literary essays

    LITERARY ESSAYS! Over the next 7 weeks the class will work on close reading and questioning texts to grow ideas about the text, and then write about those ideas using thought prompts and citing evidence. They will use their knowledge of opinion essays to structure their literary essays. After the first 5 weeks they will have completed one literary essay. During the last 2 weeks of the unit students will learn how to compare two texts and use this information to write a second literary essay. 

    Students will have writing homework 3 days a week during this unit. Each day there is homework, an instructions sheet will accompany your child home. The homework will be practicing what we learned in class that day. When I go over the homework in class I will tell them the expectation is they will work on this writing homework for 20 minutes. This will look different for each child because they will all be at different levels of proficiency in this unit. 

    During this unit students will learn how to:

    • close read a familiar text to generate ideas about it. Here is my example from the lesson:
    • le2
    • ask questions of the text as they read. Here are the questions we came up with:
    • le3
    • study characters by looking at their traits, motivations, struggles, changes and relationships. Here is my example:
    • le4
    • how to use prompts to elaborate on their ideas. Here are the revised thought prompts we used: Prompts to push our thinking
    • find and test a thesis for their literary essay. Here is my example from the lesson:
    • lesson 4
    • use mini-stories as evidence to support their ideas. Here is my example and one from a former student:
    • lesson 6
    • use direct quotes to support their claims about a text. Here is my example from the lesson:
    • quotes
    • use lists of similar evidence  and examples to support their claims. Here is a great example of a list from a former student:
    • create a draft out of collections of evidence. They will also study the structures of published literary essays. Here is what we did in the lesson:
    • lesson 8
    • identify patterns to develop ideas about the story's theme or message. 
    • look at all sides of a story to add complexity to our ideas.
    • flash-draft their essay to get all of their ideas down quickly.
    • write their introductions and conclusions.
    • use descriptions of an author's craft as evidence.
    • edit their literary essays for writing conventions.
    • parent editors will edit students pieces on Wednesday, 4/5.

    Students will then write a second literary essay. During this part of the unit students will:

    • notice similarities and differences between texts and categorize their observations into patterns or ideas, in preparation to write a compare-and-contrast essay. 
    • look at similar themes or characters across texts, and name how the texts approach the themes differently or how the characters are similar and different.
    • draw on all they know about essay writing as they continue to draft and revise their essays.
    • elaborate on their supporting ideas to make sure they have developed their essay with enough evidence for their claim. 
    • edit their writing pieces for written conventions.
    • publish their final piece.

    They will have their second literary essay edited by our team of parent editors on Tuesday, 4/3.