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Justification for instruction Literacy persuasive writing unit planner

This literacy unit employed the use of a series of video clips of protagonist Davey to explore the 1830s
era. The series of these episodes were selected for year 5 students to use as a platform for developing
their knowledge of the structure of the persuasive text type of an argument. It was intended for the
students to refine their abilities of constructing persuasive arguments through the use of various
activities to develop oracy and writing skills. In an attempt to construct a literacy unit that focuses on
the application of oracy and language use to assist in developing writing skills, a multitude of aspects
required consideration. In conjunction with the steps in the Teaching and Learning Cycle (Derewianka,
1990) the language features to be explicitly taught through oracy activities within detailed sessions
required sequential planning. The need to cater to the literacy learning needs of EAL students and a
mixed ability classroom, as well as appropriate selection of instructional strategies and thinking
routines also informed the construction of this literacy unit.

It was decided that activities to develop oracy skills would be predominantly presented within Step 3:
Guided activities and text knowledge (Derewianka, 1990). There are a number of language features
prescribed by Wing Jan (2009) that are relevant to the overall structure of persuasive arguments.
However, it was decided that modal verbs and emotive language would be the prominent language
features explored by the students prior to independent construction of persuasive arguments.

Opportunities to participate in oracy activities are reported to subsequently enable EAL students of
ranging ability to develop their literacy learning development (Crowhurst,1990; Zisselberger, 2011). To
develop oracy skills, one of the included oracy activities eventuated in becoming a debate (refer to
session 6) between students with an emphasis on modal verbs. Modal verbs were chosen to be
explored within the unit as they are a key language feature of persuasive texts (Wing Jan, 2009). It is
of fundamental importance for students to explore the varying modal verb categories such as
probability, ability, obligation and permission (Neff et al., 2003). The use of debates was deemed an
appropriate tool to enable students to project their understanding of the 1800s content. This activity
was also incorporated as research suggests that frequent opportunities should be provided for learners
of ranging ability to enact their voice and opinion in the classroom (McCarthey & Moje, 2002;
Zisselberger, 2011). Anderson (2008) puts forward that primary school students have the ability
to argue orally, but are developmentally unready for the complex cognitive task of putting their
argumentative thinking into writing (p.271). This highlights the necessity that was required
throughout the planning of this unit, for educators to model tasks explicitly to students in order
to support their literacy learning development.

Perez (1998) puts forward that through bilingual learners identifying emotive phrases and language
that they can relate to in a meaningful context, this consolidates their understanding of the additional
language. The chosen activity to explore emotive language was to be concluded through employing
emotive phrases into a role-play. In order to introduce the notion of exploring emotive phrases and
language through use of a role play, a number of posed prompting questions were essential to include
within each session. Questioning is a reputable strategy to probe and advance students oral speaking
skills with emphasis on the critical importance of inquiry (Hertzberg, 2011, p.70).

It is of crucial importance to cater to the literacy needs of mixed range of ability within the classroom.
For this reason, a number of elements within each session were chosen for students to work
collaboratively with others as they focussed on developing their oracy and knowledge of the
persuasive text type. The inclusion of a dictogloss was chosen specifically to assist students in
developing their vocabulary as well as grammatical structure (Hertzberg, 2011). A dictogloss
was also strategically chosen as another component of exploring the unit that the students
were intended to participate in was reconstruction of a cut up example of a persuasive
argument. The sessions created were mostly informed on the basis to participate in discourse
and communication in order to develop oracy skills prior to writing. Kottler and Kottler (2002)
contend that through social interaction, students use communication in a meaningful context
and coincidentally further their oral development. In addition to this, another aspect of the planning
of this unit was ensuring to cater to the mixed ability of students by supported the choice of
assessment. Authentic means of assessment were selected to include both anecdotal observations
and reviewing students efforts to engage with the persuasive text type within their graphic organisers
(Department of Education & Training Western Australia, 2005).

