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Sandi Stupica

28 April 2009
Unit Overview

Heather Lewis’ eighth grade students at Waverly Middle School have a diverse range of students.
During a previous unit, students began to think about what a “perfect” world looked like as they
read The Giver and watched “The Truman Show.” They saw what happens when there are
seemingly no problems in a controlled world. For the next unit, the students analyzed their
realities and how they are shaped as they studied stereotypes. Students have completed activities
that allow them to consider the “truth” behind stereotypes. For example, as a final assessment,
students had the option to write paper, create a PowerPoint, or a movie in WindowsMovieMaker.
Students were given a week for this assessment as they had to conduct research and create a
finished product. For the current unit, students will concentrate on the individual steps, such as
the creation of an outline and web chart, and new methods to create a more polished product.
They have never been taught the methods or process of conducting research.

The unit will ask students to refine their research skills recursively and dialogically. To do this,
the unit will concentrate on students working in groups and reflecting on the specific methods
and process of conducting research. Students have been researching all year, and for most of
their lives, but this creates a step-by-step tangible process to make writing more organized and
focused. In high school, the students are required to write papers; therefore, this unit will be a
stepping stone. Since there are many sources available to students, they will use the computer
lab and library, which are located in the same room, and also refer to peers as a source of
reference through a wikispace.

This research paper is the beginning of many more to come during high school and beyond. To
get them started with the basics of writing. To challenge their writing, students will begin
contemplating the following questions:
• What are some methods used for research?
• How can one use previous knowledge and put it to use during this research unit?
• How can one effectively use research?
• How many resources are necessary for a thorough research project?
• What is a researchable topic? Objective vs. subjective
• How does one show a deep understanding of what is read/researched as evidence by
remarks in the paper? (Burke)
• How does one thoroughly address prompt and include strong, appropriate examples?

Teaching how to write a research is pertinent for students to prepare and scaffold their
knowledge for high school English classes. Throughout the school year, students have been
given options for assessments but to focus each student to write a paper will shift the focus to the
process and practice of writing. Not only does this help students to finally observe the
techniques and methods of writing, but it allows all students to improve as they discuss these
methods. In previous assignments they had the option to work with partners, but now the entire
class can exchange ideas and advice.

To allow students to be more confident in their writing and to prepare them for high school
research papers, they will be introduced to methods of inquiry. The final assessment, which is a
research paper and portfolio, is scaffolded throughout the unit. Therefore, the finished research
paper will be graded on items that have been specifically addressed during the unit, such as a
clear introduction, use of quotes, clear conclusion, and etc. Also, the portfolio will be graded on
their completion of a web chart, outline, and note cards (if not completed online). Also, hand-
outs that were distributed throughout the unit should also be kept in the portfolio.

STANDARD 1.1 Understand and practice writing as a recursive process.
• CE 1.1.1, CE 1.1.2, CE 1.1.3, CE 1.1.4

STANDARD 1.2 Use writing, speaking, and visual expression for personal understanding and growth.
• CE 1.2.1, CE 1.2.2

STANDARD 1.3 Communicate in speech, writing, and multimedia using content, form, voice, and style
appropriate to the audience and purpose (e.g., to reflect, persuade, inform, analyze, entertain, inspire).
• CE 1.3.2, CE 1.3.4, CE 1.3.7

STANDARD 1.4 Develop and use the tools and practices of inquiry and research—generating, exploring,
and refining important questions; creating a hypothesis or thesis; gathering and studying evidence;
drawing conclusions; and composing a report.
• CE 1.4.1, CE 1.4.2, CE 1.4.3, CE 1.4.4, CE 1.4.5, CE 1.4.6, CE 1.4.7

STANDARD 1.5 Produce a variety of written, spoken, multigenre, and multimedia works, making
conscious choices about language, form, style, and/or visual representation for each work (e.g., poetry,
fiction and creative nonfiction stories, academic and literary essays, proposals, memos, manifestos,
business letters, advertisements, prepared speeches, group and dramatic performances, poetry slams, and
digital stories).
• CE 1.5.3, CE 1.5.5

STANDARD 2.1 Develop critical reading, listening, and viewing strategies.

