Informational Essay Planning: Studying the Essay Prompt and Gathering Evidence | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3B:U2:L14

Informational Essay Planning: Studying the Essay Prompt and Gathering Evidence

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for an analysis of literary text. (RI.8.1)
  • I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources. (W.8.8)

Supporting Targets

  • I can select the strongest evidence to analyze A Mighty Long Way and Little Rock Girl 1957.
  • I can explain the end of unit assessment essay prompt.
  • I can explain ways that various mediums shaped the story of the Little Rock Nine.

Ongoing Assessment

  • A Mighty Long Way structured notes, Chapter 14, pages 228-238 (from homework)
  • Exit ticket

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Engaging the Reader: Homework Focus Question (3 minutes)

     B.  Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Gathering Evidence: The Impact of Various Mediums on the Story of the Little Rock Nine (30 minutes)

     B.  Analyzing the Essay Prompt (8 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A. Exit Ticket (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Read Chapter 15 in A Mighty Long Way and complete the structured notes.

  • Students review the central text A Mighty Long Way for evidence of how various mediums impacted the story of the Little Rock Nine. Students will begin selecting the strongest evidence in the next lesson, so this lesson serves to ensure that students' note-catchers are complete and they are prepared to begin the next set of essay preparation and writing lessons.
  • In this lesson students will study the informational essay prompt.  They will analyze this prompt in order to build toward the End of Unit 2 Assessment.  This study of the prompt helps students fully understand the essay prompt before they begin writing.
  • In advance: Review Mix and Mingle in Checking for Understanding techniques (see Appendix).

Vocabulary

illuminate

Materials

  • Gathering Evidence note-catcher (begun in Lesson 7)
  • A Mighty Long Way (book; distributed in Unit 1, Lesson 1; one per student)
  • Gathering Evidence Note-catcher Teacher's Guide (from Lesson 7)
  • Informational essay prompt (from Lesson 7; one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Exit ticket (one per student)
  • A Mighty Long Way Structured Notes, Chapter 15, pages 239-254 (one per student)
  • A Mighty Long Way Supported Structured Notes, Chapter 15, pages 239-254 (optional; for students needing extra support)
  • A Mighty Long Way Structured Notes Teacher's Guide, Chapter 15, pages 239-254 (for teacher reference)

Opening

Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Homework Focus Question (3 minutes)

  • Ask students to retrieve their A Mighty Long Way structured notes, Chapter 14, pages 228-238 from homework and sit with their Chicago discussion partners. Invite pairs to share their answer to the focus question:

*   "In this chapter, Carlotta recounts two times that she did not want other people to know that she was one of the Little Rock Nine. Why didn't she want others to know?"

  • Cold call on student pairs to respond.
  • Listen for students to say something like:

-   "In this chapter, Carlotta mentions twice that she doesn't reveal herself as a member of the Little Rock Nine. The first time is during the interview for her job at the YWCA. The second time is when she meets her future husband, Ike. Carlotta doesn't want other people to know that she is one of the Little Rock Nine because she doesn't want to use her experience to give herself any advantage.

-   She writes "I wanted people to like me, to accept and respect me, for me, not because I had been a national symbol."

-   She feels like people would feel differently about her if they know that she had played such an important role in the civil rights movement. She wanted to be treated like anyone else."

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Read today's learning targets aloud as students follow along silently:

*   "I can select the strongest evidence to A Mighty Long Way and Little Rock Girl 1957."

*   "I can explain the end of unit assessment essay prompt."

  • Have students turn and talk about when they have worked with these sorts of targets before. Listen for students to recognize that in each module they have spent time understanding the essay prompt before they begin writing. Emphasize how useful it is, as a writer, to be very clear on your purpose before you begin writing in earnest.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Gathering Evidence: The Impact of Various Mediums on the Story of the Little Rock Nine (30 minutes)

  • Read aloud the third learning target:

*   "I can explain ways that various mediums shaped the story of the Little Rock Nine."

