K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • recognize effective openings and insightful closures in a work.
  • edit a peer’s paper using prescribed criteria for effective openings, content, mechanics, and closures.
  • work cooperatively with peers.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

55 Minutes



Students have prepared a rough draft of an analytical writing and brought the writing to class.



  1. The teacher has assigned a piece of analytical writing. Students have prepared a rough draft to bring in to class.
  2. The teacher will read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky to the class.
  3. The teacher will ask for students’ input concerning the reading. The teacher will guide the students to discovering that the story’s introduction and closing are distinct using the following statements and questions:
    • Describe your school.
    • Describe Diffendoofer School.
    • How did the introduction bias your opinion of the school?
    • How did the conclusion influence your opinion of the school?

Guided Practice

  1. The teacher will begin compiling a list of qualities of effective openings on the board. Students will write the following qualities down to serve as a scoring guide later as they participate in peer editing.
    • Have a “hook” that grabs the reader’s interest.
    • Provide a strong thesis.
    • Do NOT reveal everything in the opening.
  2. Students will add additional qualities of effective openings.
  3. The teacher will begin compiling a list of qualities insightful closures.
    • Do NOT provide any new information!
    • Do NOT repeat yourself!
    • Provide fresh insights.
  4. Students will add additional qualities of insightful closures.

Independent Practice

  1. Students will work cooperatively in groups of three (3) to peer edit one another’s papers. Students will use the compiled items as their checklist as a basis of review.
  2. Students will review the analytical writing for an effective opening, substantive content, correct mechanics, and an insightful closing.


  1. Students will select a paper from their group that best exemplifies an effective opening, substantive content, correct mechanics, and an insightful closure.
  2. Students will share the best paper from their group with the class.
  3. Students will provide one strength and one improvement for each paper after it has been presented.


Students will include a checklist and written comments from an evaluator with their final draft.

Students will receive credit on their final copy for providing meaningful feedback.

Supplemental information


This lesson was created as part of the NCDPI Writing Lessons for Writing Features Workshop. (Style and Convention)

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 9-10.W.2.1 Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas,...
          • 9-10.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
          • 9-10.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 10

  • Goal 4: The learner will critically interpret and evaluate experiences, literature, language, and ideas.
    • Objective 4.03: Analyze the ideas of others by identifying the ways in which writers:
      • introduce and develop a main idea.
      • choose and incorporate significant, supporting, relevant details.
      • relate the structure/organization to the ideas.
      • use effective word choice as a basis for coherence.
      • achieve a sense of completeness and closure.
    • Objective 4.04: Evaluate the information, explanations, or ideas of others by:
      • identifying clear, reasonable criteria for evaluation.
      • applying those criteria using reasoning and substantiation.
  • Goal 6: The learner will apply conventions of grammar and language usage.
    • Objective 6.01: Demonstrate an understanding of conventional written and spoken expression by:
      • employing varying sentence structures (e.g., inversion, introductory phrases) and sentence types (e.g., simple, compound, complex, compound-complex).
      • analyzing authors' choice of words, sentence structure, and use of language.
      • using word recognition strategies to understand vocabulary and exact word choice (Greek, Latin roots and affixes, analogies, idioms, denotation, connotation).
      • examining textual and classroom language for elements such as idioms, denotation, and connotation to apply effectively in own writing/speaking.
      • using correct form/format for essays, business letters, research papers, bibliographies.
      • using language effectively to create mood and tone.