• CE 2.1.1, CE 2.1.5, CE 2.1.7

STANDARD 2.2 Use a variety of reading, listening, and viewing strategies to construct meaning beyond
the literal level (e.g., drawing inferences; confirming and correcting; making comparisons, connections,
and generalizations; and drawing conclusions).
• CE 2.2.2
STANDARD 2.3 Develop as a reader, listener, and viewer for personal, social, and political purposes,
through independent and collaborative reading.
• CE 2.3.4


1. Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau. Current Issues and Eduring Questions: a guide to
critical thinking and argument, with readings. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin's, 2008. Print.
2. Beers, Kylene. When Kids Can't Read: What Teachers Can Do. Portsmouth, NH:
Heinemann, 2003. Print.
3. Burke, Jim. The English Teacher's Companion. 3rd ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann,
2008. Print.
4. Dornan, Reade W., Lois Matz Rosen, and Marilyn Wilson. Within and Beyond the
Writing Process in the Secondary English Classroom. 1st ed. Boston: Pearson Education
Group, 2003. Print.
5. Mishra, Punya, and Matthew Koehler. "Creative uses of Cool Tools for Teaching:
Considering the TPACK Framework." Learning and Leading with Technology
6. McCann, Thomas M., Larry R Johannessen, Elizabeth Kahn, Peter Smagorinsky, and
Michael W. Smith. Reflective Teaching, Reflective Learning. Portsmouth, NH:
Heinemann, 2005. Print.
7. Waverly Middle School. (2009). Lansing, MI: Heather Lewis.

Refer to the May 2010 calendar located at http://www.keepandshare.com/
User name: Stupicas
Summative Assessment:

Research Project
Criteria for Grading


• Was your introduction clear?

• Was your question addressed in the beginning of the assignment?

• Does your thesis statement allow the reader to understand the purpose of the paper?

Main Section
Are three sources used?

• Facts

• Indirect Quotes

• Direct Quotes

• Supporting facts

• Topic sentences


• Is your conclusion clear?

• Is your point made?

Random Facts Well chosen facts

Unclear Well Supported
0 5 10
Daily Lesson Plans
Monday, May 3, 2010

To allow students to begin brainstorming for their research project, they will discuss
controversial topics that influence and affect them. With the use of “morality scenarios,” there
will be a wide array of options and multiple routes for the discussion. This opportunity for
students to share ideas within small groups as a group can bring multiple perspectives, which
will be key to forming research questions for tomorrow.

For students to be motivated to learn how to write a research project and to make their writing
meaningful, they should write about a topic that interests them. To help them discover an
interesting topic, “morality scenarios” will aid in creating and framing such a topic. The
morality scenarios are not only asking students to question controversial issues for the purpose of
a topic, but it also scaffolds the previous unit about civil rights – many of the morality scenarios
relate to such issues.

• Completion of “morality scenarios” handout
• Discussion in small groups
• Discussion during class

1. Students will be able to develop a topic for the research paper. According to Hillocks,
there is an art behind “…crafting subtle scenarios as a way to visualize potential topics
and tease out the key questions surrounding them.”
2. Students will be able to conduct dialogic discussion within groups as well as with the
3. Students will be able to gain new perspectives and perceptions from their classmates –
which will help them form a research topic.

Introduction: Focusing Event
1. Introduce the possibility of questioning one’s surroundings and relate it to the previous
unit. It can be explained that Caesar Chavez and Martin Luther King questioned their
access to equal opportunities in America. This led to the fight for their civil rights, and
eventually a step towards equal opportunity. (5 minutes)

Development: Modeling Explanation/Demonstration

2. Distribute handouts with morality scenarios. Some of the scenarios can include visual
rhetoric. An example of a morality scenario is, “In June 2006 two American soldiers
were captured in Iraq. Later their bodies were found, dismembered. Should newspapers
have shown photographs of their bodies? Why, or why not?
3. Choose a scenario to discuss with students. Explain your rational verbally as the morality
of the situation is decided. Also ask the following questions out-loud: Does the person
act in a “moral” or “immoral” way? If one’s actions are immoral, is there support to back
their actions or claims? (10 minutes)

Practice: Guided/Monitored Activity

4. Ask students to rate the morality of the character from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most moral
and 5 being the least moral. (3-5 minutes)
5. Have students read the remaining scenarios individually and rate the morality of the
character featured in each. (5-10 minutes)
6. After five or ten minutes, ask students to discuss their ratings in groups of three,
explaining their reasons and identifying one scenario on which they all agree and another
on which they differ. (15 minutes)

Checking for Understanding: Assessment/Feedback

7. Then, discuss each scenario as a class, drawing out the controversies. (20 minutes)
8. As debate continues, encourage as much student-to-student dialogue as possible.
9. Facilitate discussion (if needed) by asking the following: How do people become racist?
Why does poverty exist? What is the ideal society? Is affirmative action fair?

Closure: Wrapping it Up
10. The hand-outs will be placed in their 3-ring bind portfolios that they have kept for the
school year. This unit will begin their “research” section.

• Morality scenario hand-out
• List of questions to help facilitate discussion

To-Do List:
• Print morality scenario handouts
• Create list of questions to facilitate discussion
• Determine preparation needed for the rest of unit

1. McCann, Thomas M., Larry R Johannessen, Elizabeth Kahn, Peter Smagorinsky, and
Michael W. Smith. Reflective Teaching, Reflective Learning. Portsmouth, NH:
Heinemann, 2005. Print.
2. Barnet, Sylvan, and Hugo Bedau. Current Issues and Eduring Questions: a guide to
critical thinking and argument, with readings. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin's, 2008. Print.

Morality in Context

In the following scenarios, rate the morality of the character from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most

moral and 5 being the least moral. Does the person act in a “moral” or “immoral” way? If one’s

actions are immoral, is there support to back their actions or claims? These scenarios are


1. Joe Dittering, a Chicago public accountant, recently finished a very busy time of year in
his office – tax season. As usual, he bragged to his colleagues about how he was again
able to squeeze a few more bucks away from Uncle Sam for his clients. When Marcus, a
colleague said, “Joe, you’re not really breaking tax codes, are you?” Joe smirked,
laughing under his breath slightly, saying, “Let’s just say I used my creativity! Ya know
what I mean?”
1 2 3 4 5

2. Roger Johnson lives in the Robert Taylor Homes, at 53rd and State Streets, on Chicago’s
South Side. His sixteenth birthday just around the corner, he has maintained a gang-free
philosophy throughout his life. Until now. Repeated pressures and threats to his younger
brother, Ishmael (age eight), have forced him to join the local gang, the Hornets. Later
that year, Roger finds himself a part of some activity he never would have imagined.
One evening, in the heat of an encounter with another gang, the Overlords, Roger fatally
wounds another young man his age. Weeks later, Roger feels bad for what he did, but
can do nothing to repay the family of the deceased, since he never knew his name.
1 2 3 4 5

3. In June 2006, newspapers across America ran the story about two American soldiers that
were captured in Iraq. To calm the fears of citizens, President Bush announced that
things were calming down in the Middle East and soldiers protection was increasing, but
they needed to remain there. Later, the bodies of the soldiers who had gone missing are
found dismembered. The newspapers ran photographs of their bodies. Was the action of
the newspapers immoral or moral?
1 2 3 4 5

3. Claire Taggart was raised to be a vegetarian and is an animal’s right activist. She even
becomes angry when people argue that it’s OK to eat meat if animals are raised humanely
for the purpose of eating. At an animal’s rights rally, she poured a can of red paint on a
woman who was wearing a fur coat.

1 2 3 4 5

4. Kate Eddy is a successful AP biology teacher at Waverly High School. Many of her
students are college-bound and excel at science. She always wants the best out of her
students and wants them to really love and know science. One of the projects that she
requires her students to do is to dissect frogs. Kate thinks that this project is necessary
for students to really gain first-hand experience with anatomy. In her twenty years of
teaching, no student has ever refused to do the project. For the first time, a student
argued that it is cruel and pointless. Kate responded to the student saying, “The only way
you learn is with first-hand experience. If you decide not to do the project, you will fail
the class.”
1 2 3 4 5
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To build upon yesterday’s lesson and allow them to continue brainstorming for a possible
research topic. Yesterday’s class pushed them to think of issues that effected and continues to
affect one’s civil rights. This will scaffold some of the questions that they produce for the
handout “Sometimes I wonder why…how…if.” To make this activity low risk and stress free,
students will not be told that they are brainstorming for the purpose of a paper. Later in the
week, their responses to the reflection will act as a dialogic basis for discussion between teacher
and student during work time.

Even though students have been raising questions throughout the year during discussion, this
activity will provide the opportunity for students to silently reflect as they write multiple
questions. Not providing a research question will give credibility to students’ questions and
thoughts. Students may think recursively while they write questions that relate to previous units,
or they can be creative and innovative. Not only will students be recursive or/and creative, they
will also learn a new method for how to brainstorm and develop a possible topic for research.

• Completion of the handout “Sometimes I wonder why…how…if?”
• Completion of journal reflection
• Participation during class discussion

• Students will be able to generate research questions in a low-risk environment.
• Students will be able to learn what a “researchable” question means as they write a
reflection that responds to the presented questions.
• Students will be able to learn a new method of research.

Introduction: Focusing Event
1. Refer to yesterday’s activities by asking students some of the following questions: “What
concerns do you have with some of the scenarios presented yesterday?” “What questions
can you ask yourself to delve deeper into such questions?” “What issues do you wish we
could have discussed yesterday? (5 minutes)

Development: Modeling Explanation/Demonstration

2. After a brief discussion and introduction, distribute the hand-outs “Sometimes I wonder
why…how…if?” (2 minutes)
3. Refer to the responses given in the introduction and write them on a “Sometimes I
wonder why…how…if?” handout. Start the questions with “I wonder why…” “I wonder
how…” or “I wonder if…”
4. Explain to students that have approximately 15 minutes to brainstorm and create
questions that can start with “I wonder why…” “I wonder how…” “I wonder if…” (3

Practice: Guided/Monitored Activity

5. After approximately 15 minutes, explain that one of their listed questions will be used as
the basis for a research paper. (15 minutes)
6. Reassure students that they do not have to pick a certain question to research until next
week on Monday (May 10).

Checking for Understanding: Assessment/Feedback

7. Distribute the Criteria for Grading (Listed under “Summative Assessment” in the unit
8. Discuss the Criteria for Grading and explain that they will learn to do the items listed
throughout the next few weeks.
9. To allow students to pick a question to research, they will answer the following questions
for a journal entry: What two questions from your "Sometimes I wonder why...how...if"
hand-out interest you the most? Why? Is it possible to find evidence that supports your
topic? Who can you interview for this topic? What sources do you plan to use to answer
your question? (15 minutes)

Closure: Wrapping it Up
10. The hand-outs will be placed in their 3-ring binder portfolios that they have kept for the
school year. This unit will begin their “research” section.

• “Sometimes I wonder why…how…if” handouts
• Research Rubrics
• A list of reflection questions

To-Do List:
• Focus activities: “Sometimes I wonder why…how…if” handouts
• Distribute rubrics
• Create a list of questions for student reflection
• Determine preparation needed for the rest of unit

1. Waverly Middle School. (2009). Lansing, MI: Heather Lewis.

Sometimes I wonder why…how…if?

1. _______________________________________________________________

2. _______________________________________________________________

3. _______________________________________________________________

4. _______________________________________________________________

5. _______________________________________________________________

6. _______________________________________________________________

7. _______________________________________________________________

8. _______________________________________________________________

9. _______________________________________________________________

10. _______________________________________________________________

11. _______________________________________________________________

12. _______________________________________________________________

13. _______________________________________________________________

14. _______________________________________________________________

15. _______________________________________________________________

16. _______________________________________________________________

17. _______________________________________________________________

18. _______________________________________________________________

19. _______________________________________________________________
20. _______________________________________________________________

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To teach students to focus, define, and form a topic, through writing an outline and “replaying.”
As an outline is modeled, students can practice focusing body paragraph topics and developing
topic sentences, thesis statement, and conclusion. After being given time to complete an outline,
students will discuss their topic to receive quick feedback.

To know how to focus and define a topic, students need to begin organizing their evidence and
support to answer their research question. The outline provides the framework and peer
responses can provide feedback that is necessary for reaffirmation for the route taken.

• Displays an understanding of how to complete an outline. The outline is not due until the
portfolio is turned in on the last day of the unit. This allows students to be recursive.
• Completion of McCann’s “replay” activity. Therefore, the listener’s two questions and
the speaker’s responses should be recorded.

• Students will be able to understand how to frame a paper through the completion of their
• Students will be able to improve the quality of their writing.
• Students will be able to practice their active listening skills through the replays activity.

Introduction: Focusing Event
1. Transition into today’s lesson, which is about framing an outline, by relating it to the
yesterday’s lesson about web charts and arrangement methods. Completing a web chart
and choosing an arrangement will easily allow one to create a more detailed outline. (5

Development: Modeling Explanation/Demonstration

2. Distribute “Outline handouts.”
3. Have handout read by a student.
4. Model how to complete the outline. As it is modeled, bring students’ attention to the use
of topic sentences and a thesis statement to also organize a paper. (5-10 minutes)

Practice: Guided/Monitored Activity

5. Dedicate time for students’ to work individually on their outlines. They can refer to their
web charts and “Methods of Arranging Details” handout, which was discussed in the
previous days’ lesson (10-15 minutes).
Checking for Understanding: Assessment/Feedback
6. To continue thinking through their topic and acquire feedback, students will be placed in
7. Instruct the students about the rules of replaying. For two minutes, students should not
look at their notes as they explain to a partner retells, or replays, his/her topic from
beginning to end. The listen writes down two questions for the speaker, and the speaker
has a chance to respond.
8. Remind students that they should nod their head and nonverbally affirm speakers to
practice good non-verbal skills.
9. Allow students to start the replaying activity. (20 minutes)
10. Throughout the activity, it should be timed and roles should be switched.
11. If time permits, allow the students to switch partners.

Closure: Wrapping it Up
12. When the activity is finished, explain to students that their peers ideas should be
continuously referred to as they complete their research.
13. Any notes and hand-outs should be placed in portfolio.

• “Outline” handouts
• Lined paper for students to write their questions during the replays activity.

To-Do List:
• Focus activities: Outline handout
• Distribute hand-outs
• Put students into partners
• Determine preparation needed for the rest of unit

1. McCann, Thomas M., Larry R Johannessen, Elizabeth Kahn, Peter Smagorinsky, and
Michael W. Smith. Reflective Teaching, Reflective Learning. Portsmouth, NH:
Heinemann, 2005. Print.
2. Waverly Middle School. (2009). Lansing, MI: Heather Lewis.

Methods of Arranging Details

Wherever you get your information, you must make sure the details are accurate, up-to-
date, and important to your topic. Don’t use details just because they sound impressive or took a
long time to get. Select carefully. Also, arrange your details in the most logical or effective
order. The guideline below should help you decide what the best method of arrangement is for
your topic.

• Chronological (time) order: You can arrange your details in the order in which they
happened (first, second, then, next, later, etc.)

• Order of location: You can arrange your details in the order in which they are located
(above, below, alongside, beneath, etc.)

• Order of importance: You can arrange your details from the most importance to the
least – or from the least important to the most.

• Cause and effect: You can begin with a general statement giving the cause of a problem
and then add a number of specific effects.

• Comparison: You can explain a subject by showing how it is similar to another better-
known subject.

• Contrast: You can use details which show how you subject is different from another
better-known subject.

• Illustration (general to specific): You can arrange your details so that the general idea is
stated first in the paragraph (topic sentence). Specific reasons, examples, facts, and other
details are then added which illustrate or support the general statement.

I. How are you going to open your paper? In general…


II. Body

A. Main Topic

-Supporting Facts and Ideas

B. Main Topic

-Supporting Facts and Ideas

C. Main Topic

-Supporting Facts and Ideas

III. Conclusion

Restate Thesis –
Final thoughts/Call to action

Friday, May 30, 2010

Writing is not seen as a “test” of individual students writing ability but as a process that is
growing and developing. Peer editing allows students to not only continue learning from their
peers, but also from themselves. Throughout the unit, students have observed models of
individual pieces of the writing process and have received one-on-one time with the teacher. To
seek additional critiques, students will also gain feedback from their peers. Overall, students will
discover “what worked/what didn’t.”

When given the opportunity, students listen to each other. They appreciate being taken seriously
and have their peers and teacher recognize that their voice is credible. Students can play the
“teacher” role as they determine how to help and aid in their peers’ work.

• Adequate completion of two peer editing sheets for final draft of research paper

• Students will be able to conference with partners to receive feedback
• Students will be able to provide helpful advice to their partners
• Students will be able to gain knowledge with several proofreading tactics

Introduction: Focusing Event
1. Allow students to long-in to the wikispace and go to the “Research” tab to bring their
final draft onto the monitor.
2. Introduce the importance of peer editing. For instance, peer editing is used to enhance
one’s ability to self-edit and to provide useful information to peers.
3. Distribute “How to Revise” handout.
4. Allow a student to read this handout aloud.

Development: Modeling Explanation/Demonstration

5. Distribute two copies of “Peer Editing Sheet for Final Draft of Research” to each student
6. Read aloud the “Peer Editing Sheet for Final Draft of Research” handout
7. As it is read out loud, also discuss the thought process one uses when editing. For
example, it can be shown how a reader skims to find three sources but must critically
read a first paragraph to check for transitions and a clear thesis statement. (5-10 minutes)

Practice: Guided/Monitored Activity

8. Each student should be placed with a partner
9. Allow approximately 15-20 minutes for students to peer edit. For every partner, a new
handout should be completed. (15-20 minutes)
10. Have the students switch partners.

Checking for Understanding: Assessment/Feedback

11. If students have time, allow them to begin making the corrections to their final drafts

Closure: Wrapping it Up
12. Remind students that their final drafts are due Wednesday. There will be time in class to
complete the draft, but students can work outside of school as well.
13. If necessary, peer evaluations can be brought home to work on the paper outside of
school. Otherwise, all papers and handouts should be placed in portfolio.

• “Peer Editing Sheet for Final Draft of Research” handouts
• Computers
• Printer
• Pencils

To-Do List:
• Focus activity: “Peer Editing Sheet for Final Draft of Research” handouts
• Distribute hand-outs
• Put students into partners
• Meet individually with students who need extra help
• Determine preparation needed for the rest of unit

1. Burke, Jim. The English Teacher's Companion. 3rd ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann,
2008. Print.
2. Dornan, Reade W., Lois Matz Rosen, and Marilyn Wilson. Within and Beyond the
Writing Process in the Secondary English Classroom. 1st ed. Boston: Pearson Education
Group, 2003. Print.

Peer Editing Sheet for Final Draft of Research Paper: How to revise

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”
– Shunryu Suzuki

To find errors, slow reading down to focus at the word and sentence level, checking work usage

and transitions, making sure your classmate has spelled and punctuated correctly. Some specific

methods to improve your proofreading are to practice the following:

• Read the paper aloud to yourself or your partner. Follow along with a pencil as you read,

making asterisk at spots where an error is suspected.

• Have your partner read the paper aloud to you, exactly as it appears on the page. Listen

for unclear area, awkward phrasing, repetitive sentence structures, errors in grammar

usage, and etc.

• List three of your most frequent errors at the top of the paper, and then read the paper

three times, each time focusing on one of these errors.

• Run a blank sheet of paper slowly down the composition so you are forces to read one

line at a time.

• Circle all suspected spelling errors before consulting a dictionary.

Peer Editing Sheet for Final Draft of Research Paper: Peer Critique

“The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
– Eden Philpots

Writer: _______________________________________________________________________

Editor: _______________________________________________________________________

• Please check the following requirements and format of the paper.

1. Are there at least three documented citations from three different sources?
Yes No
2. Does the research paper have a Works Citied page with a minimum of three sources?
Yes No
3. Is there at least one direct quotation?
Yes No
4. Are all facts, statistics, and direct quotations documented correctly?
Yes No
5. Is there at least one indirect quotation?
Yes No
6. Are all paraphrases cited and done correctly?
Yes No
7. Are there topic sentences used for each body paragraph?
Yes No
8. Does the thesis statement introduce the main idea for the rest of the paper
Yes No
9. Does the conclusion make a point?
Yes No
• Please proofread the paper and make sure that there are
No spelling errors (circle errors)
No run-on sentences
No punctuation errors
No capitalization errors
No subject/verb agreement errors


