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Introduction to Alternative Literature: Curriculum Proposal

Melissa Hare

EDU 603 Curriculum 2.0

Dr. Jennifer Wojcik


Introduction to Alternative Literature: Curriculum Proposal

Part I: Statement of Educational Philosophy

Student-centered learning affords children the opportunity to explore concepts and

interests to fuel a passion for knowledge, skill-building, and self-reflection. Progressive and

humanistic theories aim to create an environment that focuses on the learner from a myriad of

different angles, which can create a fully-immersive and interactive educational experience. It is

important that students are not treated as if they are solely vessels for information. All learners

are unique and require a multi-instructional design approach and a supportive school

environment where teachers act as catalysts for learning.

One of the main purposes of education is to prepare young learners for their futures,

allowing for real-life application and skill-building to surface in educational settings. John

Dewey, known for his progressive and humanistic viewpoints, “…believed that education should

be student-centered, emphasize the student instead of the subject matter, encourage curiosity, and

approach the learning process as equally important to what is being learned” (Carter, 2018, p.4).

In regards to this school of thought, education is not about mastering subjects. Rather it focuses

on growing through comprehensive life lessons and interactions intermingled with subject-

context. Wang (2011) highlighted progressive/constructivist themes within the learning process

by explaining that individuals build knowledge stores by way of interaction with external stimuli

combined with existing knowledge, skills, and experiences. Education is about active learning,

rather than passive accumulation of information (p.62).

According to Carter (2018), “Carl Rogers believed children have a natural desire to learn.

He advocated a child-centered curriculum in which children could explore freely to satisfy their

academic needs without fear of threat or criticism” (p.4). The role of a young learner sets the

framework for nurturing instructor roles in progressive and humanistic settings. “Teachers are

not transmitters of knowledge, but organizers for the learning activity of students” (Wang, 2011,

p.62). The Universal Design for Learning framework acknowledges that learners are diverse.

Teachers should be proactive regarding this awareness and are responsible for delivering lessons

that cater to all types of learners. Teachers can take this proactivity one step further and compile

information to create a learner profile for every student receiving instruction (See Appendix A).

These profiles give instructors insight into how to proceed with delivering content in ways which

will benefit the diversity within a classroom setting. This cognizant planning should occur within

the developmental stages of instructional design (McGhie-Richmond & Sung, 2013, p.45). It is

important that multiple methods of instruction are embedded into curriculum delivery. Instructors

must continue to steer clear of the one-size-fits-all approach to a model that is multi-faceted and

beneficial to all varieties of learners (McGhie-Richmond & Sung, 2013).

In reference to literary content, “…when the goal is to foster empathy by teaching

narrative competence or to improve students’ observational abilities, the type of instruction

offered in literary creative writing courses can help train students to be highly attentive to textual

features” (Kerr, 2010, p.300). Instead of teaching literature, writing, and presenting in a

traditional sense, progressive methods allow for more exploration and creative expression. When

students are introduced to new forms of literature and are then able to practice writing their own

pieces and presenting to peers, they are able to truly experience the art of writing as a craft.

“Progressive educators believe in the education of the whole child, including the child's

intellectual, emotional, spiritual, moral, physical, and social development” (Kretchmar, 2018,

p.1). Uncovering new authors and genres introduces learners to experimenting with prose and

gives students the ability to discover inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions which can translate

on paper. This adds to character building and introspective qualities to materialize within a


When progressive and humanistic practices are implemented in educational settings,

students are able to get the most out of their learning experiences. Exploration, active learning,

multi-instructional design, and teachers as passive guides are components which revolutionize

learning. In order for students to truly have a passion for education, teachers must instill this

excitement and set the stage for exploratory success and outlets for all learners.

Part II: Curriculum Rationale

This curriculum is designed to cater to the needs of sixth-grade students who attend a K-8

school in Sherman, Connecticut. The middle school students have rotating class periods. Below

is the standard class makeup:

 Learners in all classes range from 11-12 years of age.

 Period 1 has a balanced ratio of boys to girls.

 Period 2 has a balanced ratio of boys to girls.

 Period 3 has an uneven ratio of boys to girls with more than 75% of the class comprised
of female students.
 Among the students in each period, a majority are United States citizens who are native
English speakers.
 There are a few students of Hispanic descent spread among the three groups of
 There are no students with special accommodations/needs among these three groups.

However, some tend to lose focus at times and may need help to refocus.

The students who will partake in this curriculum have formal experience with academic-style

writing. These learners are aware of how to format traditional papers by crafting an introductory

paragraph, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. All students have a basic

understanding of proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling. While levels of writing ability vary

among learners, genres being broken down, discussed, practiced, and presented will be relatively

new to each student. Public-speaking has been practiced in prior grades and level of

comfortability will undoubtedly vary for each student.

While students partaking in this curriculum are all of similar age and intellect, every

individual has his or her own way of learning, which is why differentiated instruction is so

important. “There is no one, clear, universal explanation of how we learn and subsequent

guidebook as to how we should teach. Rather, there is a range of theories, each with their

background in a different psychological and epistemological tradition. To understand learning

then, we have to understand the theories, and the rationale behind them” (UCD, n.d., para.

