This in-depth writing package provides teachers with what’s needed to teach students how to select, present, and analyze text evidence to support a claim in writing. This 75-page unit uses the text of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to teach and reinforce those lessons.
In addition to lesson and practice materials to reinforce the necessary writing concepts, this package also includes well-guided novel-based writing tasks, rubrics, exemplars, drills to reinforce, checks for understanding, and quizzes.
While the terminology used to teach students how to select, present, and analyze textual evidence is not complex, some of the writing concepts will be new to students. This package scaffolds the process to allow students the opportunity to
1. study the writing concepts,
2. identify the writing concepts in other people’s writing,
3. analyze how those writing concepts function,
4. practice applying the concepts in guided workouts,
5. apply those concepts in their own writing,
6. identify the concepts in their own writing,
7. analyze the effectiveness of those concepts in their own writing.
In addition to common terms such as topic and concluding sentence, the ‘Super Six’ terms below are the main concepts upon which this writing unit is based:
TRANSITION — A word or phrase used to connect one idea to the next.
LEAD IN — Gives context or background information to the text evidence. When are we? Where are we? In brief, what's been happening plot-wise leading up to this text evidence?
ATTRIBUTIVE TAG — Whose words were borrowed? Are those words best described as narration, thinking, or dialogue?
TEXT EVIDENCE — Purposefully selected because something about it makes it some of the best evidence to support a(n) thesis, claim, argument, stance, statement, or answer.
CITATION — MLA in-text citation (Author 283).
LEAD OUT — It’s analysis. It answers HOW or WHY the text evidence helps support the claim. As part of the analysis, the LEAD OUT often picks apart the author's use of word and phrase choices, including literary elements and writing techniques used. How do these writing choices made by the author support the claim?
Because lead out is analysis, it often involves making inferences. Thus words such as suggests, implies, and indicates are often necessary to use.
1. Presenting and Analyzing Text Evidence Vocabulary — (1 page) This reference page spells out the meanings of and provides examples of the necessary writing concepts.
2. Calpurnia the Cook and More — (9 pages) This introductory writing task provides the teacher with data needed to determine what students already know and can do without instruction. Additionally, the planning page and exemplars lay the groundwork for future work to come, including identifying and applying the presenting evidence concepts in writing.
3. Common Attributive Tags — (2 pages) This lesson provides a list of common attributive tags, asks students to identify ones they already know, to research a few they don’t know, and finishes with practice applying attributive tags in writing.
4. Common Transition Words and Phrases — (2 pages) This lesson provides a list of common transition words, asks students to identify ones they already know, to research a few they don’t know, and finishes with a (partnered) activity that asks students to categorize transitions.
5. Questions to Help You Write Lead-ins — (1 page) This lesson examines the common questions used to write informative lead-ins. It also provides an example, and, in the next practice section, asks students to use transitions, attributive tags, and lead-ins to present and cite a piece of pretend textual evidence.
6. Transition, Lead-in, Attributive Tag, and Citation #1 through #4 — (2 pages) This practice session asks students to practice writing transitions, attributive tags, and lead-ins to present and cite a piece of pretend textual evidence. Two mini-lessons and an example is provided.
7. Advanced Lead-in Lesson and Practice — (2 pages) This advanced lesson incorporates vocabulary such as subordinate conjunction, subordinate clause (dependent clause) in order to practice writing lead-ins, and offer insight about how they are formed and how they function.
8. Texts for Understanding — (1 page) This is a series of checks for understanding that asks students to reply to content-based text messages sent to them on a fake paper phone.
9. Presenting Evidence Quiz 1 — (3 pages) This multiple choice and true / false quiz asks students to know the basics of the writing concepts learned and practiced in the unit so far. An answer key is included on the third page.
10. Presenting the Best Text Evidence to Support ‘Friends’ — (10 pages) This guided writing task can be used as practice or an assessment. Based on a given claim, students must select the best evidence from a provided passage to support that claim. Students are guided through planning the presentation of evidence before being asked to put the entire argument together in writing. Two rubrics and a partial example are provided.
11. Transition, Lead-in, Attributive Tag, and Citation #5 through #11 — (6 pages) This session provides more practice writing transitions, attributive tags, and lead-ins to present and cite a piece of pretend textual evidence. Three mini-lessons and an example is provided.
12. More Texts for Understanding — (1 page) This is a series of checks for understanding that asks students to reply to content-based text messages sent to them on a fake paper phone.
13. Partnered Puzzle: A Fair, Just, and Equitable Man — (7 pages) This cut an paste puzzle activity asks students to identify examples of the writing concepts studied, organize them, and use them to put together a coherent piece of writing that presents several pieces of text evidence to support a claim. This paragraph puzzle includes a page of hints, a visual example, and an answer key. The task is most challenging if the labels and puzzle pieces are cut up ahead of time.
14. Presenting Evidence Quiz 2 — (3 pages) This multiple choice and true / false quiz asks students to know the basics and more complex writing concepts learned and practiced in the unit so far. An answer key is included on the third page.
15. Analyzing Text Evidence in the Lead-Out — (1 page) This lesson and activity focuses on the inferential and drawing conclusion words such as suggests and implies, analyzing the author’s specific language use, and using the words from the claim to focus the lead-out.
16. Atticus Finch the Role Model — (9 pages) The scaffolding in place for this claim-based writing task includes the lessons from 12 and 13 above, but also includes eight pieces of text evidence from which to choose, a page for planning out the presentation of the best text evidence, and a paragraph starter. Also included are two rubrics and two pages of lines for the final draft.
17. The Gray Ghost Connection — (7 pages) This text-based writing task asks students to answer a question about a choice Harper Lee makes at the end of the novel (author’s purpose). Students are asked to present evidence from a given text to support a claim. This task requires students to have a clear understanding of the novel’s big picture. Space to write, an exemplar, and rubrics are included in this task.
18. New Kid Writing Task — (2 pages) This can be used as a check for understanding, or used as a summative assessment. This task asks students to explain to the new student in class how to present text evidence to support a claim in a paragraph. It includes a depth of knowledge rubric that assesses students’ level of understanding of all the writing concepts taught in this unit.
19. Omitting Words from a Quotation — (2 pages) These lessons focus on two methods for omitting words from a quotation: (A) using an ellipsis, and (B) bridging the text gap by using another attributive tag. These two resources serve as great references for students who are ready for an advanced lesson, or for those who could make use of a timely writing lesson.