Use the sample class lesson plan and adapt as appropriate to your classroom needs:
Learning objectives for all lesson plans
- Students will develop the ability to identify a policy issue of importance to them, and produce a text that participates in the public conversation about that policy.
- Students will produce a text targeted at an authentic audience
Step 1 Invention and Planning
1. Introduce the assignment to students.
Begin identifying possible writing goals. Some sample strategies for doing this might include the following:
- Navigating to the NCTE Policy Analysis Initiative Webpage.
- Exploring the Ballotpedia page on Educational Policy.
- Visiting the webpage for your local School Board, locating it by a google search. The agendas and minutes for school boards will document the key issues that those groups are making decisions about for local schools.
2. Brainstorming activity– in-class writing, class discussion, or other invention activity that responds to a prompt in which students start to identify their selected issue, possible purposes for writing and an audience to reach.
3. Large Group Discussion/Idea Feedback– discussion, could be face to face or online, in which students share, vet, and exchange ideas about their selected issue including potential audiences and purposes.
4. Student writers finalize their choice of topic/issue; identify their primary purpose; identify the selected audience; and begin to conceptualize the rhetorical purpose and format (persuasive email; facebook post; flyer; narrative about an important literacy experience; letter to editor, etc). They might proceed by:
- Locating a source or sources that addresses their selected topic/issue: Examine the key terms or language being used in the source and carefully consider what terms or references might be effective for your own audience.
- Locating a source or sources that address their intended audience, perhaps on a different topic/issue: This might be a letter to the editor, an opinion piece in a newspaper or magazine, a letter to your representative at the local or state level, etc. Examine the key features of that piece–what is the content and format of this genre? what works and why?
- Other possible options:
- Create a reverse outline of the source that addresses the student topic as well as a brief identification of the writer’s purpose, audience, and goal.
- Create outline or rough draft of the students’ text idea along with author’s note in which the writer identifies the purpose, audience, and rhetorical approach.
Step 2: Planning and Drafting for Writing Task
- Small group peer review of student outlines/rough drafts with specific attention to the alignment between the writer’s stated goals in terms of audience, purpose, and rhetorical approach for achieving the goal.
- Small group report out, large group distillation of the following:
- Key challenges in aligning rhetorical choices with audience/purpose
- Key Learning/Insights gained from small group discussion regarding aligning rhetorical choices with audience/purpose
- In-class drafting time with feedback provided informally one on one by instructor
- Assign Homework Task: Complete a draft of your selected text for review and discussion at the next class period.
Step 3: Finalizing, Editing, and Disseminating
- Compose a final draft in the format in which it will be sent–printed on paper or electronically available.
- In pairs or triads, conduct a peer review of one another’s work, with attention to how the piece will be persuasive to its particular intended audience and in the given format.
- Complete final editing and proofreading.
- Identify the materials needed to disseminate your composition–do you need stamps and envelopes? What about letterhead or quality paper? What physical or electronic addresses do you need to locate?
- Disseminate compositions to their audiences.
Sample assignment instructions for students
October 20th has been designated as the National Day on Writing, when classrooms and individuals across the country celebrate the importance of writing in our lives. In the spirit of the National Day of Writing, this week you will be researching and writing about a literacy issue of importance to you. After spending time thinking about who needs to hear about this issue (audience), what the best way to reach them is (genre, media), and developing ideas about what you want to say (content, purpose), you will compose your argument in a form that will actually be shared with your intended audience.
Expectations: Because students will produce a range of products for this assignment, there are no specific genre or length requirements. However, all compositions are expected to:
- address a specific and identifiable audience
- effectively engage evidence (from research and/or personal experience), referencing current and relevant policy and vocabulary, where appropriate
- utilize genre, medium, content and conventions appropriate for persuading the specified audience