2). When traditional subjects are taught in non-traditional ways, learners are able to get in touch

with creative roots allowing them to feel more motivated and in control of educational

experiences. The content within this curriculum can be categorized as a lesson to be instructed

with Progressivist/Constructivist methods simultaneously with humanistic/existentialist methods.

“Progressivists tend to believe that schooling should be about learning to work with and

cooperate with other people and that education is not meant to be competitive, but cooperative.

Additionally, progressivists will seek to engage the learner visually, aurally and kinesthetically—

embracing physical, emotional and social learning as well as academic learning” (Post

University, n.d., p.2). In regards to this module, the themes are very learner-centered. Below are

objectives embedded within the curriculum as they relate to each school of thought:

 Writing and public-speaking will be made interesting to students because they are

interacting with their peers and figuring out what genres interest them.

 Learning about modern writers is relevant and can be connected to present day

trends/themes in literature.

 Practicing public-speaking/presentations in a class environment allows for growth by way

of constructive peer giving and receiving of feedback.

 In order to cater to aural, verbal, and visual learners, mixed forms of instruction and

content will be utilized within the classroom in which lesson is delivered (Post

University, n.d.).

For a true passion for learning to arise, students have to engage in course material that keeps

their interest. “Humanistic theory came about as a reaction to behaviorist theory—Humanists

believe that the desire to learn is intrinsic within human beings and that people are motivated to

learn because they wish to find their place within the world” (Post University, n.d., p.3). In this

alternative literature curriculum, the way material is delivered and practiced is meant to get

students interested in a topic that many are not fond of. Beliefs regarding a positive learning

experience are as follows:

 By practicing writing skills and public-speaking, students will help find out what their

interests, strengths, and weakness are. Learning more about themselves will begin the

“where do I belong” questioning as it relates to their futures.

 Students learning how to write varying forms of literature puts learning into their own

hands by way of self-expression/creativity.

 Peer feedback after the “Alternative Slam” presentation increases socialization and

teaches students to accept/give feedback.

 Presenting one’s works allows students to express themselves. In a classroom setting, the

instructor will make the student feel supported and cared for. Negative experiences are

not a catalyst for successful soul-searching endeavors, naturally (Post University, n.d.).

Representation, action and expression, and engagement are principles outlined within the

Universal Design for Learning framework (CAST, 2018). Each component is utilized to fulfill an

educational objective. Representation embodies how content is delivered to a learner which tends

to include multiple modalities of instruction. Visual content, verbal deliveries, and written

information are all ways in which students can choose to absorb content. Action and

expression concern how the instructor invites learners to utilize multiple types of tools to better

understand the content. This allows learners to use many outlets which can suit a variety of

needs. Engagement concerns how students put what they have learned to use. When doing

assignments to show mastery of concepts, instructors should allow learners to show their

comprehension by choosing what medium they use to show what they know (Post, n.d.).

Within this unit, students will be introduced to three forms of literature which go beyond the

traditional essay writing style. Poetry, creative writing in the form of short stories, and memoir

writing will be introduced and practiced so students can learn how to write in varying states of

mind using numerous voices. This first goal is academic and students will be introduced to three

forms of literature which go beyond the traditional essay writing style. Poetry, creative writing in

the form of short stories, and memoir writing will be introduced and practiced. Content will be

represented in a way that allows students to see how each type of writing is organized, visually.

Students will also be given the opportunity to experience the aforementioned genres by watching

videos, listening to works being read, practicing writing skills, and partaking in presenting

original works. Action and expression will be embodied within tools used by students to write

their creative pieces. Templates will be provided for students so they are aware of how to

organize each of their three types of literature. Video instruction will also allow students to go

back and review tips which will help them with their writings. In terms of engagement, students

will be given the opportunity to compile their final works in a writing portfolio which they

design and create in class. Students will have the opportunity to use web tools when practicing

writing and when reflective journaling (Post, n.d.).

Writing tends to be a topic that can be intimidating for a lot of students, especially younger

learners who may struggle with finding their voice while simultaneously practicing prose.

Emotionally, public-speaking and addressing an audience is another intimidating topic. The end

goal of this instruction will allow students to become more comfortable sharing with peers in a

classroom setting while simultaneously becoming accustomed to presenting content in front of

one other. This second goal is social-emotional and will allow students to become more

comfortable sharing with peers in a classroom setting while simultaneously becoming

accustomed to presenting content in front of one other. Regarding representation, an “Alternative

Slam” will commence to close out the curriculum so that students are able to share what they

have created with their classmates. Students will read one of their three works in front of the

class and will need to create an audio recording and video for the two remaining works. Action

will revolve around students practicing another form of writing by way of creating a blog.

Students will post a reflection on how it felt to write a poem, short story, or memoir chapter-

practicing sharing thoughts and emotions revolving around the writing process. They will post

this on a classroom-blog managed and run by the instructor. Lastly, students will participate in a

discussion forum and will be able to give in-class feedback to peers after each presentation (Post,


Part III: Unit Plan

Stage I

Grade 6: Introduction to Alternative Literature: Writing and Presentation as a Catalyst

for Self-Expression

In this unit, students are given the opportunity to experience writing as a catalyst for self-
expression which goes beyond traditional academia. Students will be introduced to modern
poetry, creative writing in the form of short stories, and memoir-style writing. After an initial
introduction to writers, genres, and new concepts, students will practice writing their own
original works which will then be presented in front of their peers.

