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

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

The five features of effective writing
The five Features of Effective Writing — focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions — are a valuable tool for understanding good writing and organizing your writing instruction. By teaching these features, you can help your students become more effective writers in any genre, at any level, and make your writing instruction easier to manage at the same time. This series of articles, written with the support of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, will show you how.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Writing exemplars (high school)
Samples of varying levels of performance on different types of writing assignments by high school students, with comments based on the five Features of Effective Writing: focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions.
Format: tutorial
About the five features of effective writing
An explanation of the "Five Features of Effective Writing" model (focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions) with links to detailed articles, lesson plans, and exemplars of student writing.
Format: bibliography/help
Examining effective openers and closures in writings
Students will listen to a reading of Dr. Seuss' and Jack Prelutsky's Hooray for Difendoofer Day! Students will then work cooperatively to edit one another's rough drafts of analytical essay, focusing on openers and closures.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Heather Bower and Michele Hicks.
Focus
In The five features of effective writing, page 2
Focus, the first Feature of Effective Writing, is the "so what?" in a piece of writing. This article will help you teach students to stay on topic.
Format: article
By Kathleen Cali.
Teaching voice
This lesson helps students to develop an effective voice by selecting words that are clear, concrete, and exact. Exercises are based on model sentences from world literature selections.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Pamela Beal.
Ongoing assessment strategies for writing
Making final assessment easier by helping students improve the quality of their writing along the way.
By Sherri Phillips Merrit.
Lesson plans for teaching focus
A collection of LEARN NC's lesson plans for teaching focus, the first of the five features of effective writing.
Format: bibliography/help
Highlighting revisions, glossing changes
By highlighting their revisions and explaining (i.e.,glossing) the changes they have made to a draft of their work, students will not only become more proficient writers but will also become more conscious of the process of revision and thus more reflective writers. Further, teachers will find it easier to monitor and evaluate student revisions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Peter Bobbe.
Topics in English Language Arts Education
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 1.2
Resources Specific to English Writing Instruction Teaching the Writing...
Format: article/teacher's guide
Teaching the features of effective writing
In The five features of effective writing, page 1
By organizing your instruction around focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions, you can help students become more effective writers and make your own job easier.
Format: article/online course
By Kim Bowen and Kathleen Cali.
Bubble gum rubric scoring
This lesson is intended to help fourth grade students more clearly understand rubrics that are used for the writing assessments in North Carolina.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 English Language Arts)
By Becky Donatelli.
Lesson plans for teaching organization
A collection of LEARN NC's lesson plans for teaching organization, the second of the five features of effective writing.
Format: bibliography/help
Lesson plans for teaching style
A collection of LEARN NC's lesson plans for teaching style, the fourth of the five features of effective writing.
Format: bibliography/help
Persuasive writing: A classroom model
In Arts of persuasion, page 4
A plan for modeling persuasive writing with middle school students, using homework as the topic.
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson.
Organization
In The five features of effective writing, page 3
Organization, the second Feature of Effective Writing, should be addressed after a writer has established a focus and will help strengthen that focus.
By Kathleen Cali.
Making patterns make sense
Students will analyze organizational patterns in analytical writing by reading, Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Students will then apply these patterns to their own writing by creating children's books about success.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–10 English Language Arts)
By Heather Bower.
Lesson plans for teaching conventions
A collection of LEARN NC's lesson plans for teaching conventions, the fifth of the five features of effective writing.
Format: bibliography/help
Life history slide show
Students will use photos to create a slide show of their life. They will plan a presentation based on significant episodes of their life and describe their personal experiences in writing.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–9 English Language Arts)
By Mary Lou Faircloth.
One, two, three... go Poe!
In this lesson, students will be able to compare and contrast three short stories they have read by Edgar Allan Poe. The assignment will be divided into three parts: (1) They will have read and discussed or completed other classroom activities on each of the three stories. (2) They will work in small groups to brainstorm and create comparison/contrast charts that will be shared with the class. (3) Students will create their own graphic organizers based on the ideas shared in step two and then create a draft and final paper.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–11 English Language Arts)
By Janie Peak.