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Laura Schad and Rachel Frankford

Subject: Literacy Authors Purpose

Grade Level: 6th grade
Anticipated Time: 45 minutes

Lesson Plan
Through collaboration students will be able to identify and categorize authors purpose based on
exemplary texts.
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text (College and
Career Readiness Anchor Standard)
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed
in the text.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as
inferences drawn from the text.

TO ENTERTAIN, TO INFORM, TO PERSUADE category cards (4 sets, 12 total)

To Entertain text examples (4 sets, 12 total)
o Narrative
o Poetry
o Drama
To Inform text examples (4 sets, 12 total)
o Instructions
o Non- Fiction
To Persuade text examples (4 sets, 12 total)
o Advertisement
o Persuasive Essay
White Board and magnets
Chart Paper and marker

Classroom arrangement and management issues

This lesson will take place in an empty classroom down the hall from the main classroom. Four
to six students will be taken out of the classroom while the other students continue to have

English class. Students will sit at desks in front of the white board. The desks will be formed in a
square or rectangle (depending on the number of students), with the desks facing each other. In
this way students will be able to participate in full group discussions as well as easily turn and
work with their partner(s). I will sit at a desk at the front of the square or rectangle, closest to the
white board.
The Hook (5/10 minutes)
The teacher will introduce the concept of authors purpose. Authors purpose will be discussed
as why an author writes as opposed to why a reader reads a text. The teacher will then
introduce three different categories for authors purpose to entertain, to persuade, to inform.
These three categories, written on three different cards, will be placed on the board for students
to refer to throughout the lesson.
Below each category a short definition, developed by the students as a group, will be written.
Guiding questions such as 1) what emotions does the author try and convey in each category? 2)
what is the author showing/telling us in each category? 3) what are the differences between each
category and how could we find those differences when looking at a text? And 4) can you think
of an example you know 100% is one category and then think about what that author did? will be
used to stimulate conversation around a definition for each category.
Through this conversation students should arrive at roughly the following definitions: To
Entertain: the author tells us a story that we will enjoy To Persuade: the author tries to get you
to do something or believe what they are saying; To Inform: the author gives you information
about a topic?
As a whole group, the students will participate in a conversation to answer any clarifying
questions on this central idea.
The Body (20/25 minutes)
The teacher will provide instructions for the activity and answer any question. Following
instructions, a discussion of group work strategies will take place.
Students will be given seven text excerpts in total and three purpose cards. The students will
either read each text individually or as a small group.
Using the provided text examples, students will work in small groups to place each text into the
correct category to entertain, to persuade, to inform.
If time becomes an issue, the teacher will read each text aloud as the students actively follow
(finger method) and then allow each group to discuss and sort for roughly 5 minutes before
moving on to the next text.

Closure (15/20 minutes)

Students will come back together and put their categories up on the board. The teacher will lead
a discussion comparing the two groups identification and categorization of the texts.
After comparing and discussing, the students and teacher will together create a bullet-point list of
tips for quickly identifying an authors purpose for writing a text.
Assessment of the goals/objectives listed above
Students will self check their identification and categorization work during the whole group
discussion. During the lesson the teacher will be able to keep an on-going assessment of student
work as students work in small groups. Questions such as 1) Do they sound confident in what
they are saying? 2) Does what they are saying make sense? And 3) What does their lingering
curiosity illuminate regarding their thinking? should be carefully monitored. Students who are
confused about the three categories will show signs of hesitancy, frustration, or lack of interest,
and these physical and verbal signals should be continuously monitored. At the end of the lesson
when each group shares their text categorization the teacher should check for accuracy. At this
time, the teacher will be able to determine what concepts are clear, what concepts are
developing, and what concepts are unclear. The teacher will keep the final clues list generated
by the students as a measurement of what students learned based on the lesson.
Anticipating students responses and your possible responses
Students may have difficulty working in small groups, in which case a fuller discussion of group
work strategies may be discussed.
Students may have additional questions regarding the self-directed aspect of the activity, in
which case instructions will be repeated and given to individual groups.
If assigning text to categories proves to be difficult, students will be asked to work backwards
think about assigning each category to the text excerpt.
Exemplary responses would look like the following: The author is giving us information about
how to build a sandwich so this is to inform. Even though I like PB&J the author isnt trying to
make me laugh or be sad so I know theyre not entertaining me and since they arent telling me
why I should make a PB&J sandwich I know its not to persuade. Exemplary answers will not
only say why a text selection fits one category, but why the other two categories do not apply.
Potential misunderstandings may look like the following: This car looks pretty neat, I think the
author is trying to entertain us, or This text is long so I think its to inform.
Misunderstandings may be based on personal opinion toward the content of the text selections
(liking or not liking cars, etc.) or associating text length with the more boring to inform
category rather than the to entertain category. Additionally, students may have difficulty
recognizing the different genres (the car advertisement and drama text are particularly different
from what students usually read in English class) and that may cause categorization
misunderstandings. Having the teacher constantly monitor the group work will support students
with these potential misunderstandings. If consensus between students is not met for a particular
text selection he teacher may ask the students to refer to the definitions on the board, or the
original statement why the author writes, not why the reader reads.

