Analyzing a Model Position Paper | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M4:U3:L1

Analyzing a Model Position Paper

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.8.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can find the gist of the model position paper.
  • I can determine the main ideas of a model position paper.
  • I can analyze the structure of a model literary essay. 

Ongoing Assessment

  • Gist annotations on model position paper

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Unpacking Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Unpacking the Prompt and Introducing the Rubric (8 minutes)

B. Reading the Model Position Paper for Gist and Analyzing the Content (15 minutes)

C. Analyzing the Structure of the Model Position Paper (10 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Assessing the Model against the Rubric (10 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Quote Sandwich organizers: To prepare to draft the first body paragraph of your position paper (in which you are going to provide evidence to support one of your reasons for making your choice of food chain), use the evidence on your Position Speech graphic organizer and in your position speech from Unit 2 to fill out two Quote Sandwich organizers. If you can remember how to cite your sources in MLA format, please do so at the bottom of your organizers, but if you can't, leave it blank and we will review this in a later lesson.

  • This lesson launches the end of unit assessment, in which students will write a position paper to answer the question: Which of Michael Pollan's four food chains would you choose to feed the United States? Students have already done a lot of the thinking for this paper when writing their position speeches for the End of Unit 2 Assessment, so the focus of this unit is turning that speech into a position paper.
  • In this lesson, students are asked to consider the difference between a position speech and a position paper and to analyze a model position paper to help them understand that difference. Students will use the evidence they gathered in Unit 2 to write their position paper.
  • As students analyze the model essay, it is important to note that there is more than one way to organize a position paper, and this model is an example of one way. Students should be encouraged to find the organizational structure that will best suit their argument. For example, some students may decide to address the counterclaim earlier in their essay.
  • The Position Paper Rubric will be used to assess the position paper. Students review the rubric briefly in this lesson, and will evaluate their own writing in later lessons in this unit. This rubric is nearly identical to the To Kill a Mockingbird Argument Rubric from Module 2A, as it assesses the same standard (W.8.1).
  • Students have used the Quote Sandwich organizer before, and there are instructions on the organizer; however, if you are concerned that students may not be able to fill out the organizer without a review, please make time to do this in class.
  • In order to complete the Quote Sandwich organizer for homework, students will need to take home their Position Speech graphic organizer and their position speech.
  • In advance: Review the model position paper (see supporting materials).
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

gist, structure, stakeholders, consequences

Materials

  • End of Unit 3 Assessment: Position Paper Prompt (one per student and one to display)
  • Equity sticks
  • Position Paper Rubric (one per student and one to display)
  • Model position paper (one per student and one to display)
  • Chart paper
  • Qualities of a Strong Position Paper anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see Work Time C)
  • Quote Sandwich organizers (two per student)

Opening

Opening

A. Unpacking Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Invite students to read the learning targets with you:

* "I can find the gist of the model position paper."

* "I can determine the main ideas of a model position paper."

* "I can analyze the structure of a model literary essay."

  • Remind students of what finding the gist means. Ask students to discuss with an elbow partner:

 * "What is the structure?"

  • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that the structure is how something is put together or how it is organized and built, just like the structure of a building.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unpacking the Prompt and Introducing the Rubric (8 minutes)

  • Display and distribute the End of Unit 3 Assessment:Position Paper Prompt. Invite students to follow along silently as you read the prompt aloud. Ask students to circle any unfamiliar words. Clarify words as needed. Most of this vocabulary has already been addressed throughout the module, but students may need reminding of words like stakeholders and consequences.
  • Invite students to close their eyes for a moment and envision themselves writing their position paper. Ask them to think about what the paper needs to include and what thinking they need to do in order to write. Now have students open their eyes and discuss the following questions with an elbow partner:

* "What is this focusing question or prompt asking you to do?"

* "What will your writing have to include to address the question?"

  • Circulate and listen for students to say that they will have to use the ideas they presented in their position speeches at the end of Unit 2 to write a position paper presenting their response to the question: Which of Michael Pollan's four food chains would you choose to feed the United States?
  • Ask students to discuss with an elbow partner:

* "What is the difference between a position speech and a position paper?"

  • Consider using equity sticks to select students to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that a speech is to be spoken aloud, so when writing it they were thinking about speaking and how to make their ideas sound interesting and engaging to a listening audience of fellow students. A position paper requires a more formal tone and style because it is a written essay. It is important to note that sometimes a position paper is created first and then a speech is crafted based on the paper.
  • Display and distribute the Position Paper Rubric, the content of which they are familiar with from previous modules. Remind students that they will be assessed on this rubric.
  • Ask students to review the criteria of the rubric with you. Select volunteers to read each of the criteria for the whole group.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner. Ask:

* "Think about your position speech. Which criteria do you think is a strength for you? Why?"

* "Which criteria do you think is a challenge for you? Why? How can you improve?"

  • Cold call students to share their responses with the whole group.
  • Using equity sticks provides equal opportunity for all students to be called upon and to participate in the class discussion.

