This final lesson in a three-lesson unit guides students carefully through the entire process of writing an essay based on the concept of freedom and using text evidence from four sources - the poems "Words Like Freedom"/"Refugee in America" and "Sympathy," the nonfiction text "Nelson Mandela Reflects on Working toward Freedom" and the folk tale "The People Could Fly." The lesson consists of a review of the two previous lessons in the series, four days of organizing thoughts and getting teacher and peer feedback on each step in the essay, and producing a final copy. An assignment sheet, detailed organizer for students who need extra support, and rubric are all provided. Students must have completed lessons #1 and #2 in this series to complete this lesson.
Subject(s): English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 6
Computer for Presenter, LCD Projector, Microsoft Office
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Freely Available: Yes
Keywords: freedom, Nelson Mandela, The People Could Fly, Sympathy, Words Like Freedom, folk tale, essay, Refugee in America, writing process
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Students will be able to write a multi-paragraph essay to introduce and support a claim about the meaning of freedom using evidence drawn from the texts they have read in this unit - "Words Like Freedom"/"Refugee in America," "Sympathy," "Nelson Mandela Reflects on Working toward Peace," and "The People Could Fly."
- Students will be able to to develop and strengthen their writing through use of various planning tools and strategies and revising their essay based on feedback from the teacher and their peers, as well as their own developing ideas about their essay's organization and content.
- Students will be able to produce a clear and coherent essay that establishes their claim on the meaning of freedom and contains an appropriately organized and structured introduction, body section, and conclusion.
- Students will be able to produce a clear and coherent essay in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate for the task (an argumentative essay), purpose (establishing their view on the meaning of freedom), and audience (writing to a younger group of students who have not thought much about the meaning of freedom and have not read the texts in this unit).
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Students must have completed the activities from the first and second lesson in this unit because those will serve as brainstorming and pre-writing for this lesson. Lesson #1 and #2 in this unit have been attached as related CPALMS resources.
- It would be helpful for students to have prior knowledge about argumentative writing and making claims along with general knowledge about comparison and contrast.
- Students must have prior knowledge of parenthetical documentation because their final essay will include quotations and citations from the readings in order to support their claim. If students do not have this knowledge, the teacher would have to explain how to cite their sources during the lesson. The Purdue OWL is a great resource to help students with citing sources.The fact that students have been keeping track of text evidence along with page, stanza, line, and paragraph numbers will greatly aid in this portion of the lesson.
- Students should have experience and knowledge of different strategies to thoughtfully open an essay (through use of a hook) and close an essay. If not, teachers can build a mini-lesson into the steps below as students work on the introduction and conclusion for their essay.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How do writers approach the same topic across genres?
- How can I best express my views about freedom?
- Do the authors in this unit agree with my ideas about freedom or do they contrast with it?
- How can I use evidence from these texts to refine and support my views about freedom?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
The "Hook" and Activation of Prior Knowledge
- The teacher will direct students to think of the four texts they have read in the previous two lessons in this unit: "Words Like Freedom"/"Refugee in America," "Sympathy," "Nelson Mandela Reflects on Working Toward Peace," and "The People Could Fly."
- Have students draw a symbol of freedom inspired by any or all of those texts. (5 minutes)
- Students then write a brief explanation about why they were inspired by the text(s) to draw that particular representation. (5-10 minutes)
- Students then share their representation.
- The teacher may choose to have students share with a partner, small group, and/or have some students share with the class.
- The teacher will then review the outline and story chart from lesson #2 with students as a review of those two texts.
Note: Before teachers copy the freedom writing assignment, they should carefully consider their own students and goals for this lesson and modify any of the requirements and rubric point values as necessary.
- Pass out copies of the Freedom Writing Assignment. Go over the purpose, role, and audience for the assignment. Explain to students that their view on the meaning of freedom that they are going to use as a basis for this assignment is the same one they have been working on throughout this unit in their journals.
- Go over the form for the essay.
- Go over the "Focus Correction Areas" (these are areas where the teacher will focus his/her grading and feedback). These include content, organization, style, and conventions. Clarify any terms and requirements for students as needed.