Goal 1: At the end of this unit, students should be able to understand what components
differentiate poetry, short stories, and memoirs from one another. Students will become
acquainted with famous modern poets, short-story writers, and memoirists while being able to
identify them by name and genre-style.
Goal 2: Students should be able to identify what poetry, short stories, and memoirs sound like
when listened to aurally. Students should also be able to compose their own alternative
literature pieces. Students should know how to conduct themselves in front of an audience by
way of eye-contact, voice projection, and feedback reception while presenting in front of peers.
Goal 3: Students will understand more about themselves and their preferences in regards to
self-expression thought alternative forms of literature outside of the standard academic essay.
Students will also understand that writing outside of academia can be considered an art form
used to relay one’s opinions, emotions, and thoughts. Students will gain a greater
understanding of what alternative writing styles are while coming to terms with their
strengths/weaknesses while presenting in front of peers.

Content Standard(s)

 Students will be introduced to current poets, short-story writers, and memoirists.
Students will become familiar with writers’ names and works.
 Students will know what structural components are found in poetry, short stories, and
 Students will be given the definition of self-expression so they know what it means to
be expressive in a literary sense.
 Students will know what “voice” is in a literary sense. They will know which emotions
and tones are commonly associated with specific writing styles/literary genres.
 Students will be able to identify famous writers and specific works done by said writers

based on the three styles being addressed.

 Students will write their own poem, short-story (genre of choice), and memoir chapter.
 Students will present one of their written pieces in front of the class to practice public-
speaking and appropriate receiving of critical feedback.
 Students will be able to identify a style of writing based on structure, content, and
 Students will understand that writing outside of academia can be considered an art form
used to relay one’s opinions, emotions, and thoughts.
 Students will gain a greater understanding of personal strengths and/or weaknesses
while presenting in front of peers.
 Students will understand there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to receive
feedback. Students will also understand receptiveness takes practice.
 Public-speaking is a skill which takes reflection and practice over time, similar to
writing various forms of literature.

Content Standards Primary Expected Performances

 Names of modern poets, short-story  Identify authors based on famous works

writers, and memoir writers. and writing style.
 The definition of self-expression.  Write an original poem, short story, and
 The structural format that is memoir chapter.
commonly seen within the  Identify whether a piece of literature is a
alternative genres within this lesson. poem, a short story, or a memoir.
 The differences between a poem, a  Effectively deliver a presentation in
short story, and a memoir. front of peers.
 Social norms in regards to presenting  Accept feedback and give feedback in a
in front of an audience. socially-acceptable manner.
 Each genre of alternative literature  Write with appropriate emotion for
requires a different voice. genre and content.

Enduring Understandings Essential Questions

Overarching Enduring Understandings: 1. In what situations could knowing how to

 Writing, in many ways, is write alternative forms of literature to be a
considered an art form in which an useful skill? Why?

individual can express himself or 2. What makes an engaging public speaker and
herself. how can you emulate these skills? How can you
 Each person who presents original make presentations your own while still
works have his or her own way of effectively delivering to an audience?
doing so. 3. How does exploring and reading works of
 Reading various genres and literary modern creative writers help spur your own
prose allow for individuals to see quest for self-exploration?
life from various perspectives and 4. In what ways do you feel that writing is good
by exploring new content, self- for you, personally? (i.e. physical, mental,
exploration is unavoidable. emotional)
 There are standard practices of 5. How does knowing how to give and receive
public-speaking, but ultimately, one feedback aid an individual in bettering his or
must learn strengths and weaknesses her social skills?
to become a presenter/speaker and
building these skills take time.
 There is an appropriate way to give
and receive feedback, similar to
public-speaking, these skills take
time and practice.

Unit Specific Enduring Understanding

Exploration of literature helps individual

students become aware of what genres they
have a preference for. By learning about
new types of literature, practicing various
writing styles, presenting original works,
and receiving/giving feedback, students
understand more about themselves in terms
of likes, dislikes, strengths a, and
weaknesses. The more students learn about
themselves in relation to skills and subjects,
the more their skills and solidified
knowledge will transcend outside of the

Knowledge and Skills

Students will know the definition of self-expression as it relates to literature and writing.
Students will know what “voice” is in a literary-sense.
Students will know which emotions and tones commonly link to specific writing styles/genes.
Students will know names of modern-day writers in the poetry, short story, and memoir genres.

Students will know the difference between a poem, a creative short-story, and a memoir.
Students will know basic guidelines surrounding presenting in front of an audience and
receiving/giving feedback.

Students will be able to write poetry with content of their choosing in proper format based on
the type of poetry being written.
Students will be able to write a short-story with content of their choosing in proper format.
Students will be able to write a memoir “chapter” in their own unique voice.
Students will be able to identify famous modern writers and specific works.
Students will be able to stand in front of their peers and present an original work to the class at
a beginner’s level.
Students will be able to receive/give feedback from peers in an appropriate manner at a
beginner’s level.

