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Unit 2: Planning Lessons for Informational and Argument Writing

Developing Language and Comprehension through Discourse

CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy Speaking and Listening Standard 1 requires that students “engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…” Focused classroom discussion around text is essential for preparing students for complex writing tasks. Providing scaffolds through discourse is especially important for English learners and students with disabilities as they increase their knowledge of a topic and develop their language and comprehension skills.

Time to View

In the video series that follows, a 5th grade teacher scaffolds her students' reading and writing about a historical text in three stages: clarifying understanding, finding specific examples about the author's viewpoint, and paraphrasing and citing to support their written interpretations of the author's viewpoint.

As you watch, observe how the teacher uses small and large group discussion strategies prior to writing to increase students’ understanding of the text they are studying. Note especially how she points them back to the text to find and cite the author’s language that supports their interpretation and prepares students for the culminating writing activity.
 

Upper Elementary Example

Analyzing Texts: Brainstorm Before Writing External Link

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Analyzing Texts: "Text Talk Time" External Link

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Analyzing Texts: Putting Thoughts on Paper External Link

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Time to Reflect

Take a few minutes to reflect upon the following questions about the videos:

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Sample responses