B. Reading the Model Position Paper for Gist and Analyzing the Content (15 minutes)

  • Display and distribute the model position paper.
  • Congratulate students on unpacking the prompt for the end of unit assessment. Tell them they will now begin reading like a writer--studying a model position paper to see what they will be writing.
  • Direct students' attention to the focusing question on their prompt. Ask them to discuss in triads:

* "What is the difference between the focusing question in your prompt and the focusing question in this model?"

  • Select students to share their responses with the whole group. Listen for students to explain that the focusing questions are very similar, but instead of choosing one of Michael Pollan's food chains to best feed the United States, the model chooses a food chain that is best for the environment.
  • Invite students to follow along while you read the model position paper aloud. Be sure to follow the read-aloud practice used in previous modules of reading the text all the way through without stopping.
  • Ask students to discuss in triads:

* "What is this model position paper mostly about?"

  • Consider using equity sticks to select students to share their responses with the whole group. Listen for students to explain that the position paper describes how the local sustainable food chain is the best of Michael Pollan's food chains for the environment.
  • Explain that now students will be working in pairs to reread and annotate each paragraph of the model position paper for the gist--to get an idea of what each of the paragraphs is mostly about. Remind students to discuss the gist of each paragraph with their partners before recording anything.
  • Circulate and observe student annotations and invite students who are struggling to say the gist aloud to you before recording it.
  • Refocus whole group and ask students to discuss with an elbow partner:

* "What is the claim and the reasons for making that claim in the model position paper?"

  • Invite students to work with their partners to annotate the essay to identify the claim and reasons. Select volunteers to share their responses with the whole group. Listen for students to accurately state the claim and the reasons for making that claim.
  • Ask: "Where does the author get his or her evidence to prove the claim?" Listen for students to recognize that the strongest evidence comes from proving the claim with quotes from the text. 
  • Draw students' attention to the sentence, "In nature, 'birds follow and clean up after herbivores' (Pollan 147)" in the first body paragraph. Remind students that the writer of this essay doesn't just write a quote and leave it at that. The writer then explains his or her reasoning based on the quote. Share with students that they have done this before whenever they have correctly use a Quote Sandwich organizer to help them write an essay. They will have a chance to use a Quote Sandwich organizer as they plan this essay as well.
  • A model essay provides both a scaffold and a goal for students. Consider working with small groups and chunking the model essay into introductory, body, and conclusion paragraphs for closer analysis with students who need it.
  • By providing a true read-aloud without stopping, the teacher provides a model of fluent reading and also allows students to hear the text in its entirety before processing and analyzing it at a deeper level.
  • Consider using a document camera to display and annotate the model essay with students.

C. Analyzing the Structure of the Model Position Paper (10 minutes)

  • Ask students to discuss with an elbow partner:

* "What is the structure of a strong position paper?"

* "What are the qualities of a strong position paper?"

  • Use a sheet of chart paper to begin the Qualities of a Strong Position Paper anchor chart. Cold call pairs to share the structure and qualities they discussed that will make this a strong position paper. Be sure the chart includes:

-    Introductory Paragraph: introduces the claim and the reasons why the author is making that claim

-    Body Paragraph 1: provides evidence and reasoning for the first reason the author stated in the introduction

-    Body Paragraph 2: provides evidence and reasoning for the second reason the author stated in the introduction

-    Body Paragraph 3: provides and responds to a counterclaim with evidence

-    Concluding Paragraph: restates the position and restates own claim and leaves the reader with something to think about

  • For anything students do not identify on their own, add it to the anchor chart and explain why you are doing so.
  • Students should understand that there is more than one way to structure a position paper. Since they are learning to write a position paper, students will benefit from using this structure. However, if a student's position is better suited to a different structure, the student should be allowed to adapt the structure provided here. However, please note that students must fulfill all the requirements of the task.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Assessing the Model against the Rubric (10 minutes)

  • Tell students that they are now going to work in pairs to assess the model position paper using the first two rows of the Position Paper Rubric. Invite students to underline where on the rubric they think the model would score and to underline parts of the model that fulfill criteria on the rubric.
  • Circulate to assist students. Ask guiding questions:

* "Why did you underline that? Can you provide evidence of fulfilling that criteria in the model?"

  • Refocus whole group. Cold call students to share their assessment of the model and to justify their assessment with evidence on the rubric. Remind students that the essay reflects the cascading consequences thinking they have been doing in this module.
  • Distribute Quote Sandwich organizers, two per student. Remind students that they have used this organizer before to help them plan the body paragraphs of their essays.

Homework

Homework
  • Quote Sandwich organizers: To prepare to draft the first body paragraph of your position paper (in which you are going to provide evidence to support one of your reasons for making your choice of food chain), use the evidence on your Position Speech graphic organizer and in your position speech from Unit 2 to fill out two Quote Sandwich organizers. If you can remember how to cite your sources in MLA format, please do so at the bottom of your organizers, but if you can't, leave it blank and we will review this in a later lesson.

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