Writing a Literary Essay: Analyzing a Model | EL Education Curriculum

You are here

ELA G4:M1:U2:L9

Writing a Literary Essay: Analyzing a Model

You are here:

These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.4.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
  • RI.4.10: By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
  • W.4.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.4.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.4.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can use the Painted Essay structure to analyze a model. (W.4.2, W.4.4, W.4.5)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Painted Essay(r) template

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Model Literary Essay (10 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Analyzing a Model: The Painted Essay (30 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Research Reading Share (15 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

B. Choose an informative writing prompt to complete in your Unit 2 Homework.

C. For ELLs: Complete the Language Dive II Practice worksheet in your Unit 2 Homework.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In Work Time A, students analyze a model literary essay about William Carlos Williams using The Painted Essay(r) structure in order to generate criteria for their own essays (W.4.2, W.4.5). Consider how familiar students are with this structure and reallocate class time spent introducing it as necessary.
  • In Work Time A, students begin using the Informative Writing Checklist (W.4.2). Throughout the school year, students are provided with checklists for their writing, which outline the key criteria that the CCSS require of the writing type. These checklists are closely aligned with the teacher rubrics used to grade student assessments. An empty column is provided on each student checklist for students to add criteria for the specific characteristics required by the writing prompt, and time, directions, and examples for this process are built into the relevant lessons.
  • The model literary essay is provided as a model to create a shared vision of what students are aiming for: what constitutes a high-quality essay. For teachers, this process informs instruction and planning; for students, it promotes critical thinking, creativity and craftsmanship. The model is referred to throughout the unit as students draft their own essays.
  • In this lesson, the habit of character focus is on working to become an ethical person. The characteristic that students are reminded of specifically is integrity, because they share their learning from independent reading.
  • The research reading that students complete for homework will help build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to poetry and what inspires people to write. By participating in this volume of reading over a span of time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it.

How it builds on previous work:

  • Throughout this unit, students have learned about different writers and what inspired them to write. As they analyze the model literary essay in this lesson about William Carlos Williams, they begin to consider how they will describe what inspired their expert group poet to write in their own essays.
  • Continue to use Goal 1 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may require additional support reading for the gist. Consider pairing students heterogeneously for this activity, or consider grouping students who may need additional reading support together while you read it aloud for them.

Assessment guidance:

  • Frequently review student Painted EssayO templates as students work to ensure they are colored accurately.
  • Students' literary essays will be assessed using the Informative Writing Checklist. This checklist is based on the Grade 4 Informative/Explanatory Writing Rubric, which can be found in the Grade 4 Teacher Writing Rubrics (see the Tools page). The checklist is introduced at the end of Work Time A and discussed throughout the rest of the unit as students learn about each characteristic. The column "Things to remember in this piece" is designed to help students understand this module's specific content focus.
  • Consider using the Reading: Foundational Skills Informal Assessment: Reading Fluency Checklist during students' independent reading share in Closing and Assessment A. See the Tools page.
  • Consider using the Reading: Foundational Skills Informal Assessment: Phonics and Word Recognition Checklist during students' independent reading share in Closing and Assessment A. See the Tools page.

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students will begin writing the introduction of their essays.
  • The Painted Essay(r) template and the Painting an Essay lesson plan are introduced in this unit and referenced both throughout the module and the school year

In Advance

  • Prepare the materials required for the Painted Essay (see Materials).
  • Preview the Painting an Essay lesson plan to familiarize yourself with what will be required of students (see supporting materials).
  • Post: Learning target and Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: Rather than using colored pencils on the displayed model literary essay, consider highlighting or using colored text on a word-processing document.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards and 4.I.B.6 and 4.II.A.1

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to unpack an example of the work they are expected to complete during the remainder of the unit. They are also empowered to use a color-coding system that will help them understand essay structure using visual prompts.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to absorb an abundance of information and terminology about essay structure. Remind students that this structure is an expanded version of the paragraph structure they completed in prior lessons. Think aloud each part while analyzing the model essay in order to clarify the purpose of each component of the structure. Reassure students that even if they do not understand everything today, they will have plenty of opportunities to work with the concepts throughout the unit and the year.
  • In Work Time A, ELLs are invited to participate in an optional Language Dive. This conversation guides them through expanding the meaning of the focus statement in the model literary essay. It also provides students with further practice using the language structure from the model literary essay focus statement. Students may draw on this sentence when writing their informative essays later in the unit. A consistent Language Dive routine is critical in helping all students learn how to decipher compelling sentences and write their own. In addition, Language Dive conversations hasten overall English language development for ELLs. Preview the Language Dive Guide and consider how to invite conversation among students to address the questions and goals suggested under each sentence strip chunk (see supporting materials). Select from the questions and goals provided to best meet your students' needs. Consider providing students with a Language Dive log inside a folder to track Language Dive sentences and structures and collate Language Dive note-catchers.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During the Language Dive, challenge students to generate questions about the sentence before asking the prepared questions. Example: "What questions can we ask about this sentence? Let's see if we can answer them together." (What does it mean to find inspiration?)

