COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Reading Informational Text
RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
W.8.1(a) Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
W.8.1(b) Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
W.8.1(c) Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
W.8.1(d) Establish and maintain a formal style.
W.8.1(e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
W.8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
W.8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
W.8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
W.8.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Speaking & Listening
SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
L.8.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
L.8.2(c) Spell correctly.
L.8.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
DESCRIPTION OF UNIT
This Grade 8 ELA/Literacy unit titled “Finding Solutions to Food Waste: Persuasion in a Digital World” from readwritethink.org has an estimated instructional time of nine or more 45-minute sessions, at least four with Internet access. The emphasis of these lessons is for students to learn how to explore a problem using electronic and traditional modalities. Students will: develop research skills, analyze and evaluate persuasive techniques, and identify facts and supporting arguments in online articles. For the summative assessment, persuasive techniques acquired in this unit are used to create a blog post that includes a thesis and quality arguments appropriate to the writer’s purpose and electronic audience.
Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. More rigorous supports and modifications for students who are ELL or have disabilities may be needed. Before this unit is used in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the ELA CCSS listed above with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted in this unit, additional history/social studies content to meet grade-specific content standards, and possible assessment and/or rubric revision.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
The design of this unit is exemplary. It integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills that meet targeted Common Core standards. It uses technology and media to deepen understanding while cultivating student interest and engagement. The plan includes a variety of support materials and several editable PDF forms. Mastery of standards-based content and skills is regularly assessed through formative and summative performance tasks using an aligned rubric and assessment guidelines. The following link provides an example of students participating in a writing strategy protocol.
Strategy: Praise, Question, Suggestion (from Expeditionary Learning) Eighth-grade students in Rich Richardson’s class at the Expeditionary Learning Middle School in Syracuse, NY, offer feedback to their peers in preparation for revising their writing. The praise, question, suggestion protocol helps students see the strengths of their work and consider questions and suggestions that will lead to revision and improvement.