl Harbor Attack as the mid-unit assessment. They will use this note-catcher during the Fishbowl discussion in either Lesson 12 or 13, depending on the text they were assigned in Lesson 9. 
  • Much like the best independent draft of a writing piece may serve as a mid-unit assessment before the revised piece is submitted as an end of unit assessment, this note-catcher will serve as a mid-unit assessment before the use of these notes in the Fishbowl discussions, which serve as the End of Unit 1 Assessment.
  • This is one of two lessons in which students transition to studying Unbroken as a model of author's craft. Students examine author Laura Hillenbrand's craft and how it relates to meaning. They create an anchor chart to note good writing techniques that help construct or enhance meaning for the reader (see Work Time A). These techniques will be used throughout the rest of the module and will serve as a reference when students write their own narratives for the final performance task in Unit 3.
  • Teachers who use 6+1 Traits of Writing or other writing framework may choose to remind students of these as they brainstorm writing techniques.
  • In this lesson, students also learn about passive and active sentences as they study author's craft and work toward mastery of Language Standard 8.3.
  • A fun tip for identifying passive sentences is to insert "by zombies" after the verb. Depending on your students, this could be changed to "by kittens," "by squirrels," etc. Visit the Writing Center at American University blog for more information: http://auwritingcenter.blogspot.com/2012/10/identify-passive-voice-with-zombies.html.
  • In advance: Review the Think-Write-Pair-Share protocol (see Appendix).
  • Post: Learning targets. 

Vocabulary

word choice, active, passive; onslaught (51), recessive (55), abrasive, bonhomie (57), cheek by jowl (59)

Materials

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (one per student)
  • Document camera
  • White boards and white board markers or scrap paper (one per student)
  • Things Good Writers Do anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Work Time A; see supporting materials)
  • Active and Passive Sentences (one per student)
  • Unbroken structured notes, pages 73-113 (one per student)
  • Unbroken supported structured notes, pages 73-113 (optional; for students needing additional support)
  • Unbroken Structured Notes Teacher Guide, pages 73-113 (for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Collecting the Mid-Unit 1 Assessment (4 minutes)

  • Remind students that the Mid-Unit 1 Assessment, which they completed for homework, will be used during the Fishbowl discussion they will have in a few days. 
  • Collect the Mid-Unit 1 Fishbowl Note-catcher: Understanding Perspectives on the Pearl Harbor Attack. Tell students that you will assess these note-catchers and return them in a few days so they can make any necessary revisions and prepare for the Fishbowl.
  • Many students will benefit from seeing questions displayed on an interactive white board or document camera, but reveal questions one at a time to keep them focused on the question at hand.

B. Engaging the Reader: Focus Question and Review Learning Targets (6 minutes)

  • Invite students to take the text Unbroken and their Unbroken structured notes, pages 51-60, and summary of pages 60-73 and sit with their Iwo Jima Discussion Appointment partner.
  • Using a document camera, display the focus question from the structured notes: "Hillenbrand uses similes and metaphors to describe the B-24. Choose one and explain the comparison she makes. What makes this comparison effective?"
  • Ask students to share their answer with their partners. After 2 minutes, display the next question:

*     "How does this help the reader understand the story better?"

  • Invite pairs to discuss their responses. Circulate and monitor. Listen for replies such as: "The comparison helps me understand what the plane was like better" or "The simile gives me an idea of what flying a B-24 was like," etc.
  • Cold call one or two students to share their responses. Explain that most writers use similes and metaphors--examples of figurative language--as a technique to help readers understand ideas or objects by relating something unfamiliar with something familiar or unique.
  • Next, direct students' attention to the posted learning targets. Read the first target aloud to the class:

*     "I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone in Unbroken."

  • Ask students to turn and talk to their partner about what word choice means. 
  • Cold call one or two pairs to share their thinking. Listen for: "It's the author's use of precise or specific words." 
  • Read the second learning target aloud to the class:

*     "I can determine if sentences are active or passive."