Management Issues:
We anticipate that management issues are most likely in the small group work section. We will
use proximity and redirection in the case of groups' going off-task. Group dynamics may also be
a problem, if students' discussions become uncivil or if the work is not shared equally. One way
to help prevent this from happening is to speak briefly about working collaboratively and
disagreeing politely when giving instructions for this section. Then if these issues occur, we will
remind the students about the norms we set up at the beginning.
Response to content of the lesson:
We anticipate that students will have previously been exposed to examples of each of the genres.
Listening to the group discussions will tell us if students are having trouble understanding any of
the content or format of the excerpts (for instance, if they are unfamiliar with drama formatting).
If students are getting stuck in their attempts to categorize the excerpts according to purpose, we
will ask questions, such as by prompting them to use prior knowledge and their own reactions to
understand the author's purpose (for instance, have you read something like this before? Where?
How do different text selections make you feel? [instructions versus poetry for example])
For the final part of the lesson, in which students generate a list of clues to help decide up on
the author's purpose, we anticipate that students may have trouble moving past the genre, for
instance saying that instructions inform and plays entertain. We will use questions to try to
encourage more inferential thinking, such as asking students to look at what the different
excerpts within each category have in common.
The teacher can read the text jointly with students who have difficulty reading. Students can also
be given fewer excerpts to read, discuss and categorize. If the amount of text proves to be very
difficult, the students may be asked to jigsaw the pieces. In a jigsaw rendition, each group would
get three different texts to categorize and then each group would share out with the other where
they put their texts. Each text selection would still be put into a category, just the amount of work
per group would diminish. The teacher will be on hand to discuss any unfamiliar language or
questions about the formatting or other aspects of the text.
Students who finish early can work on a short writing task in which they choose a genre (for
instance, advertisement) within one of the purpose categories, and come up with their own brief
written example.

Text Excerpts
The troll was directly below Holly, pounding against the towns outer wall, which was coming
away in chunks beneath his powerful fingers. Holly sucked in a startled gasp. This guy was a
monster! If he keeps on pounding on that wall, Holly thought, Hes going to break through
and then all the humans will see him!
I made myself a snowball,
As perfect as could be,
I thought Id keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas,
And a pillow for its head,
Then last night it ran away,
But first it wet the bed.
Get out, Rebecca. There's only room for one at this window.
You're always spoiling everything.
Well, let me look just a minute.
Use your own window.
I did, but there's no moon there. . . . George, do you know what I
think, do you? I think maybe
the moon's getting nearer and nearer and there'll be a big explosion.

Rebecca, you don't know anything.

If the moon were getting nearer, the guys that sit up all night with telescopes would see it
first and they'd tell about it, and it'd be in all the


Persuasive Essay
If you are looking to be scared right out of your socks do not go to a haunted house, go
see a scary movie! Haunted houses are lame and filled with kids. You can take a full-length scary
movie because you are not a scaredy cat! These movies, filled with ghosts, zombies, and
vampires are sure to give you goosebumps! Set in dark, strange places, scary movies will make
you want to run home and hide under the covers. So if you want to be scared good, do not go to a
haunted house, go see a scary movie today!
How to make a PB&J sandwich:
1. Buy bread, peanut butter, and jelly
2. Take two slices of bread and lay them side-by-side on a plate
3. Using a knife, spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and jelly on the other
4. Fold the two slices of bread together, so that the peanut butter and jelly meet.
5. Enjoy!

On his return to South Africa in 1903, Gandhi started a magazine for South African Indians. The
magazine was called the Indian Opinion.