- Give students some think time to process these requirements. If time, have them discuss with a partner or write down how these requirements are similar to or different from requirements they have had for essays in the past.
- Exit Ticket: Have students list all of the requirements for the paper that they can remember without looking at their assignment paper. (See "Formative Assessment" and "Feedback to Students" for more information.)
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- The teacher will address any incorrect responses from yesterday's Exit Ticket and reinforce any requirements that students consistently omitted. (See "Formative Assessment" and "Feedback to Students" for more information.) The teacher could also provide students with another opportunity to ask questions about the assignment.
- Pass out copies of the freedom writing organizer (which also contains the rubric). If students have written this type of essay before or they do not need as much support as this organizer provides, the students do not have to use this organizer. In that case, the teacher can simply copy the rubric for students, and students can use an interactive organizer such as this essay map or this "notetaker" from ReadWriteThink.org or another type of organizer of the teacher's choice. The directions below reference the organizer, but students doing their own organizing through a different tool or handout can still work on each section of their essay (introduction, body, and conclusion) using the same directions.
- Have students complete steps 1-4 in the procedure section from their freedom writing assignment sheet they received yesterday. They should do this by filling in the appropriate information on the organizer. Students should:
- Create a claim which summarizes their views on the meaning of freedom at this point in the unit.
- Look at their journal, poetry chart, story chart, rhetorical triangle and outline, and answers to text-dependent questions looking for evidence they can use in their essay. They can reread any of the texts if needed.
- Choose two of the pieces they have read - "Words Like Freedom"/"Refugee in America," "Sympathy," "Nelson Mandela Reflects on Working toward Peace," or "The People Could Fly" that best support their view. Note: If none of the texts support their view on the meaning of freedom, it is also acceptable to write about how their view of freedom is different from that expressed by the authors.
- Create a thesis that establishes their claim on the meaning of freedom and explains how these two pieces of text support their view or contrast with it.
- Have students draft a "hook" and also create a transition that links that "hook" to their thesis.
- Have students share this much of their organizer with a partner.
- Exit ticket: Students look at their partners' introductory paragraphs on their organizer and grade them on these criteria: 1-3 points for hook, 1-3 points for transition, 1-3 points for thesis. If time, students should give 1-2 sentences of praise or advice for their partner so they can improve their introductory paragraph the next day. Note: Students may not have finished all three parts of their introduction due to time constraints; in that case, modify the peer feedback assignment to reflect what they have completed. (See "Formative Assessment" for more information.)
- The teacher will begin class by sharing some of the best introduction ideas on students' organizers from yesterday. (See "Feedback to Students" for more information.)
- Give students 5 minutes to revise their introductory paragraphs based on peer comments, teacher comments, and/or their own ideas.
- The teacher models how to fill in the organizer for the first paragraph about the students' view on the meaning of freedom. It is recommended that the teacher choose an idea of freedom that students would not be likely to choose, such as the idea that freedom is paralyzing and presents people with so many choices that they are frustrated and don't know where to begin. This way, the teacher will not use a view that students would want to use in their own writing. NOTE: The teacher should be sure to model effective support strategies such as anecdote, statistic, rationale, and/or analogy.
- Have students fill in their organizer for the first body paragraph establishing their own views of freedom.
- Exit ticket: Students look at their partners' first body paragraphs on their organizer and grade them on these criteria: 1-3 points for having a topic sentence, 1-3 points for having reasons with good support, 1-3 points for having a concluding statement. If time, students should give 1-2 sentences of praise or advice for their partner so they can improve their first body paragraph the next day. (See "Formative Assessment" for more information.)
- The teacher will begin class by sharing some of the best paragraphs from yesterday. (See "Feedback to Students" for more information.)
- Give students 5 minutes to revise their paragraphs based on peer comments, teacher comments, and/or their own ideas.
- The teacher models how to fill in the organizer for the second body paragraph which requires text evidence. It is recommended that the teacher choose ideas that students would not be likely to choose. Again, using the topic of freedom being frightening and paralyzing would work well. This way, the teacher will not use ideas that students would want to use in their own writing.