For heavier support:

  • Create a puzzle of the model literary essay using index cards. Paste each paragraph on a different index card. Use colored index cards according to the established Painted Essay colors. Challenge students to put the paragraph together in the correct order without looking at their papers.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In Work Time A, students analyze a model essay in preparation to write their own essay. Help students engage with the model essay in multiple ways. Color-code the model on display with the same colors that the students use during the Painted Essay exercise.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): In the basic structure of this lesson, students get multiple representation cues with the color-coding provided by the Painted EssayO template. However, some students may find covering the entire essay in one lesson overwhelming. Consider chunking the explicit instruction for each part of the essay into multiple lessons to provide time for students to comprehend new information.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): This lesson continues work that students will use to write an informational essay on their expert group's poet. Build engagement for the informational essay by telling students that they get to become experts about a specific poet. Then they will be able to teach others all about the poet and demonstrate their knowledge.

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • The Painted Essay, structure, analyze (L)

Materials

  • Model literary essay (one per student and one to display)
  • Informative Essay Prompt: What Inspires Poets? (from Lesson 6, one per student and one to display)
  • Vocabulary logs (from Unit 1, Lesson 3; one per student)
  • Annotated model literary essay (for teacher reference)
  • Painted Essay(r) template (one per student)
  • Paintbrushes (one per student)
  • Read, yellow, blue, and green watercolor paint (one set per pair)
  • Cups of water (one per pair)
  • Painting an Essay lesson plan (for teacher reference)
  • Red, yellow, blue, and green colored pencils (one set; for teacher modeling)
  • Paper (blank; one per student)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (one per student and one to display)
  • Language Dive Guide: Model Literary Essay (optional; for ELLs; for teacher reference)
    • Language Dive Note-catcher: Model Literary Essay (optional; for ELLs; one per student and one to display)
    • Language Dive Sentence strip chunks: Model Literary Essay (one to display)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 2)
  • Independent Reading: Sample Plan (see the Tools page; for teacher reference)

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader: Model Literary Essay (10 minutes)

  • Distribute and display the model literary essay.
  • Invite students to follow along, reading silently in their heads as you read it aloud.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What is the purpose of this document?" (It is an essay describing what inspired William Carlos Williams to write poetry and gives examples of this from his poems.)

"What inspired William Carlos Williams to write?" (the sounds and rhythms of famous English poets and ordinary things and people around him)

  • Invite students to retrieve their Informative Essay Prompt: What Inspires Poets? and chorally read it aloud with you.
  • Remind students of the work they did in previous lessons describing the lives of their expert group writers, what inspired these writers, and gathering evidence of what inspired them from their poems. Explain to students that they will be using this evidence to write a literary essay about their poets, much like this essay about William Carlos Williams. 
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Read the model literary essay aloud twice, each time framing and contextualizing the document, to provide additional opportunities to process and comprehend the language within. If necessary, pause to check for comprehension after each paragraph.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Color-code each part of the displayed model literary essay. Use the colors that students will later use to paint each component of the essay: red, green, yellow, blue, and green. Use the respective color for notes corresponding to each part when annotating and illustrating the model. Invite students to do the same as they annotate their own copies.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning target and select a volunteer to read it aloud:

"I can use the Painted Essay structure to analyze a model."

  • Underline the words Painted Essay and explain that this is something they may have seen in previous grades, and they will learn more about it in this lesson.
  • Underline the word structure. Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What does structure mean?" (how something is organized, arranged, or put together) If students are unsure, invite a student to look it up in the dictionary for the group.

"What is the translation of structure in our home languages?" (sostav in Russian) Invite students to use their translation dictionary if necessary. Call on student volunteers to share. Ask other students to choose one translation to quietly repeat. Invite students to say their chosen translation out loud when you give the signal. Choral repeat the translations and the word in English. Invite self- and peer correction of the pronunciation of the translations and the English.

