Performance Task: Participating in a Text-Based Discussion | EL Education Curriculum

You are here

ELA G4:M3:U3:L15

Performance Task: Participating in a Text-Based Discussion

You are here:

These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.4.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • SL.4.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can follow discussion norms to participate in a productive discussion about my opinion of the American Revolution. (RI.4.9, SL.4.1a)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Participation in text-based discussion (RI.4.9, SL.4.1)


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Participating in a Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution (30 minutes)

B. Reflecting on Discussion (10 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Sharing Our Work (15 minutes)

4. Homework

A. None

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students participate in a text-based discussion about whether they would have supported the American Revolution, citing evidence from the texts read throughout the module (RL.4.9, SL.4.1). At the end of the lesson, students share their published broadsides.
  • In this lesson, students focus on working to become ethical people by showing respect, compassion, and empathy as they participate in collaborative discussions.

How it builds on previous work:

  • Students will draw on their learning about the American Revolution as they participate in the discussion. In Lesson 13, students prepared for the discussion by completing the Preparing for a Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution note-catcher.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may require additional support voicing their opinions. Consider prompting them and invite students to prompt each other to ensure that everyone is heard in each group.

Assessment guidance:

  • Use the Collaborative Discussion Checklist to assess students' progress toward SL.4.1 (see the Tools page).

In Advance

  • Strategically group students heterogeneously for discussions, with four or five students in each group. Try to get an even number of groups so that the groups can be paired off to observe each other during the discussion and provide feedback.
  • Review the Fishbowl protocol (see Classroom Protocols).
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-2 to create anchor charts to share with families, to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families, and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 4.I.A.1, 4.I.A.3, 4.I.A.4, and 4.I.B.5

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to discuss their opinion about the American Revolution, which allows them to demonstrate their learning from the module, learn from others, and use language in a meaningful, productive context.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to engage in a text-based discussion without much time to prepare. Remind students of their hard work and all the learning they have acquired during the module and allow them to review their Preparing for a Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution note-catchers from Lesson 13 ahead of time.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During Work Time A, encourage students to use Goals 1-2 Conversation Cues with other students to extend and deepen conversations, think with others, and enhance language development. (Example: "Can you give an example?")

For heavier support:

  • Consider providing students with sentence starters during Work Time A to support them in the text-based discussion. Allow time for them to orally practice with a partner before doing so with the group. For example, "I believe that ________ because ____________." "Another reason for my opinion is ____________." "I agree, and would like to add that ____." "I respectfully disagree, and the reason why is ____________."

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): To set themselves up for success in preparing for the text-based discussion, students need to generalize the skills learned from previous lessons. Activate their prior knowledge by recalling learning targets from previous interactions with the text and discussions of opinion based on textual evidence. Also, consider displaying a numbered sequence of the steps in this lesson.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): In this lesson, students participate in a text-based discussion as the performance task. For those who may need additional support with expressive language, facilitate communication by providing ample wait time and support as they organize their thoughts. This way, all students benefit from peer interaction during the discussion.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Invite students to reflect on their learning from previous lessons in this unit. This supports students in understanding the value and relevance of the activities in this lesson. Provide support for students who may need additional guidance in peer interactions and collaboration. (Example: Offer prompts or sentence frames that support students in asking for help or clarification from classmates.) To support students who may need help sustaining effort and/or attention, provide opportunities for restating the goal. In doing so, students are able to maintain focus for completing the activity.


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

  • respect, empathy, compassion (L)


  • Performance Task anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Discussion Norms anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Discussion Notes: American Revolution (one per student)
  • Sticky notes (two colors; one of each per student)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Preparing for a Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution note-catcher (from Lesson 13; one per student)
  • T-chart (one per discussion group)
  • Patriot broadside (completed in Lesson 12; one per student)
  • Loyalist broadside (completed in Lesson 13; one per student)


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.


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes)

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

"I can follow discussion norms to participate in a productive discussion about my opinion of the American Revolution."