- Have students fill in their organizer for the second and third body paragraphs explaining the texts that support their view on the meaning of freedom and how the texts supports that view.
- Teachers collect organizers to provide feedback. (See "Formative Assessment" and "Feedback to Students" for more information.)
- This may take two days depending on how quickly students think and write.
- The teacher will begin class by sharing some of the best paragraphs from yesterday. (See "Feedback to Students" for more information.)
- Give students 5 minutes to revise their work from yesterday based on teacher comments and/or their own ideas.
- The teacher models how to fill in the organizer for the conclusion paragraph, being sure to restate the thesis, review all of the main points from each paragraph, and end with a "clincher," preferably something that mirrors the hook from the beginning.
- Have students fill in the rest of their organizer.
- Exit ticket: Students look at their partners' conclusion paragraphs on their organizer and grade them on these criteria: 1-3 points for restating the thesis, 1-3 points for recapping their points, 1-3 points for having a concluding statement that mirrors the hook. If time, students should give 1-2 sentences of praise or advice for their partner so they can improve their conclusion paragraph the next day. (See "Formative Assessment" for more information.)
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Days Seven and Eight:
- Review the rubric again if needed (at the bottom of the organizer) before students start writing.
- Specifically, remind students that in addition to the content requirements their writing needs to include a variety of sentence lengths and structures, vivid vocabulary, and have correct spelling and capitalization if the teacher has chosen to keep these criteria.
- Give at least 1-2 full class periods (or time at home for homework) for students to write or type up their final essays and proofread. Be very specific that students should use the ideas on their organizer and only need to add transitions, make complete sentences, use vivid words, etc.
- The teacher may choose to have students type up their final essay if technology resources are available.
- The teacher may choose to use this time to conference with students who have been struggling with the writing process.
- Students who write quickly can read each other's papers and provide more feedback, perhaps by using an extra copy of the rubric to "grade" each other's essays.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
Teachers might wish to use the following questions as wrap up discussion questions:
- How important is liberty?
- What is freedom to me?
- What are familiar symbols of freedom and what do they mean?
The teacher can share exemplary essays and allow students to score them based on the rubric.
The final draft of students' essays will serve as the summative assessment for this lesson. The writing prompt and directions for the essay are found on the freedom writing assignment handout. An organizer and rubric have also been included. (Note- Teachers can have students use a different organizer if they need less support and teachers are also welcome to edit the rubric based on students' needs.)
- Teachers should circulate as students are drawing their representation of freedom and writing about it.
- Students complete an Exit Ticket listing all of the requirements for the paper that they can remember without looking at their assignment paper.
- Teachers should circulate while students are writing their hook and/or thesis.
- Exit ticket: Peer feedback on introductory paragraph using the organizer.
- Note: Although this lesson plan only recommends that teachers collect organizers once at the end of the planning process, teachers can choose to collect them more often to look over them. The more that teachers can provide written feedback to individual students, the better.
- Teachers should circulate and give students verbal feedback on their view of the meaning of freedom and/or supporting evidence.
- Exit ticket: Peer feedback on first body paragraph using the organizer.
- Teachers should circulate and give students verbal feedback on their first and second text, the text evidence they are using, and their explanations about that evidence.
- Collect organizers.
- Teachers should circulate and give students verbal feedback on their conclusion.
- Exit ticket: Peer feedback on conclusion.
Feedback to Students
- Teachers may need to encourage students who are not great artists to attempt to draw something. Alternatively, those students could be allowed to search in magazines or online to find appropriate images.
- Teachers will also need to monitor that students stop drawing after the initial 5 minute period and switch to writing about their representation and why it conveys their idea of freedom, even if their drawing is not finished.
- On day two students will complete an exit ticket. In class the next day, the teacher should provide verbal feedback to the entire class on any incorrect information students included in yesterday's exit ticket. The teacher should also emphasize any of the requirements for the paper that large numbers of students forgot to mention on their tickets.
- Teachers should give students immediate verbal feedback on their hook and/or thesis as they circulate around the room. Teachers can direct students back to the model that they created at the beginning of the class period and may even want to have hard copies available.
