CAHSEE ELA Problem of the Day --Week 9

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1 Week & Day: Week 9 Day 1 Concept/Skill: Biographical Narrative, Attacking the Prompt, Organizing Information Writing Applications 2.1: Biographical Narratives Student Handout: Page 1-2 (CAHSEE Released Prompts) 1. The language arts portion of the CAHSEE requires students to write an ondemand essay. The prompt for this essay will either ask students to respond to a piece of text or to use their own knowledge about a given topic. 2. Today s lesson will introduce one type of standards-based writing application tested by CAHSEE, biographical narrative. In a biographical narrative, students will write a narrative about another person s life. The prompt may call for students to discuss a famous person, as this practice prompt does, or a person who is not famous but is important to the writer. 3. Ask students to read the prompt on their handout and complete the activities provided. 4. Tell students that if they do not write to the prompt, they will not pass the essay portion of the CAHSEE. The first two activities teach students to attack the prompt. This activity will help them get started and stay on topic. 5. Explain the following strategy for attacking the prompt. Have students refer to the prompt on page 1 of their student handout. First, students must underline the verbs or to do words. If students see the words how, why, or what, they should insert the word show to make the sentence a statement rather than a question. SHOW Writing Task: Throughout your years in school, you have studied about many different people. Think about one of these people you have studied during your time at school. What makes this person special enough to study? Write an essay in which you discuss a person you have studied in school. Explain what it is about this person that is special. Use details and examples to support your ideas. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 1 of 9

2 6. Students should then complete a T-Chart (on page 1 of student handout). In the first column (the Do column), students should write the verb. If they have inserted the word show anywhere in the prompt, that word should also be placed in the first column. Students should write the task in the second column (the What column). Encourage students to go back to the T-chart after they have finished writing their essays in order to check that they have written to all the elements of the prompt. A completed T-chart for the prompt is shown below. DO Think Show Write Discuss Explain Use WHAT about a person you have studied in school what makes this person special enough to study an essay a person why this person is special details and examples 7. The next step asks students to organize their ideas in a chart. On page 2 of their handout, students are given a sample organizer which focuses on President Franklin Roosevelt. They are also given an empty organizer to fill in with their own ideas. Student will stop at this point and will not actually write the essay unless you wish for them to do so. Point out, however, that the organizer would help them develop a well-structured, multi-paragraph essay. 8. You might take a few minutes in order for students to share their ideas in pairs, or you might ask for volunteers to share their organizers with the class. A good strategy for sharing is to ask volunteer students to complete their T- chart/organizer on an overhead which can then be displayed and critiqued by the class. 9. Sample released essays for this CAHSEE prompt can be found on page of the 2006 CAHSEE Released Items. You might extend the lesson and have students actually write to the prompt and then compare their own responses to the sample released items. 10. Another option for extending the lesson is to have students save each organizer they complete this week. Then, at the end of the week, you might have students choose one of those prompts to use to write a practice essay. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 2 of 9

3 Week & Day: Week 9 Day 2 Concept/Skill: Expository Essays, Thesis Statements Writing Applications 2.3: Expository Essays Student Handout: Page 3-4 (CAHSEE Released Prompts) 1. Today, students will be examining an expository prompt. The purpose of an expository essay is to explain or to provide information. An expository essay must be organized around a central thesis. 2. Ask students to read the prompt on page 3 of their handout and complete the activities provided. 3. First they will be asked to attack the prompt. Directions for this procedure are found on page 1 of the Student Handout and page 1 of the. An answer key is provided below. Writing Task By the time students enter high school, they have learned about many moments in history that have influenced our world today. Think about a moment in history you studied and consider its importance. Write a composition in which you discuss a moment in history. Share its importance in today s world. Be sure to support the moment with details and examples. DO Think Consider Write Discuss Share Support WHAT about a moment of history you studied its importance a composition a moment in history it s importance The moment with details and examples SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 3 of 9

4 4. Next students will be asked to develop an organizer or outline for the event in the space provided. They may use the same type of organizer provided in Lesson 1 (Page 2) if they wish. 5. You may want to follow the sharing activities in the Teachers Notes for Lesson 1 (page 2) so that students have an opportunity to share their T-Charts and organizers. 6. This may also be a good time to discuss thesis statements. Students need to know how to develop a thesis statement for the CAHSEE essay; however, they should not belabor the process in any on-demand writing activity. Although most essays, which score high on the CAHSEE, have a specific/detailed thesis, not all have the typical three-point thesis many students are taught to write in formulaic five-paragraph essays. Students should practice quickly developing a thesis without spending too much time on the task. One way to help your students is to teach them that the thesis should answer not only what (the subject of the essay) but also how or why (the significance of the topic). You might share the following sample thesis statements with your students. Prompt: Who or what do you think is responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet? Support your opinion with evidence from the play. Thesis #1 Friar Laurence is responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet. (This thesis tells us what Friar Laurence is to blame-- but it does not show why or how.) Thesis #2 Friar Laurence, because of his deception and also his encouragement of their forbidden love, is ultimately responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet (This thesis is more effective because it tells us why or how.) 7. Sample released essays for this CAHSEE prompt can be found on page of the 2006 CAHSEE Released Items. You might extend the lesson and have students actually write to the prompt and then compare their own responses to the sample released items. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 4 of 9

5 Week & Day: Week 9 Day 3 Concept/Skill: Persuasive Essays, Counterargument Writing Applications 2.4: Persuasive Essays Student Handout: Page 5-6, (CAHSEE Released Prompts) 1. Today, students will be examining a persuasive prompt. In a persuasive essay, students will have to take a stand on an issue and will have to provide evidence to support their viewpoint. Good persuasive essays will also address any possible counterarguments or concerns the reader may have. 2. Ask students to read the prompt on page 5 of their handout and complete the activities provided. 3. First they will be asked to attack the prompt. Directions for this procedure are found on page 1 of the Student Handout and page 1 of the. An answer key is provided below. Writing Task Tourism committees spend a great deal of money each year advocating natural landmarks of states and countries. By using media such as posters, magazine advertisements, television commercials, and radio advertisements, committees are able to send a message about beautiful places, and hopefully convince some tourists to travel to those places. Suppose you have been hired by a tourism committee. Write a persuasive essay in which you identify a place in the world that has something tourists might find interesting. Explain precisely what makes that particular place so special. Develop your ideas so that a potential tourist would be persuaded to visit the place you have identified. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 5 of 9

6 DO Suppose Write Identify Explain Develop WHAT you have been hired by a tourism committee a persuasive essay a place in the world that has something that tourists would find interesting what makes this pace so special Your ideas so that a potential tourist would be persuaded to visit this place 4. Next students will be asked to complete an organizer (Page 6 of Student Handout) for the location they have chosen. Point out that this organizer is similar to the organizer in lesson 1; however; it has a section which addresses any counterarguments or concerns the reader may have. 5. Before completing the organizer you might ask the class to brainstorm possible counterarguments for popular destinations. Here are some below. Destination Possible Concern Addressing Concern Disneyland It s too expensive. Disneyland gives children memories to last a lifetime and is well worth the expense. Yosemite National Park It s too crowded. One should go off season to visit without crowds. You should visit the most popular sites early in the morning or late in the afternoon. 6. Sample released essays for this CAHSEE prompt can be found on page of the 2006 CAHSEE Release Items. You might extend the lesson and have students actually write to the prompt and then compare their own responses to the sample released items. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 6 of 9

