Organizing a Literary Essay about Song of the Trees

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT independently produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style.

Big Idea

Putting a theme in a box.

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect: “We have written a lot about Song of Trees and discussed it, now it is time to formally write about it.”

Teach: I will say, “In order to plan out my draft,  I am going to practice the skill of making my own graphic organizer and the strategy using my writing to create it. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Look through my notebook and choose the theme I wish to write about.

2) Draw my organizer in my notebook using my teacher’s example as a guide

3) Have a peer look over my organizer to ensure I am making sense.”

I will show students how I think about Song of the Trees through my the theme I revised and how I look through all of my writing in order to craft my boxes, bullets and brackets.

Every day when I am stating the skill, strategy and process to my students I try to remember to refer to the The 7 skills people need for college and work chart. This chart comes from this report. I want them to always see that the lesson connects to a skill they will need in the future. This lesson focuses on collaboration and effective oral and written communication. 

Active Engagement

5 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say,”You will now look through your notebook and you will say to your partner, My claim about the theme of Song of the Trees is_________.” Then I want you to start drawing your own graphic organizer using boxes, bullets and brackets.  I will check for understanding listening that each student has a claim about the theme (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I will then look over the shoulder of each level of learner to ensure they are starting their organizer successfully.

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember in order to plan out an explanatory essay, successful writers practice the skill of making their own graphic organizer and the strategy of recreating the planning The process they use is they pick another idea they have generated, they draw an organizer and start another draft.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “Now you are going organize your first literary essay.” They should organize for at least 15 minutes or more. They should be using exact quotes from the text for their evidence.” As they are working independently and quietly, (I like to play classical or smooth jazz for “writing” music (I just create a play list on Pandora Internet radio) I will confer with them about their writing by using the Possible Conferences for Creating Boxes, Bullets and Brackets.docx.

Partner Work: “You are now going to trade your organizer with your partner I want you to read through it and let your partner know if their claim, reasons and evidence all match.”

I will show them how I read through my own and put the claim, reason and evidence together. For example I will read my “box,” “It takes bravery to stand up to cowardice because (my first bullet) Papa had a lot of courage to stand up to Mr.Anderson. For example, (my first bracket) Papa said to Mr.Anderson, “One thing you can’t understand, Andersen,” Papa said, “is that a black man’s always got to be ready to die. And it don’t make me any difference if I die today or tomorrow. Just as long as I die right.”

I will ask the class, “Does that make logical sense that it all fits together?” I want you to read through your partner’s work the same way. I will help coach them through this as I walk around.

After they are done I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A I want you to share your feedback about Partner B’s organization. Give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know their organization was logical. Then you will switch.”


10 minutes

I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: Students will have time to revise their boxes, bullets and bracket and then will turn in their organizational chart.