Table of Contents

Unit 2: Planning Lessons for Informational and Argument Writing

2.2.2 Using Text Features to Support a Claim

Time to View

Let’s watch a teacher who is helping her students organize their information writing and use text features, with deliberation and purpose, to support their claims. Note in the commentary at the beginning of the video that the teacher has analyzed student assessment data to determine the focus of the lesson.

This lesson also provides an example of how students can use text sources and genre knowledge to develop an organization and sequence for their own writing. The genre the students are writing is a nonfiction book.

Whole Class Instruction: Teaching Students to Organize Information Texts to Support a Claim (5-8) from TC Reading and Writing Project on Vimeo.

Depth of Knowledge (DOK)


In the video commentary, you may have noted the reference to Norman Webb’s “Depth of Knowledge ” and how the teacher pushes her students to deeper levels of thinking and analysis in preparation for their writing. The DOK model provides a frame of reference to the complexity of mental processing that must occur to answer a question, perform a task, or generate a product, and applies across content areas.

Webb developed four levels that grow in cognitive complexity and provide educators a framework for creating more cognitively engaging and challenging tasks. The four DOK levels are:

Level 1: Recall — includes identifying (who, what, when, where, why), memorizing, recalling, listing, quoting

Level 2: Skill/Concept — includes identifying main idea, organizing, categorizing, determining cause and effect, comparing, predicting, summarizing

Level 3: Strategic Thinking — includes developing a logical argument, analyzing, using concepts to solve problems, citing evidence, drawing conclusions

Level 4: Extended Thinking — includes designing, connecting, synthesizing, critiquing, applying concepts, conducting in-depth analysis, justifying, proving

Understanding the importance of this concept is essential for unpacking the CCSS, designing curriculum maps, and focusing instructional and formative assessment practices. DOK also plays a central role in California’s new statewide assessment system being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. For additional information, refer to the DOK Graphic for a detailed description of Webb’s four levels of thinking, skills, and activities.

Time to Reflect

Now, reflect upon the following questions:



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