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Written by: Anne Peters,
Lesson title: Put Voice in your writing
Time: 60 min. / Days: 2
Content Area: Language Arts
Grade: Fourth

  • 4.8(A) identify characteristics that allow members within a species to survive and reproduce;
  • 4.8(B) compare adaptive characteristics of various species;
  • 4.8(C) identify the kinds of species that lived in the past and compare them to existing species.
  • 4.9(A) distinguish between inherited traits and learned characteristics;
  • 4.9(B) identify and provide examples of inherited traits and learned characteristics.
Language Arts
  • 4.15(C) write to inform such as to explain, describe, report, and narrate (4-8)
  • 4.15(E) exhibit an identifiable voice in personal narratives and in stories (4-5)
  • 4.15(F) choose the appropriate form for his/her own purpose for writing, including journals, letters, reviews, poems, narratives, and instructions (4-5).
  • 4.19(A) generate ideas and plans for writing by using such prewriting strategies as brainstorming, graphic organizers, notes, and logs (4-8);
  • 4.19(B) develop drafts by categorizing ideas, organizing them into paragraphs, and blending paragraphs within larger units of text (4-8);
  • 4.19(C) revise selected drafts by adding, elaborating, deleting, combining, and rearranging text (4-8)
  • 4.19(D) revise drafts for coherence, progression, and logical support of ideas (4-8)
  • 4.19(E) edit drafts for specific purposes such as to ensure standard usage, varied sentence structure, and appropriate word choice (4-8)
  • 4.19(F) use available technology to support aspects of creating, revising, editing, and publishing texts (4-8);
  • 4.20(B) respond in constructive ways to others' writings (4-8);
  • 4.20(C) evaluate how well his/her own writing achieves its purposes (4-8);
  • 4.21(B) organize prior knowledge about a topic in a variety of ways such as by producing a graphic organizer (4-8);
  • 4.21(C) take notes from relevant and authoritative sources such as guest speakers, periodicals, and on-line searches (4-8);
  • 4.21(D) summarize and organize ideas gained from multiple sources in useful ways such as outlines, conceptual maps, learning logs, and timelines (4-8);
  • 4.21(E) present information in various forms using available technology (4-8);
Marzano Strategies
  • Summarizing and Note Taking
  • Interactive Teaching and Learning
BigSix Elements
  • Task Definition
  • Information Seeking Strategies
  • Location and Access
  • Use of Information
  • Synthesis
Paper, note cards

I am the dog, I am the cat by: Donald Hall Library books and reference resources about animals. Library data bases Nettrekker (search engine)

Read: I am the Dog, I am the Cat by: Donald Hall to whole group. Have students discuss the "voice" they hear in this book. Pass out picture books to students. Using Think-Pair-Share have students mark passages that are good examples of voice - share these with the big group.

Have students write their own papers using format similar to I am the Dog, I am the Cat. Working in pairs, the students will pick a list of animals on which to do research, each student picking a different animal. Their research should contain facts about the animals; characteristics for their particular species with emphasis on their survival and adaptations. The students will use their list of characteristics (the result of their research) in a written comparision of the different animals. The pairs will then share their written comparisions with the entire group in order to find and discuss the presence of voice in their papers.

Once the students have worked through this process, this can become a writing center in their classroom where many other topics can be researched and written about, either in science, social studies or language arts. The large group discussion at the end would be replaced teacher comments. The basic framework of this center could be used to emphasize other traits from the 6 Traits as well.

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