Learn How to Differentiate For
ALL Levels of Writers
✔ You have students who are struggling with writing or are completely disinterested, which has you feeling inadequate.
✔ You have students make the same mistakes over and over again, and it's driving you a little mad.
✔ Differentiating your writing lesson sounds amazing, but you don't have the time or resources to pull it off.
Common Core Standards addressed: RI.1, RI.8, RI.10, W.1
I love Google Docs. I use them to create assignments to share with my students. It’s quick and easy for them to access these docs (I e-mail them a link, or use a link shortener and write the link on the board). For this lesson, I shared a simple Pro/Con table like this one.
Don’t have devices for each student? Make this a center activity, or print an article from NewsELA for free!
We’ve been writing opinion paragraphs during our Reading block to get us ready for the formal opinion essay we have coming up during our Writing block. Because I’m teaching RI.8, which addresses how authors provide evidence and reasons to support their claims in informational text, this was a perfect opportunity to practice multiple standards in one shot.
We all logged into NewsELA, so an awesome section I found where you can bring up every PRO/CON article. To find this section, either enter “PRO/CON” into the search box, or use this direct link: https://newsela.com/?needle=PRO%2FCON
I chose one of the articles and modeled what I wanted students to do, while they did the same on their computers. One of the great things about NewsELA is that you can highlight the text. First we identified the question, which was easy because it was at the top of the article.
Next, we read through the text and highlighted all of the good reasons and evidence for Yes (Pro) green and No (Con) red. We then copy & pasted the information into the correct column of our Google Doc. We added quotes around this text and a sentence starter so that we were correctly quoting the text instead of just copying (plagiarizing).
Lastly, we used the information we gathered to formulate an opinion. We wrote a claim that answered the question and gave our opinion, explained in our own words, and used 2-3 pieces of text-based evidence from the article to support our claim. The following samples are from 5th grade students: