Unit Overview: Students will learn that writing a persuasive essay can be enjoyable, and it is not as hard as it may seem.

Content Area:Language Arts

Unit Title: Essay Writing

Target Course/Grade Level:   Grade 7
Name:Wes Jarrell and Anne Carson            
School:  The Ellison School                                       
Date:  7 July 2011                              

Unit Summary: Students will learn the steps required to write a persuasive essay. Students will begin with pre-writing techniques and work their way through the development of a thesis, organization of the essay, techniques for writing an introduction, transition statements,  methods of proof and analysis, and the importance of a strong conclusion. Students will also understand how to proof read for grammar, content, and structure.

Primary interdisciplinary connections: Social Studies, Art

21st century themes: Civic Literacy, Global Awareness

Unit Rationale: Writing is a process. To become good writers, students need frequent practice with serious constructive criticism. This unit will require students to produce multiple drafts of and subject those drafts to peer and teacher evaluations. It will also give students a specialized, shared vocabulary to facilitate thinking about writing.

Learning Targets : Standards Key Ideas and Details

Standards :
6-12 ELA Anchor Standards: Writing

1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Unit Essential Questions:
How do you write a persuasive essay.?
What are the parts of an essay and what functions do they serve?
What is a thesis?
How can a thesis cause tension?
What is an argument?
How do you write an introduction?
How is an introduction different from a thesis?
What constitutes a good transition statement?
How are body paragraphs related to the thesis?
What constitutes evidence in a literature essay?
What is analysis and how much does one include?
What do you put in the conclusion of an essay?
What should a writer look for in proofreading for content, grammar, and structure?

Unit Enduring Understandings:
Persuasive writing is essential to communication with others.
Persuasive writing and all writing requires the application of a process.
All writing is rewriting.

Unit Learning Targets:
Students will:
Identify the parts of an essay.
Write a strong thesis statement
Identify and use strong transition statements.
Identify and use strong evidence from the text.
Provide meaningful analysis of textual evidence.

Evidence of Learning:         
Summative Assessment (8 Days)
Students will write a persuasive essay that has a clear thesis statement and paragraphs with analysis to support the thesis.

Equipment needed
Smartboard, document camera, Internet access for class blog

Teacher Resources
            Internet, smartboard, computers

Formative Assessments: Daily exit passes, Responses to class blogs.

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1: Purpose of an Essay

Lesson 2:Develop a Thesis

Lesson 3: Introduction and Thesis Revisions

Lesson 4: Body Paragraphs

Lesson 5: Revision and Rewriting

Teacher Notes: Each lesson starts with a motivating free write assignment and discussion designed to activate background knowledge and spark student interest. Next, students use free writing assignments to generate thesis statements for future essays. Students post notes about each toher’s writing that is posted on the class blogs.  Each writing assignment will contain different vocabulary and grammar lessons tailored to the needs of the individual student.

Curriculum Development Resources

Lesson Plan 2
Content Area: Language Arts Literacy
Grade: 7/8
Lesson Title: Develop a Thesis,Writing A Thesis statement
Timeframe: 1 45 minute period

Lesson Components
            Smartboard Lesson: Thesis Building
            Journaling
            Blogging with Classmates

21st Century Themes: Global Awareness

21st Century Skills: Learning and Innovation Skills

Goals/Objectives/CPIs

Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies Daily Lesson Plans (10 days)

Engagement: Students will begin by expressing opinions on various subjects.
Exploration: Students will provide analysis to back up opinions.
Explanation: Students will perform peer review of work.
Elaboration: Students practice various skills using the Smartboard lessons
Evaluation: Students will present and discuss final persuasive essay.

Formative Assessment Tasks

Universal Design for Learning Options

Multiple Means of Representation

  1. Perception- Readability software allows the user to customize the display of information by reducing visual distractions that surround written text on the web.
  2. Language & symbols- Visuwords visual dictionary provides flexibility of color and contrast is a great example of customizing the display of information so that it is accessible to a broader range of users.
  3. Comprehension- Graphic organizers will help students organize and retain knowledge - cause and effect, character and story, compare and contrast, and more. Graphic organizers are effective examples of guiding information processing. These supports help students to organize their thoughts and establish relationships between ideas.