Stage II

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

Performance Task

GRASPS Elements of the Performance Task

G – Goal Task: Write a poem, short story, and memoir chapter. Choose one
What should students accomplish writing piece to orally present to peers/instructor and listen to
by completing this task?
R – Role
What role (perspective) will your
Grasps components outlined below.
students be taking? Goal: The goal is to become familiar with alternative literary
A – Audience genres. With this newfound familiarity, you will create a portfolio
Who is the relevant audience? of original works and get a feel for speaking in front of others by
reading one of your pieces to the class.
S – Situation Role: You are a writer, presenter, and critic.
The context or challenge provided
to the student. Audience: The target audience is a mix between fellow classmates
and your instructor.
Situation: The situation requires you choose one of the three pieces
of alternative literature which you have written. You are then
required to give an oral presentation in a writing/presenting
“Alternative Slam", which will be followed by peer
P – Product, Performance
What product/performance will the critiques/feedback.
student Product/Performance: You will create a writing portfolio composed
create? of your three original pieces of alternative literature in order to
conduct an in-class reading. The purpose of presenting in front of
peers/instructor is to practice public-speaking and
receiving feedback.

Standards & Criteria for Success: Your standards and criteria for
success will be based on your writing style and presentation
components (presenting/feedback).
Your poem, short-story, and memoir chapter should...

 Be original works with original, student-chosen content/themes.

 Should follow proper formatting per. genre requirements.
 Should be written with proper grammar and spelling.
S – Standards & Criteria Your presentation should...
for Success  Showcase one of the three literary pieces you have created.
Create the rubric for the
Performance Task
 Be audible and project across the classroom so it can be heard by
 Have plenty of eye contact and appropriate gestures to keep audience
 End with an appropriate exchange in which you will receive
feedback/critiques from peers/instructor.

Full Rubric for Grading Standards: (See Appendix B).

Other Evidence Student Self-Assessment

Throughout this unit, much observation, Reflective journaling sessions will take place
writing, self-reflection, and feedback surrounding various topics related to alternative
giving/receiving will take place. A final literature and practicing writing/presenting
writing portfolio with each genre under review skills. The student will be given a rubric to
will be handed in. Exploration of alternative assess the original piece of writing and
genres will take place and shared with presentation conduct/behaviors. Students will
classmates on genre-specific days. Instructor meet with the instructor prior to presenting their
will observe student working on learning more original piece to the class so that they can make
and practicing writing of alternative forms of revisions. Students will meet with instructor
literature. post-presentation to discuss how it went so
students can reflect on performance.

Stage III

Learning Plan (Stage 3)

Where are your students headed? Early on students will be provided materials that highlight
Where have they been? How will structural differences between types of poetry, short-
you make sure the students know stories, and memoir chapters. This content will be
where they are going? relatively new because it does not fall within academic
essay writing students have been made accustomed to.
This surrounds the direction in Students will be made aware of final presentation and
which the instructor would like the writing portfolio which will be handed in to demonstrate

unit to go and expectations for mastery at the end of the unit. Compilation of finished
learners throughout (and by the end products will be graded and assessed at the end of the
of) the unit. Here, the main semester. This will include a portfolio with three writing
tasks/project to be accomplished by styles covered within the unit. The writing piece student
the end of the unit will be to be chooses to present will be reviewed and edited by the
presented to learners. This task will instructor before presentations. This way, the student is
be presented at the beginning of the able to make corrections and polish their piece. The
curriculum during initial lesson presentation is meant for students to practice speaking in
introduction so students know what front of an audience. The presentation also acts as a skill-
is to be expected before diving into enhancer so students can practice appropriate
the course and during the course behavior/conduct while giving/receiving feedback.
itself. Learners will sit down with the instructor after the initial
introduction of unit and end goals/projects. The student
will set goals for themselves which the instructor will type
up. The sheet of goals will be kept for the instructor and
given to the student. Goal obtainment will be discussed
after writing portfolio and presentation at the end of the

How will you hook students at Question to be posed: "What don’t you like about writing
the beginning of the unit? essays?" Students will be given ten minutes to write a
reflection piece on why they do not like writing essays.
This concerns how students are Students will share briefly and alleviate any possible new
going to be initially engaged and unit tension.
pulled into course content.
Challenge for learners: What if you were told that writing
can be good for you and in some ways can even be seen as
art? Would you believe that? In order to challenge
boredom behind the subject of writing, these
aforementioned questions would be used to spur critical
thinking and encourage class discussion.

Videos of expressive story reading, poetry slams, and

artistically done works of writing will aid students in
becoming motivated and excited about wanting to move
forward in the unit.

Genres will be introduced by way of poetry readings, a

short-story reading, and a memoir chapter reading.

Talk about the creative portfolio which students will make,

allow students to decorate their portfolio folders.

Talk about presentations and setting up the classroom like

a stage for the “Alternative Slam” event.