7 Week & Day: Week 9 Day 4 Concept/Skill: Response to Literature, Annotating Writing Applications 2.2: Response to Literature Student Handout: Page 7-9, CAHSEE Released Prompts 1. The next two lessons will focus on response to literature. In this type of prompt, students are asked to read and analyze a text, in this case a poem, and support their analysis with specific textual references or quotes. 2. Ask students to read the prompt on page 7 of their handout and complete the activities provided. 3. First they will be asked to attack the prompt. Directions for this procedure are found on page 1 of the Student Handout and page 1 of the. An answer key is provided below. Writing Task: Write an essay in which you describe the speaker s view of nature in the poem, Early Spring. SHOW How is this view revealed in the poem? Include specific references to the poem in your response. DO Write Describe Show Include WHAT an essay the speaker s view of nature in the poem how this view revealed in the poem specific references to the poem SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 7 of 9

8 4. Next, students are asked to read the poem Early Spring, which is on the last page of their handout. Encourage them to annotate the poem, underling important words, lines, and passages which reveal the author s attitude toward spring. They should write their insights next to the lines and stanzas. You might also read this poem together as a class, modeling a think aloud as you read. A sample annotation is shown below. This poem must take place in the desert or southwest. Early Spring By Shonto Begay In the early spring, the snowfall is light upon the mesa. It does not stick to the ground very long. I walk through this patchwork of snow and earth, 5 watching the ground for early signs. Signs of growth. Signs of rebirth. The signs of rebirth may represent the cyclical pattern on nature. After the snow comes rebirth. The Hawk sees a part of nature the speaker is unable to see or maybe understand. Although the signs of winter are still present, life is just beginning. Larkspur and wild onions are still within the warmth of the earth. I hear cries of crows off in the distance. 10 A rabbit bounds off into the sagebrush flat. A shadow of a hawk disturbs the landscape momentarily. It sees food and life abundant below that I cannot see. The cycle of life continues. Even as I stand here shivering in the afternoon chill, 15 just below me, young seedlings start their upward journey. Insects begin to stir. Rodents and snakes are comfortable in their burrows. Maybe to them we also disappear with the cold. 20 Not to be seen until spring. This reminds me of Mother Earth. The plants are comforted by her warmth and tenderness. Here again is the theme of nature s cycles. One animal s death is life for another. The cycle of life in the desert. Man seeks shelter in the heat, while other life thrives. This must be the theme. We have to look closely to see all that nature reveals and has to offer. For this generation, and many more to come, this land is beautiful and filled with mysteries. They reveal themselves and their stories if you look very carefully, and listen... This relates to the Hawk seeing things that are not apparent to the speaker. From NAVAJO VOICES AND VISIONS ACROSS THE MESA by Shonto Begay. Copyright 1995 by Shonto Begay. Reprinted by permission of Scholastic Inc. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 8 of 9

9 Week & Day: Week 9 Day 5 Concept/Skill: Response to Literature, Using Quotes to Support Ideas Writing Applications 2.2: Response to Literature Student Handout: Page 7-9, CAHSEE Released Prompts 1. Have students review the prompt and the annotated poem from Day 4 (Page 7 and 9 of Student Handout). 2. Now students will complete the graphic organizer on page 9 of their handout. In this organizer, the students will be asked to discuss the speaker s view of nature and they will need to write down quotes which support that view. A sample organizer is completed below. INTRO Thesis: (What is the author s attitude toward nature?) The author believes that the secrets of nature can be revealed by looking closely. Main Ideas Line Numbers Quotes from the poem which support this idea The signs of nature are not always apparent to man A shadow of a hawk disturbs the landscape momentarily./ It sees food and life abundant below that I cannot see BODY Even as I stand here shivering in the afternoon chill,/ below me, young seedlings start/ their upward journey. Nature reveals the cycle of regrowth 6 Signs of growth. Signs of rebirth and rebirth 13 The cycle of life continues. It is worth the effort to understand nature s what nature mysteries For this generation, and many more to come,/ this land is beautiful and filled with mysteries They reveal themselves and their stories if you look very carefully, and listen 3. Sample released essays for this CAHSEE prompt can be found on page of the 2006 CAHSEE Release Items. You might extend the lesson and have students actually write to the prompt and then compare their own responses to the sample released items. SAUSD, Educational Services Week 9 Teacher - Page 9 of 9

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