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EDIS 4882: English Education

Name: Sarah Sheffield

Context:
Date and time for which lesson will be taught: 2/28/17 11am-11:45am
Course name: English Advanced/Honors
Grade level: 8th
Length of lesson: 45 mins
Description of setting, students, and curriculum and any other important contextual characteristics:
There are 18 students in the class.
Students are in the midst of preparing for their writing SOL. They have been practicing writing introductory paragraphs,
including their thesis. They are familiar with the basic 5-paragraph structure of an essay. Students have also had experience
looking at prompts and comparing them with rubrics. This lesson will work to help students develop their skills with adding
detail into their body paragraphs.

Objectives (number each objective to reference in the Assessment section):


SWBAT:
Cognitive (know/understand):
1. Students will understand that details in writing make the piece more powerful.
2. Students will know strategies for adding details to their writing.

Affective (feel/value) and/or Non-Cognitive:


3. Students will value the effect of details in their paragraphs.

Performance (do):
4. Students will be able to create a paragraph using specific details.

SOLs: [List with numbers portrayed in the SOL document]


VA SOL 8.7 The student will write in a variety of forms, including narration, exposition, persuasion, and informational.

Assessments: Methods for evaluating each of the specific objectives listed above.
Diagnostic: Students will demonstrate what they already know about by
In the introduction, students will share with me what they know about how to improve the details in the paragraph. They get
an opportunity to brainstorm ways to add details, and they will share those ideas with me. (1, 2)
Formative: Students will show their progress towards by
Students will turn in their paragraphs at the end of the workshop period. I will look over them to see how they incorporated
details. (2, 4).
Students will write an answer the question, Why do we need to use details when writing? beneath their paragraph before
turning it in.
Summative: Students will ultimately be assessed (today or in a future lesson) on by...
The SOL
Research Project

Materials Needed:
This is just a list of the materials you will need for this lesson to occur. In the Materials Appendix below, you will include the
actual materials or links to what you will be using.
Google Doc
Instructional Steps (Procedures): Detail student and teacher behavior.
[Note: Any words that represent what I would say directly to students appear in italics.]

Beginning Room Arrangement:


[Changes in this arrangement that become necessary later will be noted in the plan]
Students sit in assigned seats.
Sit in chairs in back for conferencing.
1. [5 mins.] Bridge/Hook/Opening to lesson:
a. Show a bad model paragraph and ask students to discuss what could be added to improve
the details of the paragraph
i. What do you all think of this? Could this pass for successful paragraph in your writing?
ii. What makes it unsuccessful? Talk with your shoulder partner for 30 seconds about what
you think needs to improve.
iii. Yeah, it sounds like you all are picking up that this paragraph doesnt give the reader
a lot of information. Also, its choppy and not easy to read or follow.

2. Think-aloud (13 min)


i. Ok, surprise, I wrote this! This isnt something that I would consider a final draft or even
a rough draft, but it is my initial gut response to this prompt: Sometimes people
recognize similarities between themselves and a character from a book or a movie. Write
about a character from a book or a movie who you think is similar to you. What do you
have in common with this character? Use specific details and examples in your
response.
ii. So, I thought about Fahrenheit 451 because thats one of the books that I have read most
recently, and I can remember it the best. I decided that in many ways, I am similar to
Clarisse. I am similar to Clarisse because were both polite, we both like to learn, and we
are both sort of different from everyone else.
iii. I then decided to focus on one part of that thesis and started to think about reasons why I
think that Clarisse likes to learn and why thats similar to me. So, my first step was to
look for reasons [write the word reasons on the board].
iv. Now, Im looking at this paragraph again and after our discussion, I know that we need
to add more details, so Im going to go ahead and think out loud about how I would add
more detail to this paragraph.
v. First, I would think about those examples [write the word examples on the board] I have:
Clarisse talks about stuff she knows and she spends a lot of time outside. I think I can
make those a little clearer by explaining them. [Type as I talk] The reader can tell that
Clarisse likes to learn because Clarisse often talks about what she knows.
vi. Hmmm looking at it now, I can tell that I can make that new sentence even more
detailed if I add Names [write the word names on the board] to it. Clarisse often talks to
Montag about what she knows. I could even add how she talks to Montag about how
things were in the past. I should make the word things more specific. Ill try the word
society: how society was in the past. At this point, it would be good to mention Clarisses
family. Clarisse learned a great deal about the past from her uncle and her parents when
they all sat together in the living room and had intellectual conversations.
vii. One thing that I am still missing here is how this relates to me since my claim is that I am
similar to Clarisse. I am going to add: Like Clarisse, I learn a great deal about the past
when I talk to my parents after dinner. In the warm light from the lamps, we let time slip
away as we softly discuss books we have read, stories we have learned, and people who
have changed the world. With this sentence, I appealed to the readers senses [write word
senses on the board] by using words like warm and softly. I also give examples of what
we talk about.
viii. RENNS:
1. So if you look up here on the board. You can see that Ive written these words
down to track what sort of things I was adding to my paragraph. I would like to
add one more that is often more relevant when you are writing about facts rather
than opinions. Thats Numbers. If you add statistics to support your claim,
then you could make your paragraph stronger. Numbers could be great for your
research project. When you are looking for data, look for specific data that really
tells you and the reader what you mean.
2. You can think about these ideas when youre writing to help you add details if
youre at a loss of what you should say.
3. Workshop [25 mins.]
a. Ok, I want you all to get a chance practicing adding details to your paragraphs. There are three
prompts on the board. Your job is to decide what your answer would be. Come up with about
three reasons that you chose that answer. The answer and your three reasons are what you
usually use to create your thesis for your introductory paragraph. Next, you pick one of these
reasons to write a paragraph about. Then, use reasons, examples, names, numbers, and the
senses to help you develop that paragraph into a well-crafted, detailed body paragraph. You will
be turning this paragraph in to me.
b. While you will each be working independently, on your computers or on paper, I am going to
conference with you in small groups.
c. Thank you all for working so hard. As you wrap up your paragraph, please think about and
respond to the question: Why do we use details in writing? Why do we need them? Write your
response underneath your paragraph.
4. [5 mins] Closure:
a. Thank you all for your hard work. As I talked with you all, I could tell that you were starting to
really get the hang of adding details to your paragraphs. You can use this strategy when revising
as well as when you begin writing. Remember, on your SOL, you will need to use specific
examples and details to support every claim that you make.

