This .zip file contains six .docx documents, containing the unit plan, four authentic documents (including website links to the full texts), task guidelines which mirror the NYS Common Core Regents ELA exam, guidelines for annotating, vocabulary lists and questions for each of the four documents, and a graphic organizer for essay planning. The 6 point rubric for evaluating the essay can be found on the NYSED website within the scoring materials for any past administration of the exam.
This is designed as a whole class activity for Regents exam preparation and review, but could easily be modified to be used as an independent review activity. This unit will be especially helpful for new teachers and teachers not yet familiar with the Common Core ELA exam. The strategies taught can be used with any text-based argument writing assignment.
This unit has been successfully implemented in an 11th grade Alternative Education classroom. Our students are not assigned homework, and all activities are completed in class. As a result, this unit took 22 days to implement. Any modification of this implementation would likely alter the estimated time frame. If students completed some activities independently and then discussed their work in class, I estimate that this unit could be completed in two weeks.
Primary standards addressed:
New York State Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy
RI 11.1, RI 11.4, W 11.1, W 11.4, W 11.5, W 11.9
Students will be able to:
Read four documents and for each:
Develop a working definition of teacher and student identified vocabulary words based on the use of context clues with teacher and peer assistance
Develop and record the gist of each document with teacher and peer assistance
Respond to text-based comprehension and analysis questions with teacher and peer assistance
Identify evidence to support a claim by annotating the text with teacher and peer assistance
Plan to write an argument essay using a graphic organizer with teacher and peer assistance
Identify the difference between a claim and a counterclaim with teacher and peer assistance
Identify text-based supporting evidence for claims and counterclaims with teacher and peer assistance
Establish a claim and support it using text-based evidence with teacher and peer assistance
Use their planning materials that have been created with teacher and peer assistance to independently write an argument essay
This unit is preparation for the NYS Common Core ELA Regents exam, which is taken by 11th grade students in January and June.
Unit Design and Modifications:
This unit mirrors the format of the Common Core ELA exam while also presenting the students with complex, authentic texts. Vocabulary, annotating, and questioning activities have been included to help students develop the skills that they need to interact with the texts independently. Planning activities have been broken down and designed to be teacher-led with student interaction. Planning is designed to be collaborative, rather than independent, in order to build student confidence and to ensure that skill deficits do not impede student success. Skill deficits include reading below grade level, limited vocabularies, difficulty sustaining attention and low endurance, lack of knowledge with regard to planning and structuring an essay, and lack of knowledge with regard to annotating text. Final essays may be handwritten or typed and submitted electronically or via hard copy to accommodate student preference. All documents have been read aloud to the students multiple times to ensure that students who have their exams and/or assignments read aloud have been accommodated.