A public-speaking video will be watched in advance so

students know what to strive for during class presentations.
What events will help students
experience and explore the big Aural: Various alternative pieces will be read throughout
idea and questions in the unit? the curriculum and students will be asked to read works
How will you equip them with from famous modern authors. Exercises listening for
needed skills and knowledge? voice, identifying emotion, and identifying structure based
on reading style will be practiced. Students will practice
This step concerns the big ideas and active listening when observing peers present and while
the real-life understanding students listening to feedback.
should strive to obtain from Visual: Templates, rubrics, and writing structure examples
participating in this lesson. The will be course materials which will be delivered during
Universal Design for Learning lectures. These will be made accessible online to students
model will be largely recognized in as well. Videos will be shown in-class to exemplify how
this step of WHERETO. It is presentations appear publicly, how narration can take on
important that multiple methods of an art form, and show specific writers reading works. Self-
instruction are embedded in assessments, goal sheets, and handouts give visual students
curriculum delivery. The Universal the opportunities to see what they are doing/working with.
Design for Learning model Verbal: Students will be asked to present in front of peers
acknowledges that learners are to practice verbal skills. Feedback will be discussed with
diverse. By appealing to all types learners on a teacher/peer basis so conversations will
of learners, the UDL principles of resonate with verbal learners. Students will also practice
"What", "How", and "Why" will be communicating with peers when receiving feedback in
more clearly understood by front of the class and when giving feedback during
students (CAST, 2018). partnering sessions.

How will you cause students to Students will initially set goals for themselves with
reflect and rethink? How will instructor at beginning of unit. Goal achievement will be
you guide them in rehearsing, discussed at end of unit.
revising, and refining their work?
Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback and
Basically, after learning new revise their work prior to presenting and prior to handing
concepts and practicing newfound in portfolio.
writing skills, how are students
going to improve their performance After presentations, students will be given a partner to
now and in the future? Prior to conduct a peer reviewing exercise and students can revise
class presentations, the writing based on feedback.
piece of choice will be handed in
for the instructor to read and Before handing in final portfolio, students will be given
critique, so this will allow for that one last opportunity to go back and revise their work based
specific piece to undergo two on any feedback given by teacher and/or students.
editing sessions.
Student will write a follow-up journal entry in regards to
the initial goals they set for themselves. They will discuss
what they have learned, what they like/disliked about the
unit, and how they think they will use their knowledge for

the future.

How will you help students to Students will have the presentation rubric handed out at
exhibit and self-evaluate their the beginning of the unit which they will use to assess their
growing skills, knowledge, and presentations and original writing piece.
understanding throughout the
unit? Students will have student-teacher conferences.
Conferences will be conducted before the unit fully begins
Learners will self-assess using with objective outlining and goal setting for each student.
rubrics as they relate to the
G.R.A.S.P.S. task which aligns with During the follow-up conference at end of unit, student
course objectives and important will write a reflective journal entry and discuss goals with
themes. instructor. Together the conference will go over strengths
and weaknesses with a plan moving forward on how
student can improve, practice, and strengthen skills.

Writing portfolio final compilation will allow students to

exhibit their understanding and skill building which
occurred during unit.

How will you tailor and otherwise Hands-on, technology-centered activities, and practice
personalize the learning plan to activities will be peppered throughout the unit and are
optimize the engagement and outlined below:
effectiveness of ALL students,
without compromising the goals Hands-on activities:
of the unit?
 Reflective journal entries in physical journal.
This stage is concerned with  Decorate portfolio folder for writing compilation.
delivering and implementing a
lesson based on the unique needs of Collaborative activities:
learners. By appealing to all types
of learners, the lesson is likely to be  Active listening and oral class presentation.
more effective. Another way to  Editing and revising work.
tailor a unit is to cater to traditional  Listening to writing to pick out genre and
and technological trends to aid emotional content.
learner growth. Student goals and  Giving and receiving feedback through
ability will have been assessed teacher/peer exchanges.
prior to unit delivery so while
standards may be slightly staggered Web-based activities:
based on capability, the
following with be included.  Google Docs. will be used so students can access
class content and materials online when not in the
physical classroom.

 Students will explore different writers and genres

using the internet when preparing genre-specific
homework assignments.
 Students will take advantage of web tools such as
online blog site.

(See Appendix C for Planning Pyramid).

How will you organize and Portfolio folder will organize class hand-outs, individual
sequence the learning activities to student goals, assessment rubrics, and works in progress.
optimize the engagement and
achievement of ALL students? Journal will be physically used or can be written and saved
as a word document online based on student preference.
Organization is key. In class, a
folder will contain all materials All course content/lecture materials will be available
utilized within this unit. For online.
students who may struggle with
organization, options to write A class blog site will be set up so students will have the
reflections online will be made option to post their works online to receive more peer
available. All class content will be feedback (Post University, n.d.).
made available online as well.

# Lesson Activities Resources

Lesson Title
Composition notebook or
Question to be posed: "What don’t you like about
laptop for online reflection.
writing essays?" Students will be given ten
minutes to write a reflection piece on why they do
Class discussion sessions with
not like writing essays. Students will share briefly
instructor acting as facilitator
and alleviate any possible new unit tension.
Challenge for learners: What if you were told that
Student Goal-Setting Chart (See
writing can be good for you and in some ways can
Appendix D).
Introduction even be seen as art? Would you believe that? In
to Unit order to challenge boredom behind the subject of
writing, these aforementioned questions would be
used to spur critical thinking and encourage
further class discussion.

