"America the not so Beautiful"

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SWBAT effectively interpret an author's position by writing a thesis statement after analyzing an essay using SOAPSTone.

Big Idea

Let's Analyze the Text!

Prior Knowledge

15 minutes

Prompt:  Do you believe that America is a wasteful society?  Explain your reasoning using details and examples.

 Individually, students responded to this prompt in writing, then shared their opinions within small groups (4 students).  Each group was then asked to share their strongest argument with the whole class.

Read "America the not so Beautiful"

30 minutes

Prior to reading this essay, we discussed what the class knew about Andy Rooney.  Some students were familiar with him from “60 Minutes.”  We talked about how he would add humor to his opinions about important issues of the day.

To provide background information about Andy Rooney, the class watched his reflection about "Impending Doom" which was a perfect segue into the essay "America the not so Beautiful."

Only referring to the title, “America the not so Beautiful,” students predicted what this essay could address.

 I had students number the paragraphs.  (see Reflection)

 As a class we read this essay together.  We stopped to recognize Rooney’s humor, validity of arguments, are the arguments facts or opinions.



30 minutes

I introduced the SOAPSTone concept and discussed acronyms.  Students knew that acronyms are words in which each letter represents another word.

S – Speaker

O – Occasion

A – Audience

P – Purpose

S –Subject

Tone – tone

 I then explained the details using SOAPSTone power point .

 Since this is the first time students had been exposed to SOAPSTone, as a class we completed the SOAPSTone chart together analyzing “America the not so Beautiful.”

Thesis Statement

15 minutes

After analyzing “America the not so Beautiful,” we practiced writing thesis statements about Andy Rooney’s point of view about Americans’ wastefulness.

First, I gave an overview of thesis statements using the "Thesis Statement Basics" Power Point (see Resources).

I asked students to review their SOAPSTone analysis to identify interpretations they took from the essay.

Then we practiced writing a thesis statement as a class using the following formula:

 ____Author_____  wrote  ____“Title”_____  to convince _____ audience_____ that _____belief______.


Andy Rooney wrote “America the not so Beautiful” to convince Americans that they should prudently dispose of their waste.

I had the students write the formula and the sample in their notebooks to use as reference for a well constructed thesis statement sample.

Next students wrote a small group thesis statement.  I reminded them to refer back to their SOAPSTone analysis to review their interpretations of "America the not so Beautiful."  As a closure, groups shared their newly created thesis statements.