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Concept Unit

Lesson Plan Template

Unit Working Title: How I Can Use Literature To Approach Problems in My Own Life

Unit Big Idea (Concept/Theme): Coping with Adversity

Unit Primary Skill focus: Making an Argument

Week _2_ of 3; Plan #__4_ of 9; [90 mins.]

Plan type: _X_Full-Detail ____Summary

Content Requirement Satisfied:

(Note: Refer to the list in the document called Concept Unit Lesson Plans)

Writing instruction with syntax (active voice), use of mentor text

Unit Learning Objectives (numbered) [from my Backwards Design Unit Document],

followed by Specific lesson objectives (lettered) being taught in this lesson:

Cognitive (know/understand):
1. Students will know the difference between active and passive voice (8d)

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


Performance (do):
1. Students will be able to compose argumentative statements based off close-readings of
short stories (8c)
2. Students will be able to identify what is an argumentative thesis statement and what isnt

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

7.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of fictional texts, narrative nonfiction,
and poetry
a. describe the elements of narrative structure including setting, character development,
plot structure, theme, and conflict

7.7 The student will write in a variety of forms with an emphasis on exposition, narration, and
d. establish a central idea and organization
e. compose a topic sentence or thesis statement

CCSs: [List with numbers portrayed in the CCS document]

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information
through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content
Methods of Assessment:
[How will you know if the intended learning occurred?] List all methods of assessment used in
this lesson or which are related to this lesson and come in a future lesson. After each assessment,
indicate in brackets the number(s) and letter(s) of the unit objective and the related lesson
objectives that the assessment is evaluating.

Diagnostic Formative Summative

Before this lesson, Students will complete a Students will complete a
students will have handout where they change character talk (based off
already learned how to sentences that are in passive Steinekes concept of a Book
annotate a text voice to sentences that are in Talk with a different name so
according to a specific active voice after the mini- they dont think its a book
guided prompt (in this lesson. This will not only report) where they will have to
case serve as independent practice follow the following structure:
hardship/adversity for them, but will inform me 1. Present the characters
since that is the theme whether the majority of them adversity, explaining
of the unit) and they understand the concept. the context and relevant
have done close- (Appendix A) (8d) details
reading with the goal 2. Describe how the
of making an argument Students will begin drafting character approaches
from their close theses or arguments that are this adversity within the
reading and about different topics than context of the story
annotations. Having a adversity in literature. This 3. Form an argument
thesis or argument is a exposure will help them get about the effectiveness
crucial skill that they introduced to the concept of a of the characters
will need for their thesis in general instead of decision at the time.
character talk jumping in to write one about What do you think
summative a specific topic right away. he/she couldve done
assessment. Before I Before doing this, we will also differently, if anything?
begin this lesson, I will discuss the necessary Why?
ask students what they components of a thesis (8a, 8b, 8c, 7a)
already know about statement [e.g. how it is
theses. Have they different from just any In addition to the character
heard the word before? sentence] (Appendix B, this is talk students will complete a
If so, what context was part of the PPT) (8e) self-reflection writing
it used in? Since they assignment about how they
are in 7th grade, Im approached adversity in their
own life during a particular
guessing that a lot of
situation. (7b, 5)
this will be new for me
to teach to them. From
students past writing, I
know that they
struggle with using
active instead of
passive voice, so this
will be the topic of our
Procedures/Instructional Strategies
[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 will be seated in a horse-shoe style around the board at the front of the room.

90 min total
1. [10 mins.] Bridge/Hook/Opening to lesson:

Hey yall! Thanks for coming in so quickly and quietly this morning. Last time we worked on
close reading skills and how we could hone our close reading skills in order to make an
argument about a text. Well, this time around, we are going to actually work on drafting that
argument, which is so exciting!

Each skill that we are working on each class period is going to build up to your final project for
this unit, the character talk that I talked about last week. You will get more details on this as
we learn more, but keep in mind today that the skills you are learning are not only important for
this project, but also important for your future English classes. Were talking about what a thesis
is today and how to write onethis is something Id bet youll work on in all of your future
English classes. Get excited because youre getting a head-start!

Some of you might be thinking Well Mrs. Horsley, thats great, but what if I dont like English or
Im not planning on going to college? I think this video (Appendix D) will help convince you
that you need to know how to write a thesis. Its an important skill outside of English class in the
real world! (Play video) What were yalls general responses to the video? (Pause, call on a few
Yall can see that argumentative writing is a huge part of the writing that you do every day.
Even though you might not think of sending a persuasive text to a friend trying to get him to do
something is argumentative writing, it is. The same thing goes for posting something on
Facebook thats argumentative in nature. If you want people to agree with you, your
argumentative writing needs to be good, right?