The choice of instructional strategies and routines was evidently crucial to the creation of this unit and
were particularly challenging to appropriately select. In numerous sessions students worked in
home/expert groups which supports ESL students to develop an understanding of the relevant
vocabulary) Gibbons, 2002, p. 61). The Language Experience Approach was selected on the
basis that it is a student-led opportunity for students to incorporate their own experiences to
make the context of what they are learning relevant (Seely-Flint, Kitson, Lowe, & Shaw, 2013;
Kottler & Kottler, 2002). These students were referred to as EAL students within the literacy unit and
varying assessment tools were created to support and scaffold the learning of their individual
capabilities. This is shown within the Guided Reading Observation Template (session 4). The inclusion
of this template was an attempt to order to cater to their needs by acquiring previous knowledge of
their current Progression of Reading Development. Collaborative discussions between students were
also included with in the unit to allow for oracy skills to develop. This was particularly evident for
students in order to participate in thinking routines such as a sunshine wheel (Szecinski, 2008). These
were a select few of some of the tools used to strengthen students development of oracy skills prior to
independent written construction of an argument

As Kirkland and Patterson (2005) contend oracy is a prominent component of literacy, and henceforth
educators need to provide numerous opportunities for students to develop their oral language skills.
This supports the overall incorporation of a range of oracy activities to develop students knowledge of
persuasive arguments. Through use of such oracy activities and the language features of persuasive
arguments this literacy unit was constructed to further students recognition of bias and ability to gather
and justify information to independently construct a written persuasive argument.

Anderson, D. D. (2008). The Elementary Persuasive Letter: Two Cases of Situated Competence,
Strategy and Agency. Research in the Teaching of English, 42(3), 270 - 314.

Crowhurst, M. (1990). Teaching and learning the writing of persuasive/argumentative discourse.

Canadian Journal of Education, 15(4), 348-360.

Department of Education & Training WA. (2013). First Steps Reading Map of Development:
Addressing current literacy challenges (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne: Rigby Heinemann.

Department of Education & Training WA (2005). First Steps Linking Assessment, Teaching and
Learning (2nd Ed.). Port Melbourne: Rigby Heinemann.

Derewianka, B. (1990). Exploring how Texts Work. Sydney, NSW: Primary English Teaching

Fountas, I.C., & Pinnell, S. G. (2001) Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6 Portsmouth:

Gibbons, I. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in
the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hertzberg, M. (2011). Focus on Oracy. In Teaching English language learners in mainstream classes.
Newtown: PETAA.

Kottler, E., & Kottler, J. A. (2002). Children with Limited English: Teaching Strategies for the Regular

Kirkland, L. D., & Patterson, J. (2005). Developing oral language in primary classrooms. Early
Childhood Education Journal, 32(6), 391 395.

McCarthey, S., & Moje, E. (2002). Conversations: Identity Matters. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(2),
228 - 237.

Nabei, T. (1996). Dictogloss: Is It an Effective Language Learning Task?. Working Papers in

Educational Linguistics, 12(1), 59-74.

Neff, J., Dafouz, E., Herrera, H., Martnez, F., Rica, J. P., Dez, M., & Sancho, C. (2003). Contrasting
learner corpora: The use of modal and reporting verbs in the expression of writer stance. Language
and Computers, 48(1), 211-230.

Perez, B. (1998). Language, literacy, and biliteracy. Sociocultural contexts of language and literacy, 21-

Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making Thinking Visible : How to Promote
Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners Retrieved from

Seely Flint, A., Kitson, L., Lowe, K., & Shaw, K. (2013). Literacy in Australia: Pedagogies for
engagement. Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.

Szczecinski, S. (2008). Library literacy: Managing the information explosion. Greenwood, WA: Ready
Ed Publications.
Wing Jan, L. (2009). Write ways: Modelling writing forms (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC.: Oxford
University Press.

Zisselberger, M. (2011). The writing development of procedural and persuasive genres: A multiple
case study of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Retrieved from