Evaluation for 3.b.3
Over the course of the year, writing skills and knowledge of conventions are applied in increasingly complex contexts, with opportunities for students to publish their writing.
Writing skills and knowledge of conventions, including punctuation and grammar, are applied in increasingly complex contexts over the course of the year, with opportunities for students to publish their writing. The materials include a sequence of “Writing Workshops,” which guide students through the entire writing process, but lump revision and editing into one step in the process instead of separating them into two. The materials also include a series of “Grammar and Style” activities that systematically teach grammar, punctuation, and usage, both in and out of context.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, students engage in all of the stages of the writing process when composing an informational text—a literary analysis about plot. The materials state: “Choose a short story from this unit and write a prompt analysis, using the three-part process—prewriting, drafting, revising.” The materials provide step-by-step directions. For example, students are first directed to “Select Your Topic,” and underneath that students are told: “Choose a story from this unit to analyze, perhaps one that was most compelling for you to read and that interests you most.” Then, students “Gather Information”; they “reread the story” they chose to analyze and “identify what happens in each stage.” The materials direct students through the process of writing the essay. For the publication stage, materials state: “Submit your essay to a school or community literary magazine, journal, newsletter journal, or newspaper.” In Unit 1, students also learn about types of sentences. Students practice by rewriting paragraphs from the text “Two Friends” by Guy de Maupassant using only one type of sentence. Students then reflect on what happens when a paragraph is written using only one type of sentence and write a paragraph explaining why sentence variety is necessary to quality writing. Additionally, students apply the lesson in “Grammar and Style: Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement” with in-context practice: “Write five questions that would generate discussion about the story; each of the five questions should include one pronoun and its antecedent.”
In Unit 2, students engage in all of the stages of the writing process to compose a personal narrative. The “Writing Workshop” activity focuses on writing a personal narrative: “Write a personal narrative about a true story from your life.” The students’ purpose is “to understand their story and to share it with readers.” The audience is the students’ “teacher and classmates; family and friends; people who do or do not know them.” The materials facilitate students’ use of the writing process by providing specific sections of directions for planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their narrative. For example, the material outlines the “Prewriting” phase as “Select Your Topic,” “Gather Information,” “Organize Your Ideas,” and “Write Your Thesis Statement.” The “Draft” phase includes the directions “Write your essay by following a three-part framework: introduction, body, and conclusion.” The “Revise” phase instructs: “Make sure the three parts of the essay—the introduction, body, and conclusion—work together and focus on the thesis. Use the Revision Checklist on page 226 to make this evaluation. Make notes directly on the essay about what changes need to be made.” Finally, the “Writing Follow-Up” includes components for “Publishing and Presenting” as well as “Reflection.” For the publication stage, students are encouraged to compile a class anthology to display in the school library and to distribute print copies to personal contacts who appear in the narrative.
Additionally, in Unit 2, students learn about punctuation (colons and semicolons). Students write a summary of an article of their choice and incorporate colons and semicolons into their writing. Students apply the lesson on “Consistent Use of Verb Tenses” with in-context practice: “Choose one of your favorite authors and write a two-paragraph biological sketch of him or her. Pay close attention to the verb tenses you use, and try to use them consistently throughout the two paragraphs. When you have finished your draft, exchange it with a partner. Your partner should check for consistent use of verb tenses. Rewrite any sentences that contain errors.”
In Unit 3, students learn about using precise language and avoiding clichés in their writing. Students practice by fixing wordy sentences and clichés in a given passage and writing their own paragraph using precise language. Students also learn about the different types of phrases (prepositional, gerunds, participial, and infinitive), revise a given paragraph by adding appropriate phrases, and incorporate the phrases when they write a biographical sketch of a poet.
In Unit 4, students apply the lesson on “Active and Passive Voice” with in-context practice: “In a brief essay, identify the character and the conflict, and explain why and how his or her struggle is important. Use at least three passive verbs and three active verbs in your essay.”
In Unit 5, in the “Writing Workshop: Research Paper” students have in-context practice of grammar skills. The Writing Workshop includes a “Revision Checklist” in the “Writing Follow-up” section. The “Grammar & Style” portion of this checklist includes three items that have been previously taught in the unit: “Does the writer use transitions between sentences and paragraphs? Are adjectives and adverbs used correctly? Are direct quotations properly punctuated?”
In Unit 6, students engage in all of the stages of the writing process when they compose a short narrative story. For the publication stage, students are encouraged to submit their story to a literary magazine for publication. In the “Prewrite” phase, for “Select your Conflict,” the materials direct: “Think of a conflict around which the plot of your story will revolve. Your main character can come into conflict with something external...or with something internal.” The directions continue in the next section, “Plan Your Story”: “The basic building blocks of a story are characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.” The materials include guidance on choosing and developing those building blocks. Additional details and directions appear in the “Draft,” “Revise,” and “Writing Follow-Up” sections.