a. Describe and explain your online genre and how it works. What makes the form you’ve
chosen logical given your audience and purpose for the MG Research Unit? Be explicit and
give examples.
My chosen online genre is my teacher portfolio weebly page, which is located at
stupicas.weebly.com. The purpose of this online genre is to be a resource for my audience as
well as for myself. One reason that this genre is a logical choice is because it is an
organizational and resourceful tool. At this website, I have collected multiple documents, such
as my curricular map, multicultural unit, writing sequence, and etc. Currently, I am interested in
gathering many resources and information to scaffold my teaching knowledge. If my current
context was different, I would have considered making my online genre a wikispace, which is
one multigenre resource that I used during the research unit. In contrast, the weebly allows me
to be recursive and to continue modifying my future plans. I can use information that I have
already created or I can ask myself “Did or didn’t this particular method/practice work?”
Not only is this online genre beneficial for me to be organized and continuously
recursive, but it is also a tool for me to share information with my classmates and potential
employers. Recently, I presented my weebly website to my next year’s placement teacher and
she was therefore able to give me feedback. Also, I receive feedback from the Scribd website,
which is where I format my papers online to then be placed on the weebly. At the Scribd
website, anyone is able to comment and make suggestions. Overall, this sharing of information
turns into a dialogic discussion and thus helps me to grow into a better teacher.
Technology is changing everyday. Currently, a wikispace seems appropriate for my
current context at Waverly Middle School, but in two years, this may not be applicable. A
wikispace does perform the tasks necessary for this unit but unit plans should be continuously
modified as new technology is developed. According to Punya Mishra and Matt Koehler’s
article “Creative Uses of cool tools for teaching: considering the TPACK framework,”
technology can “positively influence pedagogy.” There soon may be newer websites that also
allows my future students to be recursive as well as dialogic.

b. How does this unit ask students to engage in multiliteracies? What are the strengths and
challenges of planning with multiliteracy objectives? Be explicit and give examples.
The definition of literacy continuously changes. No longer is there a monolithic one-
size-fits all literacy. All forms of communication can be considered one type of literacy. To
allow students to effectively communicate, the exploration of these multiple forms is beneficial.
This unit asks students to engage in multiliteracies as it allows them to experience several forms
of literacy. Students will not practice the typical idea of honing literacy, which is through just
reading and writing, but they will also be engaged in wikispaces, discussion, electronic
notecards, Wikipedia, online journals, and etc. Each of these genres requires students to interact
with them differently. For example, the way one carries on a discussion on the internet will
differ from the way they will hold in-person group discussion. During this unit, students will be
engaged with discussion through more than one genre. On Friday’s, students will reflect on the
wikispace and then will respond to their peers. This can be an informal response but must offer
constructive criticism or advice. They will also be engaged in discussion with an activity called
“replays.” This allows students to retell, or replay, their final assessment from start to finish to a
partner. The listener asks two questions and the speaker has time to respond and discuss
answers. In this activity, students have less time to respond and are learning to “think on their
feet.” Overall, both genres allow students to be dialogic, but it teaches them how each genre
forces one to adopt and learn new literacy skills.
The strength, but also a challenge, of planning with multiliteracy objectives is that it
forces one to be creative. For my context at Waverly Middle School, the students are just
beginning to learn how to conduct a research paper. Therefore, a teacher must not restrain their
lessons to only using worksheets. Rather, students should learn about the multiple ways to
conduct research and how to find sources by interacting with technology and their peers. It is
also a challenge to make this process dialogic but it can be done with the use of weekly
reflections on the wikispace and through group work. With the use of the wikispace, not only are
students becoming dialogic with one another, but the teacher can also use this as a dialogic tool.
Through students’ responses a teacher can determine if more or less one-on-one time
consultations are needed.
Another challenge presented when using multiliteracies is the possibility that some
students will not have access to technology outside of school. To overcome this challenge, I
provide approximately a week for students to write their research paper. This lesson can always
be adapted if students do have resources outside of school, but a week is necessary for those who
do not have resources outside of school. If more time is needed, students have the option to
write the remainder of the paper as homework. Limited access to technology will not be

c. Reflect recursively on what it means to plan inquiry-based experiences for students. Be