- Exit ticket: It may not be possible for teachers to read all exit tickets each day and compare them to the partner's organizer. Instead, teachers should skim through exit tickets to see if students are giving advice that makes sense with the requirements of the assignment.
- Note: If teachers choose to collect organizers more often, it is suggested that they provide written feedback as much as possible. Teachers may also want to collect all organizers but only carefully read organizers for students who appear to be struggling and/or who have previously demonstrated difficulty with writing.
- Teachers should give students immediate verbal feedback on their view of the meaning of freedom and/or supporting evidence as they circulate around the room. Many students will need help with how to support their view. Teachers can direct students back to the model that they created at the beginning of the class period and may even want to have hard copies available.
- Exit ticket: See Day Three, above.
- Teachers should give students immediate verbal feedback on the text evidence they are using and their explanations about that evidence as they circulate around the room. Teachers can direct students back to the model that they created at the beginning of the class period and may even want to have hard copies available.
- Note: Teachers should read through all student organizers at least once during this pre-writing process. It is recommended that teachers do that after day five if at all possible to give students advice on whether the text evidence they have chosen supports their ideas and if they are explaining that relationship well.
- Teachers should give students immediate verbal feedback on their conclusion as they circulate around the room.
- Exit ticket: See Day Three, above.
Accommodations & Recommendations
Teachers could use these accommodations with ESE, ESOL, and students who struggle with writing:
- Students could be asked to write only one body paragraph giving text evidence, rather than two. In that case, teachers can use this shortened assignment sheet and this organizer instead of those given in the body of the lesson.
- The teacher could collect organizers more often for these students to provide individual written or verbal feedback, perhaps even on a daily basis.
- The teacher could make sure to look at student work in progress every day in class and provide some verbal feedback.
- Students who struggle could be paired with partners who are advanced writers and/or who are adept at giving peer feedback so that the peer response portion of the lesson is as helpful as possible.
- Requirements for vivid vocabulary, sentence variety, "hook" and "clincher" could be reduced or even waived as appropriate.
- Advanced students could take their essay and make it into a PowerPoint, complete with visual images, sound, and other effects.
- If the teacher wants to have an independent reading portion of the lesson, he/she could ask students to read an appropriate text that has similar themes and compare/contrast the text to the pieces they have read as a class. Students can also write a paragraph expressing how their independent text either supports the claim in their essay or further refines their view on the meaning of freedom. Recommended books:
- Dare To Dream by Angela Shelf Medearis (The story of Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
- Freedom Walkers by Russell Freedman (The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956)
- Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge (An account of the children who walked from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to call attention to discrimination)
- Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges (The story of desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement)
- Nelson Mandela: No Easy Walk to Freedom by Barry Denenberg
- Stealing Home by Barry Denenberg (The life of baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (In a "perfect" society free of war, fear, and pain, 12-year-old Jonas begins to understand a disturbing truth.)
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, LCD Projector, Microsoft Office
Special Materials Needed:
Students may need to refer back to the poems, article, and folk tale. These are the links:
Unit overview: This unit focuses on the importance of freedom. Students will read a series of texts-two poems in lesson one, a folk tale ("The People Could Fly") and a short informational article by Nelson Mandela in lesson two-to examine different perspectives on freedom. Students' ideas about freedom should evolve and mature throughout the unit as they read and analyze the different texts. Students will gather evidence from the texts, including direct quotes, to assist them with writing an original essay in lesson three where they will make a claim to establish their view on freedom after reading these texts.
Lesson One will cover standards LAFS.6.RL.1.1, LAFS.6.RL.1.2, LAFS.6.RL.2.4, LAFS.6.W.3.9, LAFS.6.W.4.10.
Lesson Two will cover standards LAFS.6.RL.1.1, LAFS.6.RL.1.2, LAFS.6.RL.2.4, LAFS.6.RL.3.9, LAFS.6.RI.1.1, LAFS.6.RI.1.2, LAFS.6.L.3.4, LAFS.6.W.3.9, LAFS.6.W.4.10.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Lois Seaman, Margaret Little
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Miami-Dade, Sarasota
Is this Resource freely Available? Yes
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.