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Sherry TCSS’11

UPAGES - Unit Plan Genre Study
To  gain  a  flexible  sense  of  the  possible  structure(s)  and  content(s)  of  unit  plans   Big  Question:  What  are  the  characteristics  of  a  good  unit  plan?    

“There’s   more   than   one   way   to   skin   a   cat.”   Formulas   often   oversimplify   because   they   don’t   allow   for   the   specificity   of   particular   students   and   contexts.   Looking   at   several   (different)   examples   can   give   you   a   more   flexible   sense   of   how   something   works   in   various   situations.   It’s   like   criss-­‐crossing   a   landscape  in  order  to  get  a  sense  of  the  terrain,  rather  than  always  taking  the  same   path.  By  looking  in  depth  at  several  different  unit  plans,  you  will  have  a  better  sense   of  possibilities  for  this  genre,  or  type  of  composition.  

1. Look  at  five  sample  unit  plans  on  the  website  below:     Peter  Smagorinsky’s  Virtual  Library  of  Instructional  Units:   Choose  three  plans  that  seem  both  high-­‐quality  and  significantly  different  to  you.   2. Why  did  you  choose  these  three?     3. Of  the  three  unit  plans,  which  do  you  like  the  best?  Why?     4. Pick  one  of  the  unit  plans  and  tell  what  you  would  change  or  add  and  why.     5. What  structural  characteristics  do  all  three  have  in  common?  How  are  they  different?     6. What  accounts  for  these  similarities?  Differences?     7. Develop  a  list  of  criteria  you  would  use  to  evaluate  the  structure  of  unit  plans;  for  example,  in  a   category  called  “Organization,”  you  might  list  “Coherence”  to  suggest  that  the  lessons  should   work  together  towards  common  goal(s).     8. Looking  at  the  three  plans  you  chose,  what  attitudes  does  each  imply  about:    
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What  constitutes  the  curriculum  of  English  Language  Arts?     What  makes  good  instructional  practices  in  English  Language  Arts?     What  English  Language  Arts  students  are/should  be  capable  of?    

9. What  do  you  notice  as  you  compare  the  attitudes  represented  in  these  three  plans?     10. With  which  (if  any)  of  the  implied  attitudes  in  these  plans  do  you  agree/disagree  and  why?