Who are you? Pre-writing for identity and culture narrative

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SWBAT develop and strengthen writing by using a graphic organizer to plan their culture narrative.

Big Idea

Designing a word graph helps to illuminate students' individuality and frame their culture.

Let's get started: Inference vs. Evidence

10 minutes

Following up on the writing review from the last class, I ask students to identify the difference between inference and evidence.  As students develop their skills in writing, I want them to realize that a claim whether in a narrative or expository writing is an Inference vs evidence.  The information in their essays that proves or supports their inference is evidence.  The concept seems simple however my students enjoy writing what they understand and know. Students write for themselves or mistakenly assume their audience shares the same schema as them. They struggle with writing clear and concise paragraphs and essays that convey specific information to an audience other than themselves.  

The CC standard W 9-10 5 requires students to write for a specific audience.  I hope the students will begin to see the audience as something greater than themselves once they distinguish the difference between an inference and evidence.  

When I go over the definitions of inference and evidence, I want students to make the connection that evidence gives credibility to an inference (L.9-10.6).  Understanding how to create and why to create credibility is the first step in conveying a specific purpose to an audience. 

Building Knowledge: Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

40 minutes

This section is lecture. I usually do not like to lecture, but there are specific lessons that call for it, and in those lessons, like this one, I try to always create Engaging Lectures.  I need to give students information on how to incorporate quotes into their writing using MLA format in order to succeed in their writing task (W.9-10.8).  I like to assume that my students are familiar with MLA before they get to my class, however, the majority of them think that MLA format means, "I typed my essay."  

First, I review the best on-line resources for essay formatting. For this, I refer to the Purdue On-Line Writing Lab, an excellent resource for teachers on how to teach students about formatting and MLA rules. I want the students to be aware of resources they can access outside of class and this website does a good job of showing examples of that. 

Next, I go over why it is necessary to follow a style guide in order to Avoid Plagiarism  I ask them why plagiarism is undesirable.  Most of them know that plagiarism is cheating.  I try to stress that is more than cheating; it is stealing and has serious consequences in higher education and in a professional setting. 

Next, I ask them to look at their writing from the last class. And ask them if they had evidence or inferences in it. We discuss why they should never begin nor end a paragraph with a quote.  I go over the three Cs of writing: three Cs .  Now that they have a format for the structure of the paragraph, I give them introducing a quote with examples on how to incorporate quotes into the paragraphs.

I also give students an example of a Intro phrase quote where Stephen King compares J.K. Rowling to Stephanie Meyer.  We discuss the strategies the writer employs to cite the source.  I repeat the process showing the different ways students can incorporate a quote.  Finally I teach them TIE together as a way to remember the different ways to use direct quotes in writing. 


King, Stephen. "Stephen King Says ‘Twilight’ Author ‘can't Write’." TODAY.com. NBCNews.com, 3 Feb. 2009. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.


Applying Knowledge: Fitting identity and culture into a graphic organizer

40 minutes

Now I transition the students from talking about writing to working on their pre-writing.  I give them a pre-writing graphic organizer in order to help them clarify their thoughts (W.9-10.5) . The graphic organizer I use is the culture wheel planning sheet as it applies specifically to the task students are about to undertake. The content of the essay should be similar to the content in their culture wheel presentation. Both activities ask students to explore the primary elements of their culture and give examples of how these elements make up their identity.  

First students develop their working claim or an inference about their culture and identity.  It goes into the box in the center.  Next students identity the five aspects of their culture that they want to include in the essay. Finally they need to list evidence on how each of the five elements connect to their identity and culture.  

I remind them that they are teaching the audience about who they are and the important aspects of their culture.  We indicate that their target audience is their peers.  Then, I ask, "What do the other students in the class need to know about you in order to understand you as an individual and appreciate your culture? I also tell the students not to assume that their audience has any knowledge of how each of the five elements they choose connect to who they are.  

Closing: Identify the next steps in the writing process

5 minutes

As the class wraps up, I ask the students, "What are the next steps?"  I expect them to tell me that they have to write their drafts and the next class we will be revising.