Before we start doing activities with argumentative though, I noticed that many of you struggle
with passive voice in your writing. We are going to address this problem first before we move on
to argumentative writing and theses. Please keep this mini-lesson in mind later in this lesson as
well when you are drafting your own argumentative statements. They should not be in the
passive voice!

2. [20 mins.] Mini-lesson on active voice

Awesome, has anyone heard of the terms active and passive voice before? (Pause, wait for
volunteers, if not continue explaining, if someone volunteers recap what they say and write their
thoughts on the board) So even if some of you might have heard these terms before, you might be
unsure about what they mean. That is completely okay! Maybe youve heard past English
teachers say that passive voice is bad and active voice is good, but they havent explained to you
why. Well youre in luck, because Im about to answer all of your questions!

Please take notes while I am writing these definitions on the board in your notebook. You dont
have to copy down every single thing I say word for word, but remember to use the note-taking
strategies weve talked about earlier in the year to sift out what you think is the most important
and what will be the most useful for you when you are revisiting your notes to study.

With that in mind, active voice is when the subject is doing the verbs action and passive voice is
when the subject is acted upon. (Write these terms on the board, give students time to copy
down) These terms may seem confusing to you and thats okay, because theyre hard to
understand out of context. Thats why Im going to give you examples of them. In your writing,
just in general, but also for your character talk assignment, you will want to use active voice,
NOT passive voice.

Ill give you two examples of the same sentence written in both active and passive voice on the
board (Write At each concert, the soprano sang at least one tune from a well-known opera and
at each concert, at least one tune from a well-known opera was sung by the soprano). So the
first sentence is active because the subject [in this case the soprano] is the one doing the action
verb [in this case to sing]. In the second sentence, we have a reversal. Instead of the subject
being at the beginning of the sentence, it is at the end. Can someone read aloud the second
sentence for me? (Pause, call on volunteers). Great, Thanks X. Does anyone have any ideas why
we might prefer the active voice in sentence 1 to the passive voice in sentence 2 (Pause, see if any
students volunteer ideas)

Those are some good thoughts. Id also want to add that many times, passive voice can just
sound awkward. Usually when you are talking with someone else, you are using active voice
without even thinking about it. Because of this, passive voice will sound weird or unfamiliar to
you in some cases. Besides just sounding a little off, passive voice is also harder to execute in a
clear way. It usually requires extra words that can confuse the reader from the main idea. (Refer
back to soprano example, explain that was sung by is not something youd usually hear in
everyday speech, that the second example has more extra wordage without a clear purpose).

Does anyone have any questions about what weve covered so far? (Pause) Great, now that
weve been introduced to the difference between active and passive voice, lets look at some good
examples of writing in the active voice. (Put up Appendix C on projector, have students read each
sentence) Thanks for reading those aloud, guys. One thing that all of these sentences have in
common is that they are clear and easy to understand. You might realize that if they were written
in passive voice, this would not be the case.

Before we move on to some independent practice with active and passive voice, can someone
give me an example of a sentence in active voice? (Call on a student, preferably someone who
hasnt contributed yet, if no one volunteers say that it can be a really simple sentence and remind
them that this is a low-stakes atmosphere, not a big deal if they mess upwrite the sentence they
come up with on the board). Great, thanks X. Now, could someone else put that same sentence
into the passive voice?(Volunteer to come to board and make it passive, help them with changing
around the subject to the end of the sentence if they get stuck).

Great guys, now please give me a thumb signal about how youre feeling with active and passive
voice. If you understand all of it completely, please do a thumbs up. If you are completely
confused and have a lot of questions, do a thumbs down. If you are somewhere in the middle and
would like more practice, you can put your thumb in the middle. Awesome, thanks guys!

Now, each of you is going to practice active and passive voice with a worksheet that you may
complete in pairs (Pass this out as I am talking). Remember that youll want to be using active
voice in your writing, so if you want a specific part of the handout to focus on it should be the
sections that deal with active voice. Ill be circulating around the room while you fill this out
please stop me if you have any questions. You will have 7 minutes to do this worksheet and then
we will go over the answers. (Have answer key with answers filled in to read out to them orally,
make sure to ask if any have questions at the end or if there were any questions that a lot of
people may have missed so we can talk about what they did wrong).