  • Ask students to take out their Gathering Evidence note-catcher and have a volunteer read the prompt at the top of the page aloud:

*   "Using evidence from both A Mighty Long Way and Little Rock Girl 1957, how did the use of various types of mediums contribute to shaping the story of the Little Rock Nine?"

  • Have students turn and talk with their partners about the evidence they have collected on their note-catchers from A Mighty Long Way and Little Rock Girl 1957 to answer this question. Then have students dig into A Mighty Long Way, looking specifically at Chapters 11-14 to add more evidence to their note-catchers.
  • After several minutes, invite students to participate in a Mix and Mingle. Students will gather their note-catchers in hand along with a writing utensil, stand up, and locate another person in the class to share what additional evidence they gathered. Students should be adding to their own note-catchers as they find new partners to share their findings with. Once both students have shared information, they should move on to find a new partner until about 5 minutes has passed.
  • Direct students to return to their seats with their Chicago discussion partners. Cold call on student pairs to share out additional evidence and details collected during the Mix and Mingle. Use the Gathering Evidence Note-catcher Teacher's Guide as a guide for the types of evidence students should mention.
  • Explain to students that they will be using this note-catcher to help them answer the prompt in the end of unit assessment essay.
  • Consider providing students with several examples before having them gather evidence on their own. 
  • For students who struggle, providing hint cards or partially completed note-catchers may be a helpful way to differentiate the task of gathering evidence.
  • Graphic organizers of this nature provide an organized way of collecting evidence and analyzing the evidence in order to successfully answer a writing prompt.

B. Analyzing the Essay Prompt (8 minutes)

  • Display the informational essay prompt with the document camera. Read the prompt aloud while students follow along silently:

*   "In the events surrounding the Little Rock Nine and the struggle to integrate Central High, various mediums played a newly powerful role. In what ways did these mediums serve to illuminate events for a national audience, and it what ways did they give an incomplete or even inaccurate picture of events?"

  • Ask:

*   "What are the types of mediums you have been studying?" Cold call on several students and listen for them to identify mediums such as television, radio, newspaper, and photographs.

  • Remind students that they have previously discussed the word illuminate. Ask:

*   "What does it mean to illuminate?"

  • Use the word in a different context if necessary. For example: "The scientific study has served to illuminate the cause of the disease." Ask students to turn and talk about the definition and call on volunteers for an answer. Listen for students to understand that "illuminate" means "to bring to light," "to make something clear," and "to emphasize or highlight."
  • Ask:

*   "What are some events that various mediums illuminated for the public?"

  • Encourage students to use their Gathering Evidence note-catchers as a reference, and allow them to turn and talk before responding. Cold call on student pairs for a response. Listen for examples such as: "Photographs illuminated the violence against the reporter outside the high school," "Television illuminated the sights and sounds of protests outside the high school," etc.
  • Draw students' attention to the second part of the question in the essay prompt. Ask:

*   "What events on your note-catcher might you consider to have been an incomplete or partial picture of what happened? What events could have been an inaccurate or misleading picture of what happened?" 

  • Again, provide students time to review their note-catchers and talk about what they find with their partner. Cold call on student pairs for a response, listening for students to mention something like: "The televised event of President Eisenhower and Governor Faubus only showed a partial moment in their meeting and this was misleading because it made it appear that they had reached an agreement when they had not."
  • Remind students that this essay prompt has two parts: the first part asks them to tell about how various mediums illuminated or revealed the story of the Little Rock Nine and the second part asks them to tell about how various mediums either gave an incomplete or inaccurate picture of events surrounding the Little Rock Nine. They have been gathering evidence related to this question on their Gathering Evidence note-catcher.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Exit Ticket (2 minutes)

  • Distribute the exit ticket. Give students a couple of minutes to complete the exit ticket and then collect them.
  • Distribute A Mighty Long Way structured notes, Chapter 15, pages 239-254.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Read Chapter 15 in A Mighty Long Way and complete the structured notes.

Note: Review exit tickets to ensure that students understand what they will need to do in order to write this informational essay. Address any misconceptions in the next lesson.

  • Provide struggling learners with the supported structured notes for additional scaffolding as they read the memoir.

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