In this unit, students will demonstrate an understanding of using visual text to help them with writing expository essays. These lessons will teach students the strategies to use when looking at visual texts, in order to pay attention to detail and use descriptive language. By actively seeking the details of the ordinary, we will hone our skills of observation, which is the first step toward my students becoming confident writer.
By having students observe common, everyday objects that they are familiar with, they will have the confidence to become strong writers.
My unit is composed of three compare-and-contrast expository essay writing lessons. The first lesson is to introduce students to writing about visual images. The other two lessons consist of students incorporating two photographs from each period, the 1940s and the 21
century. The first lesson is an introductory lesson to writing about visual images and to refresh students' previous knowledge on how to write an expository essay by comparing and contrasting the first cell phone and the blackberry. For the second lesson in the unit, my students will read two articles from the
Britannica for Kids
on Pearl Harbor and September 11
, and compare and contrast two posters pertaining to those articles.
For the third lesson, my students read an article about the ENIAC computer from the
Britannica for Kids Encyclopedia
and another article about the Netbook Computer from the
New York Times.
Afterwards, they will compare and contrast pictures of the ENIAC computer and the Netbook computer. Each of the lessons in my unit will consist of the teacher scaffolding and getting background information about what the students know about the major events/ inventions have had an impact on current society. Then the students will view the two images from both times, the 1940s and the 21st century. Afterwards, the teacher and the students will discuss the images in whole group. The teacher and the students will read two articles related to both of those images in whole group within a two-day period. After the class reads the two articles that are about the events/inventions, the teacher and the students will discuss the articles and displayed images and how they relate to one another. Then the students will brainstorm in graphic organizer about ideas to help them write their descriptive essay. The students will write their descriptive essays and then score their writing on a rubric. After the students check their written work and score their rubric, the teacher will then score a teacher copy of a rubric.
To introduce the unit, the teacher is going to model how to compare and contrast the two cell phone pictures on the Smartboard. The cell phone pictures that are being compared and contrasted are a picture of the first cell phone that was invented in 1973 and the blackberry cell phone. The teacher will discuss with the students in whole group important details of the visual image to include when they are writing their expository essay. With the help of the students in the class, the teacher will brainstorm
the similarities and the differences of the two cell phones in whole group. For the expository essay assignment, the students are allowed to compare and contrast their personal cell phone with the first phone invented. The reason behind letting the students use their cell phones for this lesson is because the students like to text and play games on the internet using their phones. In order to engage the students in writing, I decided to let them use an object that pertains to their interests. When my students are brainstorming about the two cell phones, I want them to keep focusing on the phones' overall appearance and features. The first cell phone was much larger than today's modern-day cell phone. It did not consist of data plans that included touch screens, internet, or other additional applications.
After the teacher compares and contrasts the cell phone images in whole group, he or she will then model how to fill out the graphic organizer that is shaped into an image of a cell phone so the students can use it as a guide to organize their thoughts so that they will be able to write a descriptive five-paragraph expository essay. Brad W. Baxendell's article "Graphic Organizers" states that having students visually display main key points in a lesson can benefit learners who have difficulty organizing information. They are known to be a strong representation of acquired knowledge because they help students organize their ideas and be able to understand relationships between complex ideas and recall. Baxendell also mentions that students who are Learning Disabled are more likely to generalize skills they previously learning when given graphic organizers.
After the students are finished brainstorming their ideas in their cell phone graphic organizer, the teacher will display a five-slide PowerPoint to reinforce what pieces of information should be included in each of the five paragraphs for the expository essay. The power point slides will go as follows: 1
Supporting Detail Paragraph; 3
Supporting Detail Paragraph; 4
Supporting Detail Paragraph, 5
Slide--Conclusion Paragraph. Once the teacher reinforces students' previous knowledge on how to write an
expository essay, he or she will go over the scoring rubric with the class. The scoring rubric for both teacher and student is listed as
below. After the students are finished with their expository essays, they will score themselves on the clarity and descriptive detail of each essay they wrote using a teacher-made rubric. When the students are finished scoring themselves, the teacher will look over the students' essays and give them a score based on how well they performed this writing task.
After the teacher reinforces students' previous knowledge on how to write an expository essay, she will go over the scoring rubric with the class. The scoring rubric for both teacher and student is listed as
below. After the students are finished with their expository essay, they will score themselves on the clarity and descriptive detail of each essay they wrote using a teacher made rubric. When the students are finished scoring themselves using the teacher made rubric, the teacher will then look over the students essay and give them a score based on how well they performed this writing task.
Source: Custom Essays Lab
http://www.custom-essays-lab.co.uk/essay_writing/9th_grade_essay_rubrics.htm, Accessed on July 16, 2011.
Differentiation for Teachers: If teachers do not have access to a Smartboard or an overhead projector, they will need to print out a copy of the images for each student in the class.