Classroom Overview

Writing
Students are expected to construct cohesive written narratives, informational, compare/contrast, and argumentative writings.
They are expected to apply the writing process drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. 

Units of Study:

Personal Narrative: Crafting Powerful Life Stories 

Essential Question(s): 
What are the elements of powerful narrative writing?
How do writers create texts that reveal and reflect the thoughts, feelings, and actions of human beings?
Understandings 
Writers include dialogue, inner thinking, precise actions, and setting details to develop their narratives.
Writers share ideas by applying multiple craft techniques, including transitions and precise details, to achieve specific effects. This enables them to communicate in appropriate and meaningful ways to achieve their intended purpose.


Research-Based Information Writing
Essential Question(s):
How do writers shape information to explain complex and important topics?
How do writers of informational texts strengthen their credibility?
Understandings:
Writers use informational text structures that allow them to clearly communicate fact and ideas about topics.
Writers of informational text strengthen their credibility by incorporating accurate quotes, supportable facts, and clear statistics in their writing.

Writing Persuasive Essays
Essential Question(s): 
How do authors identify topics they feel strongly about?
What structures are most effective for writing a persuasive essay?
How do authors support their opinions with relevant evidence?
How do readers verify that a source is credible and/or reliable?
How do authors craft their writing to target a specific audience?

Understandings:

Authors make lists and brainstorm to identify topics they feel strongly about.
Effective persuasive essays include a clear statement of claim, logical development of argument, and an ending that restates the important points.
Authors find the best evidence to support their claim from experts and trusted sources.
Authors adopt a tone of writing that matches their intended audience.

The Literary Essay
Essential Question(s)
How do readers write essays that support their arguments about characters and themes?
What essay structures are used to frame literary essays?

Understandings
:
Readers gather evidence from texts, then analyze and explain how the evidence supports their claims about characters and themes.
Literary essay structures include character analysis, theme analysis, and compare-contrast.

Reading
Students will read 20 minutes each night, engage in oral and written analysis of text, keep a Reading Response Journal of Open Responses to Text and participate in activities to reinforce their learning of determining: What makes a good story, analyzing craft and structure, identifying the "big idea in texts," finding text evidence to support their claim about what the a text states explicitly and is inferred. They may join in the 40 Book Reading Challenge.

Units of Study:
Making A Good Story: Character Analysis & Structure 
Essential Question(s): 
How do imaginative texts provide insights into universal themes, dilemmas and social realities of the world?
In what way do literary texts represent complex stories that reveal the reflective and apparent thoughts and actions of human beings?
How can readers compare a variety of texts and/or genres in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the author’s message/theme as well as the ideas explored by him/her?
Understandings:  
Imaginative texts provide timeless insights into universal themes, dilemmas and social realities of the world.
Literary texts represent complex stories that reveal the reflective and apparent thoughts and actions of human beings.
There are specific strategies and resources through which a variety of text genres can be compared to arrive at an accurate understanding of the author’s message/theme as well as the ideas explored by him/her.

Reading to Learn: Nonfiction Text Structures & Features

Essential Question(s): 
What text structures and features do authors of nonfiction use to convey information to readers?
What strategies do readers use to gather information and develop their knowledge and understanding of the world?
How do readers assess the credibility of a text and determine an author’s point of view about a topic?
Understandings: 
Authors choose from a variety of text structures, including description, compare/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution and sequence, to convey information to readers.
Readers notice text structures and features to help them develop their knowledge and understanding of the world.
Readers ask questions about the author’s expertise and experience with a topic and the quality of their resources to determine the credibility of a source.


Argument & Advocacy: Researching Debatable Issues
Essential Question(s): 

How do readers evaluate argument text?
What is an effective research cycle?
How do readers determine an author’s perspective in a text? 
Understandings:
Readers evaluate argument texts by identifying the claim being made and determining if there are reasons and evidence to support that claim.
An effective research cycle includes reading, thinking in response, raising questions, reading more, talking with others, and writing about thinking.
Readers determine an author’s perspective by considering the source of information, the point of view of the source, and by evaluating language choices made by the author.

Authors’ Craft: Analysis & Application
Essential Question(s): 

What intentional choices do authors make while writing?
How do these choices around craft and structure help authors convey their text’s meaning? 
How do story elements (setting, characters, and plot) interact and impact one another? 
How does an author’s language and word choice affect our understanding of events, characters, and situations? 
How do authors develop the narrator’s (and/or their own) point of view?
Understandings:
Authors make intentional choices about narration (1st or 3rd person), plot structure (chronological vs. inclusion of flashbacks), and use of figurative language to help convey a text’s meaning.
Story elements interact to develop larger ideas and themes in texts.
Authors make deliberate choices about words and/or phrases and punctuation that affect the mood and tone of a text, as well as the narrator’s point of view.

Each student should come to class prepared with necessary materials, homework, and an organized system of notes.
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