explicit and give examples.
To plan inquiry-based experiences for students is to ask them to be recursive as they
continue pushing themselves to be better writers. As my eighth grade students at Waverly
Middle School continue to learn new methods of writing and push themselves to keep drafting,
they will identify the appropriate approach to inquiry-based writing. One day, they will discover
the “right” approach for themselves, but this unit is the base for them to continue scaffolding
their learning in the future. Students will learn about various methods of organization, how to
complete an outline and where to find sources. Since there are multiple ways to go about writing
and planning, when the students are taught how to arrange a paper, they are taught the following
orders: chronological, order of location, order of importance, cause and effect, comparison,
contrast, and illustration. Overall, the unit provides a step-by-step process for how students can
write their paper but it provides the sound foundation for students to be exploratory with their
writing in the future.
Not only does inquiry-based experiences for students allow them to be recursive for
future writing tasks, but is also allows them to be recursive as they go through the writing
process. As students are taken through each step of writing, they continue to focus on their topic.
First, students write freely during brainstorming activities and then become more critical
evaluators of their own work for rewriting and final editing. To find a research topic, students
list several questions beginning with “I wonder why…,” “I wonder how…,” and “I wonder if…”
The purpose of this activity is to motivate students and rely on their personal store of linguistic
capabilities. With given time for reflection and personal involvement, this can lead to broader
opportunities. As suggested by Reade Dornan’s Within and Beyond the Writing Process in the
Secondary English Classroom, there is a pre-writing phase, a composing phase, and a post-
writing phase so students can be recursive through thinking, talking, collecting ideas, generating
materials, planning, and researching.

d. How does what you planned account for the development of procedural knowledge in
your students? How does what you planned on a daily basis connect to the overall plans for
the unit and vice versa? Be explicit and give examples.
The multigenre research unit accounts for the development of procedural knowledge
because it is a collection of short meaningful pieces of writing. Each piece is essential to
scaffold the next assignment. From brainstorming to the final assessment, students continuously
build upon prior knowledge. For procedural knowledge to continue, motivating and interested
brainstorming activities are necessary. For instance, this can be seen during my first lesson plan
that is adapted from Tim Pappageorge’s “Morality Scenarios” activity. Students receive five
scenarios that contain characters who are controversial but could have actions perceived as moral
or immoral. Since the scenarios are controversial, students easily lead discussions for each
scenario. The purpose of this is not only to engage students dialogically but to also allow them
to begin questioning their environment. This scaffolds day two of the unit as students are asked
to list twenty questions that begin with either “I wonder why…,” “I wonder how…,” and “I
wonder if…” Day two can be smoothly introduced because students have questions from the
previous day’s lesson.
Not only does procedural knowledge take place on a daily basis, but it also connects to
the overall plans. The purpose of the unit is to create a step-by-step process that helps students
writing become more organized and focused. Therefore, during the first two weeks, students are
learning about the writing process and then revise after peer editing. Weekly reflections also
enhance writing as they answer questions that allow them to critique their own writing.

e. What makes what you’ve planned dialogic? What are you learning about the challenges
of dialogic teaching? How specifically could you improve these plans in this regard? Be
explicit and give examples.
Not only is the mutligenre research unit recursive for students, but it is also dialogic. For
example, students type reflections on the wikispace as well as participate in group/partner work.
Reflections posted on the wikispace supports dialogic discussion because students can respond to
one another through response posts. These dialogic responses also provide more of a purpose for
writers. Students have an audience in mind as they write and can type questions to facilitate
discussion in a less-stressful forum.
One challenge of dialogic teaching in a multigenre research unit is determining how
multiliteracies can be adopted and used to meet the unit’s purpose. As describes in the article
“Creative Uses of cool tool for teaching: Considering the TPACK framework,” “…quality
teaching, Shulmann argued, is the transformation of content, and the act of teaching in a
disciplined manner.” To give a purpose to not only technology, but to all forms of literacy, a
teacher must have a goal. Therefore, I integrated the use of a wikispace to allow students to
learn dialogically. I also integrated the use of handouts as a form of literacy, but I wanted to
make them dialogic. Therefore, when students began to learn how to make an outline, I used
McCann’s “Replay” activity for students to make it interesting for students to discuss their
To continue overcoming the challenge of integrating technology for a purpose, I must
continue researching and becoming familiar with new technology. The more familiar, the more I
will discover new purposes and reasons to integrate technology into my units.