  • Add structure to the Academic Word Wall and invite students to add it to their vocabulary logs.
  • Underline the word analyze. Remind students that they have seen this word before and invite them to review the word on the Academic Word Wall and in their vocabulary logs.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What does analyze mean?" (examine in detail)

"Why might we want to analyze the model? How will it help us?" (to understand the structure of the model in order to apply that to writing our own essay)

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Buy or ask for large paint chips from a local hardware or paint store, or print them online. Write the words structure, arrangement, organization, and composition, each one on a different shade of the paint chip. Place them on the wall and discuss the shades of meaning in relation to the writing process.
  • When discussing the definition of structure, connect it to architecture. Tell students that architects build different structures based on their purpose (e.g., skyscraper, garage, swimming pool, etc.) Similarly, authors will structure their writing differently depending on the type of text they are writing. (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Analyzing a Model: The Painted Essay (30 minutes)

  • Redirect students' attention to the model literary essay and focus them on the first paragraph. Read the paragraph aloud, inviting them to read it aloud with you.
  • Invite students to turn and talk to an elbow partner, and cold call students to share out:

"What is the gist of this paragraph?" (background information about the poet and explains what the piece of writing will be about)

  • As students share out, capture their responses next to the first paragraph on the model. Refer to the annotated model literary essay (for teacher reference) as necessary,
  • Repeat this process with each of the paragraphs.
  • Tell students they are going to analyze the structure of this model in more detail using colored paints to help them remember the purpose of each part of the essay.
  • Distribute the Painted Essay(r) template; paintbrushes; red, yellow, blue, and green watercolor paint; and cups of water.
  • Tell students that today they will learn about the Painted Essay structure for writing a clear and concise informational piece. Explain that the literary essay they will write is an informative essay.
  • Guide students through the Painted Essay writing structure using the Painting an Essay lesson plan and the red, yellow, blue, and green colored pencils to model on the displayed model literary essay.
  • Distribute paper.
  • Refocus students on the learning target and read it aloud:

"I can use the Painted Essay structure to analyze a model."

  • Invite students to spend 1 minute painting a red, yellow, or green shape on their paper for how close they feel they are to meeting that target now. Students can choose any shape they like--a circle, a cat, a car. Scan student responses and make a note of students who may need more support with this moving forward.
  • Distribute and display the Informative Writing Checklist. Tell students that this checklist is something they will use a lot in their English Language Arts work. Ensure students understand that they will be using this checklist each time they write an informative piece because these are the things every good piece of informative writing should contain.
  • Invite students to silently read the checklist to themselves.
  • Using a total participant technique, invite responses from the group:

"What do you notice about this checklist? What do you wonder?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Post the following question and read it aloud:

"What characteristics on this checklist do you see done well in the model literary essay? What evidence from the essay supports your thinking?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Invite students to reread the model literary essay to answer this question. Then, using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group.
  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by giving an example:

"Can you give an example?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Reassure students that they might not understand everything on this checklist right now, but they will learn more about it as they plan and write their essays.
  • For ELLs: During Work Time A, use the Language Dive Guide to lead students through an optional Language Dive. Refer to the guide for how to integrate the Language Dive Note-catcher: Model Literary Essay and sentence strip chunks (see supporting materials). 

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Research Reading Share (15 minutes)

  • Focus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart. Remind them of: I behave with integrity. This means I am honest and do the right thing, even when it's difficult, because it is the right thing to do.
  • Remind them that this includes doing homework even when there may be other things they want to do after school. Remind them that the purpose of research reading is to build background knowledge and vocabulary on a topic so that they can gradually read more and more complex texts on that topic.
  • Refer to the Independent Reading: Sample Plan to guide students through a research reading review, or use your own routine.
  • Tell students they are now going to use the Thumb-O-Meter protocol to reflect on their progress toward the learning target. Remind them that they used this protocol in the first half of the unit and review as necessary. Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.
  • Guide students through the Thumb-O-Meter protocol using the learning target. Scan student responses and make a note of students who may need more support with this moving forward.
  • Repeat, inviting students to self-assess against how well they showed integrity in this lesson.
  • In addition to discussing what showing integrity looks and sounds like, use additional forms of representation (e.g., images or short videos). Also consider having students act out behaviors that show initiative. (MMR)

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

B. Choose an informative writing prompt to complete in your Unit 2 Homework.

C. For ELLs: Complete the Language Dive II Practice worksheet in your Unit 2 Homework.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading and writing: Refer to the suggested homework support in Lesson 1. (MMAE, MMR)

Get updates about our new K-5 curriculum as new materials and tools debut.

Sign Up