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COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
W.9-10.8. Gather relevant information from authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Speaking and Listening
SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 10 unit titled “Exploring Topics in Education” from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is intended to be completed in 15 forty-five minute sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. Additional time may be necessary, depending on the needs of students. In this three week inquiry-based unit, students will explore topics in education. Through various informational sources, students will be exposed to contemporary issues in the field. They will generate and investigate their own research questions on topics of their choice. As a summative assessment students create a position paper on an issue in education and a group presentation about the topic. The proposal consists of claims about the issue that are supported by evidence. The focus is on the gathering, evaluation, and synthesis of information, as opposed to specific persuasive strategies.
Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that the Teacher Notes and Preparation Materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. In addition, the General Notes and Resources section contains important, worthwhile information about: the goals of the unit, timing, research, the presentations, and the scoring rubric. If students lack a prior experience with MLA (Modern Language Association) citation, writing arguments or position papers, public speaking/presentations, and knowledge of their school’s research tools, additional instruction will be required.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This unit is an exemplary example of how to integrate the teaching of nonfiction and research that includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills deepen over time. Instruction gradually removes supports, requiring students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Instruction addresses many key shifts in the CCSS: reading text closely, text-based evidence, writing from sources, and building disciplinary knowledge. The unit provides for authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student-directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation, and/or reflection. While education is used as the topic in this model, teachers could choose a topic that better suits their students’ interests, school climate, their own knowledge-base, or other circumstances. All materials needed for instruction and assessment are included or cited in the unit. The summative assessment includes an aligned rubric that provides guidance for interpreting student performance.