Conferences with instructor for goal-setting

2 Students will learn what “voice” is in a literary Game/Activity surrounding
sense. They will learn which emotions and tones identification of a style of
Emotional are commonly associated with specific writing writing based on emotion,
Conveyance & styles/literary genres. content, and voice. Activities

using visual and aural skills

Instructor reads a poem, short story, and memoir with be practiced.
chapter. Reading of genres will help associate
emotions or voice within literature and will give Composition notebook or
students an understanding of how the genres laptop for online reflection on
Voice differ. what self-expression means and
make a definition for “voice”.
Students will be given the definition of self-
expression so they know what it means to be
expressive in a literary sense.

Students will be introduced to current poets, short- Audio, visual, oral resources of
story writers, and memoirists. famous modern writers.

Let’s Meet Students will become familiar with writers’ names Handouts of writing pieces per.
Some Writers and works by way of class handouts. genre.

Students will watch video content of specific

writers’ presenting/reading works.
Students will learn about which structural PowerPoint presentation
components are found in poetry, short stories, and projections will be utilized so
memoirs. students can visually see
differences between various
Students will be able to identify a style of writing genres.
How to
based on structure, content, and prose.
4 Structure
Class discussion will take place surrounding how
alternative genres have a visually different
appearance and layout than traditional academic
essays (i.e. exemplify Haiku versus short-story)

Students will spend the day decorating their Card-stock organization folders,
alternative literature portfolio to get excited about art supplies, decorations.
filling it with final works!
5 Portfolio
Decorating Brief class discussion on what a portfolio is,
Day different types, and their purposes.

H.W. will be assigned night before: Bring a poem Students will bring in
to share in class. discussion resources.

Class sharing of poems and discussions. Images/examples of poems.

to Poetry Poetry day: Various styles of poetry will be Class discussion session with
discussed and cultures of origin/popularity of instructor acting as facilitator
styles will be discussed. only.

Students will bring in

H.W. will be assigned night before: Bring a short-
discussion resources.
story to share in class.
Images/examples of short-story
Class sharing of short stories.
7 Introduction formatting.
to Short-
Short-story day: Short-stories will be discussed
Stories Class discussion session with
and how to structure a short-story will be
instructor acting as facilitator
explained in depth.

H.W. will be assigned night before: Bring a Students will bring in

memoir to class that you found/liked. Share a discussion resources.
chapter in class.
Composition notebook or
Class sharing of chapters. laptop for online reflection
pieces for student practice of
8 memoir-style writing.
to Memoirs Memoir day: Memoirs and their purpose will be
discussed. How to write in a way that reflects Class discussion session with
personal conversation will be discussed. Class instructor acting as facilitator
time will be given to practice first-person, only.
memoir-style writing.

Importance of public-speaking and presenting will

be discussed. Videos of good and bad
examples of public-speaking
Videos of good and bad public speakers will be
played for the class. After each video, students A handout of public-speaking
9 to Public-
will raise hand and discuss what behaviors dos and don’ts.
seemed effective and which behaviors didn’t.
Class discussion time with
Discussion about what constitutes a good instructor leading.
Videos about communication
Videos on good listening, discussing, and giving and feedback.
effective feedback will be watched. Feedback and
appropriate behaviors/conduct Videos of good versus bad ways
10 Communicatio
to give/receive feedback.
Practice giving and receiving feedback with peers
will act as an in-class activity. Class discussion time with
instructor leading.

Editing Students pick which piece they want to use for

11 Conference time and editing
Sessions with presentations. Conferences with instructor will
Instructor focus on editing and revisions for piece.

Slam Half of the class will present their writing piece
Class time for presentations.
Presentations and stand in front of audience to receive feedback.
Day 1

Slam Half of the class will present their writing piece
Class time for presentations.
Presentations and stand in front of audience to receive feedback.
Day 2
After presentations, students will be given a Class time for peer-
partner to conduct a peer reviewing exercise on reviewing/feedback sessions.
14 Peer-Feedback how they performed. Students will swap writing
Day and portfolios and write on feedback for partner. Students must come in with
Portfolio Swap Partner will use feedback sheet to finish up (almost-final) drafts of writing
compilation/portfolio. portfolios with original works
in each genre for swap session.
Conference time with
Students will hand it final writing portfolios with
one piece in each genre. One of the pieces will be
End of Unit the one presented in front of the class. Student
Student should come in with
15 Conferences will sit down with teacher and will discuss self-
final portfolio compilation,
Day 1 rubric and how they felt with goal achievement.
filled out self-assessment rubric
Instructor will discuss future plans of action and
for presentation/original work,
will grade portfolio with student present.
and beginning of unit goals.
Conference time with
Students will hand it final writing portfolios with
one piece in each genre. One of the pieces will be
End of Unit the one presented in front of the class. Student
Student should come in with
16 Conferences will sit down with teacher and will discuss self-
final portfolio compilation,
Day 2 rubric and how they felt with goal achievement.
filled out self-assessment rubric
Instructor will discuss future plans of action and
for presentation/original work,
will grade portfolio with student present.
and beginning of unit goals
Class will end unit by working as a group with
teacher to design a class writing blog. Students
16 Class Blog Site Screen projector and blog site.
will add their writing pieces to the class blog site
as year continues.

