Unit Overview

This is a ten-day long writer's workshop on observational writing, culminating on day 10 with the students' publishing a 500-word observational essay.  Since this is the first formal essay students turn in for the first semester dual credit college freshman composition course I teach, these daily lessons may be not taught in a consecutive manner, but may be broken up by other lessons on prewriting, drafting, and revision techniques.

Common Core Standards for lesson unit:

ELA Writing. Text Types and Purposes. 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 

a. Introduce a topic or thesis statement; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension 

b. Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic. 

c. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. 

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. 

e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. 

f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). 

History/Social Science and Science. Writing. Text Types and Purposes.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. 

a. Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. 

b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

c. Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. 

d. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers. 

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
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