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  1. Physical activity- For students with limited ability to use a keyboard, the Virtual Keyboard creates and onscreen keyboard that students can “type” using a mouse or trackball. Students also use Smartnotebook lessons to reinforce concepts.
  2. Expressive skills and fluency- SAM Animation is software designed to give students the power of making stop-action movies to share their ideas and understanding. The software is easy to use and provides a unique experience for students to explore challenging problems in any subject through creating animations. SAM provides an engaging way for students to communicate their ideas.  
  3. Executive functions- The Ellison Eighth Grade Literature blog is a place where students share and debate ideas about works they are studying. The use of a blog encourages collaboration and the dissemination of ideas.

Multiple Means of Engagement

  1. Recruiting interest- We will use principals found in the Word Generation program in order to give students the sustained exposure to academic language they need for success in school.  Embedding new vocabulary into engaging, controversial passages is an effective way to enhance relevance, value, and authenticity. For use throughout the unit.
  1. Sustaining effort and persistence in Exploring Language-  Slatebox allows students to markup ideas on embeddable "slates" and collaborate in real-time and  is another great tool that will enhance communication among students. For use during the exploration phase.
  2. Self-regulation Students -  Goal setting worksheets will enable students to encourage and organize personal goals. For use at the engagement phase of each lesson.

Resources :

The following websites were used in preparing the strategies, accommodations, and modifications in the lesson:

http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/
http://www.educationoasis.com/curriculum/graphic_organizers.htm
http://www.leithauserresearch.com/nokeys.html
http://www.samanimation.com/
http://ellison8literature.blogspot.com/
http://wordgeneration.org/
http://www.slatebox.com/Index
http://worksheetplace.com

Lesson Plan 4
Content Area: Language Arts Literacy
Grade: 7/8
Lesson Title: Writing a solid body paragraph.
Timeframe: 1 45 minute period

Lesson Components
            Smartboard Lesson: Transitions, Evidence, and Analysis
            Blogging with Classmates

21st Century Themes: Civic Literacy, Global Awareness

21st Century Skills: Learning and Innovation Skills

Goals/Objectives/CPIs

Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies Daily Lesson Plans (8 Days)
Engagement: Students will begin by looking at samples of thesis statements.
Exploration: Students will group up and decide on what evidence from the text will support those thesis statements.
Explanation: Groups will perform peer review of work, discussing if the proof selected by other groups really supports the theses chosen.
Elaboration: Students practice various skills using the Smartboard lessons
Evaluation: Students will write and discuss a body paragraph based on the previous discussions.

Formative Assessment Tasks

Universal Design for Learning Options

Multiple Means of Representation

  1. Language & symbols- Visuwords visual dictionary provides flexibility of color and contrast is a great example of customizing the display of information so that it is accessible to a broader range of users.
  1. Comprehension- Graphic organizers will help students organize and retain knowledge - cause and effect, character and story, compare and contrast, and more. Graphic organizers are effective examples of guiding information processing. These supports help students to organize their thoughts and establish relationships between ideas.

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  1. Expressive skills and fluency- SAM Animation is software designed to give students the power of making stop-action movies to share their ideas and understanding. The software is easy to use and provides a unique experience for students to explore challenging problems in any subject through creating animations. SAM provides an engaging way for students to communicate their ideas.  
  1. Executive functions- The Ellison Eighth Grade Literature blog is a place where students share and debate ideas about works they are studying. The use of a blog encourages collaboration and the dissemination of ideas.

Multiple Means of Engagement

  1. Self-regulation Students -  Goal setting worksheets will enable students to encourage and organize personal goals. For use at the engagement phase of each lesson.

Resources :

The following websites were used in preparing the strategies, accommodations, and modifications in the lesson:

http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/
http://www.educationoasis.com/curriculum/graphic_organizers.htm
http://www.leithauserresearch.com/nokeys.html
http://www.samanimation.com/
http://ellison8literature.blogspot.com/
http://wordgeneration.org/
http://www.slatebox.com/Index
http://worksheetplace.com