3. [15 mins.] What is Argumentative Writing?

So you may be thinking, well Mrs. Horsley, now I know what active voice is, but why does it
matter for my final project for this unit, the character talk? Any written argument that you are
going to make is probably going to be more effective if you write it in active voice instead of
passive. In later English classes, you will see that this rule is not always the case, but for right
now please focus on using active voice in your writing.

Great, now back to argumentative writing. Has anyone heard of a thesis before? (Pause, give
them time to answer: Great, X, can you tell me what you remember hearing about a thesis or
what you think it is? If not) Thats okay, yall are just 7th graders. A thesis is just a fancy word for
a written argument (slide 1 of PPT) In your notes, please copy down the words that are bolded
on the PPT slide. These will also be posted on our online website for yall so you can access
them after class, so dont worry if you dont get all the words down.

One of the components of a thesis, one that I think is perhaps the most important, is that it takes
a position. I want to highlight the part on this slide about a thesis not being neutral. If no one
could disagree with you, its probably not a strong enough thesis. If you get stuck here, you can
try to brainstorm what someone could say in response to your argument in order to figure out if
it is a thesis.

(slide 2 of PPT) Now that we know what a thesis is, please pair off with your elbow partner and
discuss which one of these theses is the strongest and why. Ill be circulating around the room
listening to your conversations. You have 3 minutes, go! (Pause, circulate) Awesome, how many
of yall thought the first one was the best? The second? The third? It seems like the third won
out. Can someone volunteer and tell me why they picked this one? (Pause, student talk)

Great, thanks for that discussion guys. Another component of a thesis is that it should be specific
as possible. If one of your friends is trying to persuade you to do something, but they wont give
you any specific details and are vague in explaining it to you, you probably arent going to do it.
Remember to write down the bolded words on this slide. So you want your argument to fit your
assignment. In yalls case, you need your thesis to be narrow because you dont have a ton of
time for the character talk. Does anyone have any questions? (Pause)

(Next slide) Great, now turn back to your elbow partner and discuss these statements on this
slide, keeping in mind what we just learned about what makes a strong thesis statement. If youre
stuck, one place to start is to ask yourself Do I agree or disagree with this? Why/why not? Do I
want to keep reading? Ill be circulating around the room listening in on your conversations, so
dont get nervous if I come upIll be trying to add other relevant information to your
discussions as well! You have 3 minutes to do thisgo! (Student Talk)

Now, X group, can you share with everyone which one yall thought was correct and why?
(Student talk, points I want them to get to: the first statement is not really arguable, most people
would agree that thats true, but also not good because not specific with people, second
statement: dont use always/never statements because there are probably situations where they
dont apply, doesnt give examples of alternatives or what they mean by racist speech, though we
dont know what the fighting words refers to in the 3rd statement we can infer that they
discussed this in the sentences before in the introduction paragraph, key work here is
becausethey are giving the rationale for their opinion) Fantastic, it seems like you guys
really are understanding the components of a strong thesis statement. (Pass out thesis statement
handout) Since this concept is new to yall and you will encounter theses later in your other
English classes, I made this handy list for you guys. Please paste it in your notebook under the
notes section so you can refer back to it later

4. [15 mins] Modeling Argumentative Writing: Mrs. Horsley writes a thesis

Thanks for bearing with me through this introduction to thesis writing, guys. Now I am going to
show you how I write a thesis. Youve seen some good examples of argumentative statements, but
now were going to transition into yall writing them yourselves. Pay attention to what Im
saying as Im doing the actual writing. Also notice how Im annotating the prompt. This
connects back to our earlier lesson on annotations and close reading. All of these things
annotations, close reading, and argumentative writing/thesis writingrelate to each other. When
you are writing a paper, you will likely use all of these skills to come up with your argument!

So the thesis that you are going to write for your character talk is going to be specifically about
hardship, but I wanted you guys to see that you can really write a thesis about anything. (Slide 7)
For this example, I am going to write a thesis about hours of TV watched per day. (Set up
overhead projector so they can actually see me writing, Get out a blank piece of paper and a pen)
So first, Im going to brainstorm the different possible things I could argue in this thesis. Im
going to call thse pro and anti lists for TV watching so I can keep everything straight (make
underlined lists for pro-TV and anti-TV list).