  • Give students specific, positive feedback on their hard work throughout this module. Tell students that today they will apply what they have learned about the American Revolution and the different perspectives people had during that time by having a small group discussion in which they share their own opinion on the revolution.
  • For students who may need additional support with comprehension and engagement: Invite students to recall and share how they engaged in text-based discussions from previous units. (MMR, MME)
  • For ELLs: (Explaining Function: Prepositional Phrases) Consider underlining--or inviting students to underline--the prepositional phrases in the learning target ("in a productive discussion"; "about my opinion"; "of the American Revolution"). Challenge students to explain the function that each serves in the learning target.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Participating in a Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution (30 minutes)

  • Focus students on the Performance Task anchor chart and reread it aloud. Answer clarifying questions.
  • Direct students' attention to the Discussion Norms anchor chart, specifically on the cues and responses. Remind students that a discussion is not just about saying what they want to say and then they are done. Effective participation is about listening to others and asking and answering questions to be completely clear about what others are saying and to clarify their own points.
  • As needed, remind students of the differences between a discussion and a presentation.
  • Use the same routine from Unit 2, Lessons 5 and 13 to guide students through the text-based discussion:
    • Distribute the Discussion Notes: American Revolution handout and sticky notes.
    • Move students into groups, pair them off, label each group A or B, and allocate an area of the room for them.
    • Review the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart by reminding students that ethical people treat others well and stand up for what is right.
    • Invite students to retrieve their Preparing for a Text-Based Discussion: American Revolution note-catcher and to review their opinion, reasons, evidence, and elaboration in preparation for the discussion.
    • Guide students through 10-minute discussions, as well as time for recording feedback.
    • Collect sticky notes and add them to the T-chart.
  • For students who may need additional support with comprehension and persistence: Invite students to share with an elbow partner how they followed discussion norms in previous text-based discussions. (MMR, MME)
  • For ELLs: (Oral Processing) Consider giving students time to orally process the information on their note-catcher with a partner before participating in the text-based discussion.
  • For ELLs: (Sketching Questions and Ideas) Allow students to sketch their questions and ideas on the Discussion Notes form as they wait for their chance to speak.

B. Reflecting on Discussion (10 minutes)

  • Use the routine from Unit 2, Lesson 5 to guide students through a reflection on the discussion:
    • Prompt students to silently reflect on and record what they learned about the American Revolution from the discussion in the second box on their Discussion Notes: American Revolution ("My learning from this discussion").
    • After 5 minutes, refocus whole group and invite students to silently reflect on what they think they could do better next time in the last box on their Discussion Notes: American Revolution ("My goal for the next discussion").
    • Turn and Talk:

"What is your goal for the next discussion?" (Responses will vary.)

    • Invite students to record their goal on their discussion notes.
    • Collect students' Discussion Notes: American Revolution.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with written expression: (Modeling) Model multiple acceptable ways to respond to the prompt. (Example: Provide examples of sketching answers or using sentence starters.) (MMR, MMAE)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Sharing Our Work (15 minutes)

  • Invite students to retrieve their Patriot broadside and Loyalist broadside.
  • Direct students to set up their workspaces so that only their broadside is out.
  • Using the A and B labels from Work Time A, invite A partners to circulate to view the work of B partners.
  • Ask A partners to return to their seats.
  • Switch roles and repeat this process.
  • Gather students whole group. Use a checking for understanding technique (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the learning target.
  • As time permits, focus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and invite them to self-assess how well they showed respect, compassion, and empathy in this lesson.
  • To foster a sense of community and provide options for physical action after viewing their classmates' work: Invite the class to join you in a special applause as you celebrate their work today and build enthusiasm for future learning (e.g., silent cheer, firecracker, or hip-hip hooray). (MMAE, MME)
  • ELLs: (Revisiting Learning Targets) Revisit the learning target introduced in Opening A. Invite students to rephrase it with specific examples.


  • None

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

Sign Up