  • Cold call a student to provide the meaning of active, such as "doing something" or "energetic." Explain that passive is an antonym of active that means "receiving action." Tell the class that this learning target is about grammar and sentence construction, and why writers might choose to use various constructions.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Author's Craft: Things Good Writers Do (20 minutes)

  • Distribute individual white boards (or scrap paper) and one white board marker to each student.
  • With their partner, students will use the Think-Write-Pair-Share protocol to brainstorm good writing techniques.
  • Display a blank Things Good Writers Do anchor chart. Add the phrase "figurative language" to this anchor chart and explain that using figurative language is an example of something good writers do. Invite students to think of other things that good writers do. These may be techniques they've learned while reading or during writing lessons.
  • Ask:

*     "What are some techniques we know good writers use?"

  • Invite students to spend 1 minute brainstorming ideas on their white boards or scraps of paper.
  • When the minute is up, students should share their ideas with their partner.
  • Cold call several pairs to share their thinking. When applicable, add students' ideas to the Technique column on the Things Good Writers Do anchor chart. These might include things like varying sentence structure or using word choice to affect tone or mood.
  • After adding a student's idea to the chart, ask:

*     "How might this technique contribute to tone or meaning?"

  • Invite students to turn and talk about each technique. Cold call them to share their thinking.
  • Anchor charts offer students a visual cue about what to do when you ask them to work independently. They also serve as note-catchers when the class is co-constructing ideas.

B. Analyzing Voice: Active and Passive Sentences (10 minutes)

  • Distribute one copy of the Active and Passive Sentences handout to each student. Explain that active voice and passive voice are two ways authors can structure sentences, and authors can use both voices to aid understanding.
  • Cold call a student to read the definition of active voice. Read the examples and explain that a majority of sentences are written in the active voice, which is usually easier to read and comprehend.
  • Cold call a student to read the definition of passive voice. Read the examples and explain that passive voice is generally not preferred, but it can be used, sparingly, for effect.
  • Read the "tip" and ask students to fill in the phrase with a noun, such as zombies, kittens, or bluebirds. Students should fill in the sentences with the noun. Cold call students to read each example. Explain that "He ate (by zombies, kittens, etc.) hamburgers" makes no sense, and it is an active sentence in which the subject, "he," is doing the action, "ate." "Hamburgers were eaten (by zombies, kittens, etc.)" does make sense, in a humorous way, so it is a passive sentence in which the subject, "hamburgers," is being acted upon.
  • Invite pairs to work together to practice identifying active and passive sentences using examples from Unbroken. Circulate and monitor, reminding students of the "tip" to identify active and passive sentences.
  • When students are done, go over the answers.
  1. Passive
  2. Passive
  3.  Active
  4. Passive
  5. Passive
  6. Active
  • Explain that in the next lesson, students will analyze why an author might use passive voice rather than active voice.
  • Research indicates that cold calling improves student engagement and critical thinking. Prepare students for this strategy by discussing the purpose, giving appropriate think time, and indicating that this strategy will be used before asking questions.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Debrief Learning Targets and Preview Homework (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets. Read each target aloud to the class.
  • Ask students to self-assess using the Fist to Five protocol. Take note of any students who are not comfortable with the second learning target, as they may need more support in Lesson 11.
  • Distribute the Unbroken structured notes, pages 73-113.
  • Let students know that they should complete a first read of pages 73-77 and 85-89, plus the summaries for pages 78-85 and 91-113 included in the structured notes.

Homework

Homework
  • Complete a first read of pages 73-77 and 85-89 in Unbroken, plus the summaries of pages 78-85 and 91-113 provided in the structured notes. Complete the structured notes, including the focus question: "On pages 85-89, why do you think Hillenbrand describes what the airmen fear in such detail? What does it help the reader understand about Louie and the men he served with? Use the strongest evidence from the book to support your answer."

Teaching Note: Be sure to have the Fishbowl Note-catchers: Understanding Perspectives on the Pearl Harbor Attack ready to return in Lesson 11.

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