One of the things that comes to mind for the pro-TV argument is that people can choose how they
want to spend their time. I wouldnt want someone telling me how much TV to watch in a day!
(Write individual power to choose what you do with your time) Another pro-TV argument could
be that the type of TV theyre watching could be educational or beneficial. If theyre watching
something like the news or a National History channel, whos to say that type of TV is bad?
(Write educational program possibilities) Hmm, for right now thats all I can think of for pro-TV
arguments. Do any of yall have ideas (Pause, student talk)

Awesome, now on to the anti-TV arguments. I think it would be easy for me to find research to
support the correlation between TV watching and obesity or being a couch potato and having an
unhealthy lifestyle. (Write TV and laziness intertwined) Another argument against TV-watching
could be that if the program is not educational or valuable, the viewer isnt really getting
anything from it. Think about The Bachelor in Paradise or Real Housewives if yall have
heard of those shows. I think we can all agree they arent necessarily teaching you anything
important. If anything, they seem to be teaching things that are not valuable, like the importance
of winning over a man if you are a woman (Write reality TV harbors unrealistic and unhealthy
societal expectations)

Wait, I just thought of something. Yall might think this is funny, but there was a stage in college
when I was really invested in watching The Bachelor every week. Even though I didnt take
the show seriously, I watched it because it provided me with easy entertainment. I could turn off
my brain and relax (Write relax and entertainment under pro section) Another thing I remember
about watching this TV show is that I would get together with all of my girlfriends and we would
watch it at someones house. Even though the TV show was the thing that brought us together, we
would always stay after it was over and catch up about each others lives (Write community
aspect under pro list). As you can see, these categories are flexible and you dont have to
complete them in order. Keep this in mind when you are filling out your own brainstorming list.
Now, back to the cons. Im going to aim for an equal number of bullet points under each heading
so its fair. Another con that I can think of is the negative effects of screen use. Between phones,
computers, and TV screens, the average American is exposed to screens a lot more than their
parents were. (Write negative effects of screen use) Id need to back up this claim with research,
but I feel confident I could find statistics supporting this online. So, now Ive got X pros and X
cons, can anyone think of another X (pro or con) we could say to even out the score? (Pause,
student talk).

Thanks for participating, X! Personally, when I look at these lists, I am more drawn to the anti-
list so Im going to write my argument supporting that side. Im going to start writing my
argument by taking words straight from the prompt. This strategy is something I recommend
yall do as well! (Write I think that the average American watches too much television each
day) Now, I want to be specific since that is one of the components of a good thesis (add as
much as six hours of television and cross out I think that) (new sentence: the average
American watches as much as six hours of television each day.) This sentence isnt actually my
thesis, but I want to keep it because it could be the last sentence in my introduction paragraph
before the actual thesis.

Now, since I know that I want my thesis to be argumentative, Im going to go back and start a
new sentence with I think. If you find yourself getting stuck with thesis writing, this is a great
phrase to fall back on. (Write I think that Americans are watching too much television per day
because) Now this is where Im going to take evidence right from my pro and con list. Lets go
back and Im going to circle the pieces of evidence that I want to use (circle the one about TV
and laziness and negative effects of screen use.) Just because I am circling these now doesnt
mean that I cant address my other thoughts at some point later in this paper. These are going to
be my primary points, though. (Write of the negative effects of screen use and the sedentary
nature that television encourages after because in the original sentence).

Awesome, now I have my thesis statement! Does anyone have any questions about how I did that
process? (Pause) Thanks for paying attention during that process, guys. Now, please take a 5
minute break. Feel free to get up and stretch, go to the bathroom, and get water. Please be back
in your seat by X time so we can keep going with this lesson!


5. [20 min] Practice with Argumentative Writing (in pairs and then individually)
Thanks for coming back from break and getting settled in your seats so nicely. Now, you guys are
going to get some practice with drafting your own theses with a partner. Turn to your elbow
partner and choose one of the prompts on the next two slides (go to the last slide) As you are
working on drafting with your partner, go through the same steps that I did. Think through what
both responses to the question could be and brainstorm your ideas that support each side. Then,
with your partner, pick which side you want to argue. Ill be walking around to different partners
as you guys are working on this, so please feel free to stop me if you have any questions or get
stuck. You will have 7 minutes to do this with your partner and then 3 minutes to get with the
pair next to you and share what you came up with. Ready, go!