Part IV: Checking for UDL Principles

Assess and Reflect (Stage 4)

Considerations Comments

Required Areas of Study: There are plenty of opportunities for students to learn content,
practice skills/behaviors, and present/evaluate. The alignment
between outcomes, performance, and learning experiences tie in
together by way of skill building/overarching ideas. Overall,
students will discover various genres and will get to interact/learn
more about the aforementioned alternative forms of literature.
Students will create their own works with content of their choosing
so that writing is made to be even more enjoyable and learner-
specific. Presenting and communicating are skills which transcend
beyond the classroom, so constant work within these areas helps tie
the unit together.

Adaptive Dimensions: For struggling students:

Students who struggle with organization will be able to access

content online as well as receive it in class.
Students who prefer to use a computer when journaling or taking
notes will be able to do so.
Tutoring will be made available to students who require help or who
have issues in certain areas.

For students who need a challenge:

Students who need a challenge can choose another genre to add to

their writing portfolio.
Students who need a challenge can get in front of the class to share
homework assignments on each of the three genre-specific days.

Instructional Approaches:

The entire unit is focused around personal exploration and skill

building. Teacher conferences and individual goal setting occur at
the beginning and end of the unit. Students will also be given the
opportunity to give feedback and participate in relevant activities
with peers. Methodology includes in-class and online work so all
students are catered to. Multiple forms of instruction to keep aural,
verbal, and visual students engaged are present throughout the unit.

Resource Based Learning:

All content and resources brought in and discussed by the instructor

will be available online. Pieces of literature brought in by
students \will not be available on an ongoing basis.

FNM/I Content and

Perspectives/Gender Students are allowed to write about content of their choosing for
Equity/Multicultural each genre. Works written by varying ages, perspectives,
Education: viewpoints, etc. will be shared in class. Each student will get to
choose which genre to present. Each student is given the
opportunity to give and receive feedback while interacting with
instructor/peers. Inappropriate and ill-manned feedback will not be
tolerated in the classroom. Students will be made to feel supported
and light-hearted when presenting in front of the class to share what
they have created. One of the underlying themes in this unit is self-
expression and creativity and each student is encouraged to explore.


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Appendix A
Example of Learner Profile

Appendix B
Rubric for Students: G.R.A.S.P.S. Task

Poor Fair Good Outstanding

Category Score
1 point 2 points 3 points 4 points
sufficient time
Student devotes a lot
and effort to
Student devotes of time and effort to
the writing
Student devotes some time and effort the writing process
process (pre-
little time and to the writing (pre-writing,
effort to the process but was not drafting, reviewing,
Writing Process drafting,
writing process. very thorough. Does and editing). Work is
reviewing, and
Does not seem to enough to get by. easily recognizable
editing). Work /4
care. Writing genre is hard as a poem, short-
is recognizable
to decipher. story, and/or memoir
as a poem,
and/or memoir
There is one
There are three or
There are two or spelling error
more spelling
more spelling errors and/or one There are no spelling
errors and/or
and/or punctuation punctuation or punctuation errors
punctuation errors
Spelling and error in the final error in the in the final draft.
in the final draft.
Punctuation draft. Structure final draft. Structure follows
Sentence structure
loosely follows Structure genre which student
and /4
genre which student follows genre is presenting.
is presenting. which student
are non-existent.
is presenting.
The original
The original work
work contains
There is little The original work contains many
a good amount
evidence of contains few creative creative details
of creative
creativity in the details and/or and/or descriptions.
details and/or
Creativity original work. The descriptions. The The author has
author does not author has tried to clearly used their
The author has
seem to have used use original content imagination and /4
clearly used
much imagination. to show imagination. created a very
unique piece.
Writing is very well-
Ideas and scenes
organized. The
seem to be
Writing is well student turns in an
randomly Writing is a little
organized. The attractive and
arranged. No hard to follow. The
student turns complete copy of the
Organization and structure relates to student turns in a
in a complete original work in the
Neatness any of the genres. complete copy of the
copy of the correct format.
The student turns story, but formatting
story in the Student takes /4
in an incomplete needs work.
correct format. critique/conferencing
copy of presented
feedback into
Volume is loud
Volume is loud enough to be Volume is loud
Volume often too
enough to be heard heard by all enough to be heard
soft to be heard by
Volume by all audience audience by all audience
all audience
members at least members at members throughout
80% of the time. least 90% of the presentation. /4
the time.

Stands up Stands up straight,

straight and looks relaxed and
Slouches and/or Sometimes stands up establishes eye confident.
Posture and Eye does not look at straight and contract with Establishes eye
Contact people during the establishes eye everyone in contact with
presentation. contact. the room everyone in the room
during during the /4
presentation. presentation.
Often mumbles or Speaks clearly
Speaks clearly and Speaks clearly and
cannot be and distinctly
distinctly all (94- distinctly all (100-
understood OR all (100-95%)
Clarity 85%) the time, but 95%) the time and
mispronounces the time, but
mispronounces one mispronounces no
more than one mispronounces
word. words. /4
word. one word.
and responses
respectful and
Most statements and All statements, body
responses were language, and
language when
Statements, respectful and in responses to
responses and/or appropriate language feedback were
feedback, but
body language when receiving respectful and used
once or twice
Receiving/Giving were consistently feedback, but there appropriate
body language
Audience not respectful and was one sarcastic language. Student
was not.
Feedback student was remark. Student was shows a clear
Student shows
completely closed slightly defensive understanding of /4
a decent
off to feedback and did not seem to their
amount of
from the audience. care about strengths/weaknesses
strengths/weaknesses regarding presenting
regarding presenting. abilities.
Final Score /32

Appendix C

Planning Pyramid

ALL Students:
Will know...
 The differences between a poem, a short-story, and a memoir.
 The definition of self-expression.
 Structural differences found in various genres of alternative literature.
Will be able to...
 Write an original poem, short-story, and memoir-chapter.
 Identify whether a piece of literature is a poem, a short-story, or a memoir.
 Define self-expression and why it is important in the writing process.
Will understand...
 Not all writing is academic in nature.
 Grammar and proper word usage is still necessary to practice in any form of writing.
 Presenting in front of others is a useful tool to be an effective communicator.