Attention to Individual Student Needs: (Differentiation):


Detail specific actions/materials you will use to differentiate instruction in this lesson for at least one of your three case study
students.
There are two students who are particularly shy and really dislike participating in class discussions.
When working in small groups, one of these students often does all of the work. Because the last lesson
I taught focused a great deal on working with others to come up with answers, I wanted this lesson to be
more individualized so that the students can each get practice without having to feel too uncomfortable
sharing.
With my conferencing, I can break students into groups and help them where I think they will need the
most help. Some students will need help earlier in the lesson, while others might be able to get started on
their own, but will need help fine-tuning their work.
Technology Use:
Detail specific technology being used in the lesson with explanation for why it is being used.
I will be using a Google Doc and a screen projector to show the paragraph I am working with. Students will be able to watch
me enact my think-aloud.
How this lesson incorporates specific insights from course readings and/or class discussion:
I used this lesson to get practice working with the workshop design for a class. I have not had a lot of
experience implementing the workshop time, so I was excited for this opportunity. When thinking about
this lesson, I thought specifically about how Tovani made the analogy between a sports team and a
classroom. When playing sports, students need practice or else they cannot be successful. Once I give
students a skill, they need the opportunity to practice that skill.
Materials Appendix:
Include the actual materials or links to what you will be using. If you are using a handout or a PowerPoint, or giving a quiz,
etc., these documents (or links to them) must be included. (see the list above)
Appendix A:
Google Doc where I will do Think Aloud
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DccPdig5CU1uWN54yzQJhvF4wWZAVLg14sch2PPDVRw/edit
?usp=sharing

In Retrospect (to be completed after the lesson has been taught):


Reflect on the lesson after you taught it. Was there anything that surprised you? Discuss your students reactions and
behaviors to the activities you planned. Is there anything that you would do differently if you were to teach this again? What
would you do?

In this lesson today, one thing that surprised me was how many students had ideas for how to make the paragraph
more interesting and detailed in the very beginning of the lesson. Many of them were excited to raise their hands and offer
feedback. I think that this shows how students learned a lot from a previous lesson where they used the rubric to grade
someone elses paragraphs. After this enthusiasm, I was then surprised to find that the students had a difficult time applying
their ideas to their own paragraphs. What this taught me was that if I had used that initial conversations as a diagnostic
assessment, then I would have thought that the students were prepared to apply the writing skills. Because the students had
troubling applying concepts, I think that the necessity of writing workshop time was reinforced for me.
I was also surprised by how uncomfortable it is to talk for a long period of time without student engagement. I was
performing a think-aloud, and I could see eyes glazing over, so I went ahead and stopped a little early and only edited two
sentences instead of three. I had concerns about this before teaching, but I assured myself that other teachers do this and if I
did it for less than 13 minutes or so, then they would be okay. I think that if I were to do this again, I would involve the
students after the first edited sentence that I model. I will model one sentence, and then have the students give me suggestions
for my second sentence and possibly the third or fourth sentences. I think that having students more engaged will be a much
better way to have them learn the material.
I wish that I had planned the conferencing better. I tried to conference in groups, and once I got there, I did not
entirely know what to ask. I felt like I was helping one or two students, but in general, I think my conference ended up being
pretty worthless. I would like to not only get more experience practicing these conferences, but I also need to be better about
scripting and coming up with objectives for each conference. I needed to ask different questions for the students who I talked
with at the beginning of writing a paragraph and the students who I spoke with at the end of writing a paragraph. I think I
could have had a list of questions, but also a list of suggestions. One thing that I think I did well in the conferences was really
talking through each time of detail the students could add to their paragraph. I also offered suggestions for how they could
add those details. One student said, That was really helpful. I didnt realize there was a way that I could incorporate the
senses into this paragraph. She wanted to go back and add more descriptive imagery to make her paragraph stronger. In a
way, I think that a part of my workshop was successful. I was more successful with the students who had strong topics. I need
to improve my ability to help students when they are not really on a solid path. One student had a really shaky topic, and I did
not take the time to really work that out with him because I was so distracted trying to remember questions to ask. Having
that shaky topic made the rest of the workshop really hard for him, especially when he had to restart completely and lost a lot
of time.
The next time that I teach conferencing, I want to do smaller groups. I think two is better than three, which is
definitely better than four. I think I went into those groups of three and four as if they would be quick conferences, but I
should have really gone into them more like small-group reading instruction where I was offering ideas for each of them. I
think to begin conferencing, I need to practice more one-on-one. I also need to be more assertive in pushing them to develop
stronger ideas. I need to be better about not shying away from offering critical, constructive feedback. I should be prepared to
ask more questions to push the students to develop their ideas, explain their ideas, and have them create strong starting points
so that they can be successful.