Awesome job working in groups, guys. Now, you are each going to choose a topic on the PPT
slide that you have not already talked about with your partner. Go through the same process,
writing out the different points for each side and form a thesis statement choosing one side after
you have done this. Please take 4 min and then we will share these aloud with the class! (Pause,
student talk)
6. [10 min] Peer Editing for Active Voice in Argumentative Writing
Yall really are getting more comfortable with theses today. It makes me excited because you will
be using these in the rest of your English classes! And like that video that we watched at the
beginning of class, knowing how to make a convincing argument is so important! Back to the
activity, the next thing I want you guys to do is to use your clock partner sheet and meet with
your number 3 partner. Swap with them the draft of the thesis that you just did independently.
When you get your partners thesis, you are looking for these things: (Write these on the board:
Does the thesis take a stance instead of being neutral? Is the thesis specific enough? Underline
the specific details or words that could use clarification Is the thesis written in active voice? If
not, help your partner correct it) So when you swap theses, you are going to look at your
partners based off of this criteria. Remember that we are just starting these today, so its not a
big deal if your argument isnt perfect. This is just meant for practice. Does anyone have any
questions about what we are doing? (Pause) I will be coming around the room as usual
contributing to conversations and asking questions. First, jot down the answers to these
questions about your partners thesis in your notebook. Next, when both of you are done, have a
discussion with them about how you scored them. Ready, go!

7. [remaining time) Students are exposed to more texts they could use for the character talk
and can start drafting their theses, but are not required to (can bullet out thoughts for each
story if thats more productive for them at this time)

8. [5 min] Closure:
Thank you to everyone for being patient and attentive. I know this was a long lesson today and
you guys were great about maintaining focus throughout the entire thing! We covered a lot today
from active voice to what a thesis is to how to write one. You will have a lot of time in upcoming
class periods to work on drafting your character talk so please dont get stressed out about it
now. Today was just supposed to be a warm-up to get you thinking more about it.

Im so proud of yalls work with theses especially. I am positive that you will encounter these at
some point later in your English classes and Im glad youre already getting comfortable with
being exposed to them as well as writing them. I will pass out index cards. Please write down an
additional question that you have now relating to our class today. Is there something you wanted
answered but we didnt get to today? If you dont have a question, please write down the activity
that was the most helpful for you. I will collect these from you as you are walking out of the
classroom. Great job today and have a great rest of your day!

Differentiated Instruction to accommodate one or more of my profiled students:

(This is where you identify specific aspects of this lesson which have been differentiated in order
to address the needs of one or more of your profiled studentsidentify them by name)
A break is included so students do not get restless sitting in one spot having to focus for a
long period of time.
The handout that they complete in pairs is tiered, with the earlier questions being easier
and gradually getting harder as they progress throughout the handout. This will help Stan
and Zoe because they will be more knowledgeable about their proper use of active voice
through their interactions with easy statements that will prepare them for statements
that are more difficult to understand.
The video I play at the beginning of the lesson is a means of differentiation because it
assists students who are visual learners. It also helps students stay more engaged than
they would with just hearing me deliver the material orally.

Materials Needed (list):

Student notebooks
PPT on Thesis Writing
Handout for Passive and Active Voice
Mentor Text for Active Voice
Index cards
Thesis Test Handout
Overhead Projector for Modeling

Materials Appendix: (e.g., supplementary texts, Ppts, overheads, graphic organizers,

handouts, etc.)
Appendix A: Practice with Active and Passive Voice
Appendix B: PPT for Thesis Writing (separate document, will attach to this submission)
Appendix C: Mentor Text for Active Voice (sentences written in active voice that I
Appendix D: Thesis Video
Appendix E: Thesis Test Handout


Active and Passive Voice Practice

Directions: Rewrite the passive voice sentences as active voice sentences.

Passive: The dog was hit by the car. Active:


Passive: The house will be built by the construction crew in five months. Active:


Directions: Rewrite the active voice sentences as passive voice sentences.

Active: Julie answered the question. Passive:


Active: The dolphins have learned many tricks. Passive:


Directions: Write one sentence using the active voice, and one using the passive voice.




The Thesis Test
1. Is this a complete sentence (and not a


2. Does it have an opposing argument?

3. Is every word clear and unambiguous

in meaning?

4. Is the sentence a dead end, or does it call for additional

information and explanation?

5. Does the statement make such a large claim that you

believe the writer has no hope of proving it to be true in the

space of 4 to 6 pages?

6. What evidence will you need to see before you will

believe that the thesis is true?