MOST Students:
Will know...
 Names of current/popular alternative writers.
 Emotions and tones typically associated with certain genres.
 The guidelines for being an effective public speaker.
Will be able to...
 Identify authors based on famous works and writing style.
 Write with appropriate emotion for genre and content.
Will understand...
 Public-speaking is a skill which takes reflection and practice over time, similar to writing
various forms of literature.
 Writing outside of academia can be considered an art form used to relay one's opinions,
emotions, and thoughts.

SOME Students:
Will know...
 Dialogue in which to appropriately accept critical feedback.
 Social norms in regards to presenting in front of an audience.
 Each genre of alternative literature requires a different voice.
Will be able to...
 Effectively deliver a presentation in front of peers.
 Accept feedback in a socially-acceptable manner.
Will understand...
 Their personal strengths and/or weaknesses while presenting in front of peers.

Appendix D

Student Goal-Setting Chart

Appendix E

Rubric for Curriculum Developer

Criteria for Self- Poor Fair Good Outstanding

Assessment 1 point 2 points 3 points 4 points
Curriculum Curriculum
Curriculum does vaguely shows a clear Curriculum clearly
Conveyance of
not make highlights picture of what outlines deeper
importance behind importance is to be gained concepts and the big
instruction clear. behind from picture ideas.
instruction. instruction.
Curriculum has
Curriculum has Curriculum has
activities which
implemented implemented
Curriculum fails address all skills
activities to activities to
Transference of to implement outlined within
Applicable Skills activities for skill
cover roughly cover more than
objectives relating
half of half of
practicing. to reading, writing,
applicable applicable
presenting, and
skills. skills.
questions need
Essential questions do a
more Essential questions
questions are good job at
Essential development are very detailed
poorly formulated aligning with /4
Questions/Objectives but are and align with all
and do not align objectives.
somewhat course objectives.
with objectives. Could be more
aligning with
Curriculum has Curriculum has an
Curriculum has
multiple array of activities in
a few activities
Curriculum has activities for which students can
for students to
minimal activities students to practice skills to
practice skills
Ways for Student to for students to practice skills show
Show Mastery practice skills and
and show
and show comprehension. /4
show comprehension. Projects and
However, more
comprehension. However, more activities are
variety could be
variety is still implemented
needed. throughout the unit.
Curriculum Curriculum caters to
caters to all all types of learners
Curriculum only types of and has activities
Catering to Various only caters to a
Learning Types
caters to one type
couple types of
learners but is which allow /4
of learner. lacking in a students to practice
multi-medium hands-on and
approach. technological skills.
GRASPS tool is GRASPS tool is
GRASPS tool is
utilized but utilized fully
GRASPS tool is utilized fully
steps are showing clear
GRASPS Tool & poorly utilized with all steps.
APT and not near
missing and
Could align
understanding of /4
APT could align concepts. Tool
completion. more clearly
more clearly parallels very well
with APT.
with tool. with the APT.

Self-assessment activities are
activities are used at
activities are used at the
Learner Self- the beginning and
Self-assessment only used at the beginning and
Awareness of Goals end of unit. Student
activities are not end of the unit. end of unit.
by Way of Self-
present in this Student is not Student is
is clear on goal /4
Assessment & Self achievement due to
unit. made aware of unsure of
Reflection teacher-conferences
objectives/end whether or not
and peer feedback
goals. they achieved
initial goals set.
There are numerous
There are some
There are many ways in which
There are not ways in which
ways in which students can remain
many ways in students can
students can engaged by way of
which students remain
remain projects, activities,
can remain engaged, but
Student Engagement
engaged. Content they are
engaged. Hook learning about new /4
is decent but genres, creative
delivery is poor. inconsistent.
engagement decorating, and unit
Hook is non- Hook is there
declines at finale. Hook is
existent. but not very
various times. strong and piques
student interest.
Learning plan is
Organization is well organized.
There is no
Some present but Basic concepts are
organization is needs more explored before
Fluidity of Learning present but balance. Certain practice activities
there are concepts need and skill-building is
Concepts are
content gaps in to be solidified implemented.
thrown together
instruction. before moving Concept
forward. introduction makes
logical sense.
product has a Finished product
Finished product product has a
handful of has no grammatical
Writing has multiple errors handful of
grammatical but or spelling flaws.
Style/Finished including APA errors including
no spelling Less than two APA /4
Product mistakes and APA mistakes
flaws. A few mistakes are
spelling flaws. but no spelling
APA mistakes present.
are present.
Final Score /40