Georgia Common Core Coach, CCGPS Edition, Composition, Level II


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Composition exercises support students in constructing more complex, sophisticated writing, as required by the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.
Get a comprehensive review of both the writing process and research process, in entirety. Easy-to-follow lessons focus on specific writing types that are outlined in the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. During this program students will be integrating different sources into research papers based on a prompt.

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Georgia Common Core Coach, CCGPS Edition, Composition, Level II

  1. 1. This book is printed on paper containinga minimum of 10% post-consumer waste.www.triumphlearning.comPhone: (800) 338-6519 • Fax: (866) 805-5723 • E-mail: customerservice@triumphlearning.comCommonCoreCoachforCompositionIICommonCoreCoachCommonCoreCoachDevelopedExclusivelyfortheCCGPSYourInstructionalAnchor!ISBN-13: 978-1-62362-056-19 7 8 1 6 2 3 6 2 0 5 6 19 0 0 0 0GEORGIAGEORGIAT145GACCGPSEditionIIforCompositionFirst Edition
  2. 2.         H SGeorgia Common Core Coach for Composition II, First Edition T145GA ISBN-13: 978-1-62362-056-1Cover Image Credit: © Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesTriumph Learning®136 Madison Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10016 © 2014 Triumph Learning, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording orotherwise, without written permission from the publisher.Printed in the United States of America.  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers are the sole owners and developers of the CommonCore State Standards, © Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.CommonCoreCoachFirst EditionGEORGIAforCompositionIICC13_ELA_L2C_FM_SE 1 5/8/13 9:39 AM
  3. 3. Duplicatinganypartofthisbookisprohibitedbylaw.©2014TriumphLearning,LLC3ContentsUnit 1 — How to WriteLesson 1: The Writing Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Brainstorm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Draft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Revise. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18Edit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Publish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Lesson 2: The Research Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Generate Research Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Develop a Research Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32Use Search Techniques. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34Types of Sources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36Evaluate and Compare Sources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44Take Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47Cite Sources and Avoid Plagiarism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53Unit 2 — Writing for Different PurposesLesson 3: Writing Responses to Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57Lesson 4: Writing Informative Texts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75Lesson 5: Writing Arguments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91Lesson 6: Writing Narratives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107Grammar and Mechanics Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149Common CoreGeorgia PerformanceStandards (GPS)W.11–12.1.d,W.11–12.2.b,W.11–12.2.e,W.11–12.3.d,W.11–12.4,W.11–12.5,W.11–12.6,W.11–12.10,SL.11–12.1, L.11–12.3.aW.11–12.2.b,W.11–12.7,W.11–12.8,W.11–12.10,SL.11–12.1, L.11–12.2W.11–12.1.c,W.11–12.2.c,W.11–12.9.a–b,W.11–12.10,SL.11–12.1, L.11–12.3.aW.11–12.2.a–e,W.11–12.10,SL.11–12.1, L.11–12.2.a,L.11–12.6W.11–12.1.a–e,W.11–12.2.f,W.11–12.10, SL.11–12.1,L.11–12.2.b, L.11–12.5.aW.11–12.3.a–e,W.11–12.10,SL.11–12.1, L.11–12.1CC13_ELA_L2C_FM_SE 3 5/8/13 9:39 AM
  4. 4. When you read someone else’s writing,you are either pulled into the writing oryou read it without a lot of interest, maybeeven stopping before the text is finished.Why? What makes a piece of writingcompelling enough that you want to keepreading? What do strong writers do to maketheir writing come alive?This unit will walk you through each step ofthe writing process. It will define the steps andprovide tips and strategies to help you executethem more efficiently. You will also examine anexample of a student’s writing process. As youread the student’s work, you will develop yourown written response to an assigned prompt.As you learn techniques for strengthening yourstyle and language, your writing will becomemore effective.Once you have completed this unit, youshould have a clear understanding of how toturn your ideas into a strong piece of work,ready to be published.Lesson1The WritingProcessLesson 1  •  The Writing Process 5CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 5 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  5. 5. What Is the Writing Process?Writing is an effective way for you to share your ideas and knowledge about atopic or text. The challenge writers face is how to convey their ideas in a focused,sophisticated manner so a reader will understand those ideas. A well-written piecetakes planning, forethought, and organization before the actual writing begins.As you look at a writing assignment for the first time, you may not know whereto begin. You may wonder how you are going to translate all of your ideas intoa cohesive written piece. How will you connect ideas? How will you maintain areader’s interest? How will you ensure you are using correct grammar, spelling,and mechanics?There is a lot to consider when starting a writing project. The best writers breaktheir writing process into smaller, more manageable steps. Each step has differentelements to focus on so the entire project does not get overwhelming. No matterwhat kind of writing you do, allow the following steps to guide you in composing athoughtful and polished written piece.1. BrainstormWhen you brainstorm, write down any initial ideas about anassigned topic. Then, thinking in a more focused way aboutyour audience and purpose, evaluate the ideas and choosethe best topic.2. PlanTo make a plan for your writing, first determinethe thesis statement. Then, in an outline, gather andorganize the support and ideas into a structure thatyou can follow as you write.3. DraftAfter you have a plan in place, develop a draft.The draft will include an introduction, body paragraphs,and a conclusion. After stating a clear and assertive thesis,develop your body paragraphs to elaborate on supportingideas. Then write a conclusion that restates the thesisand gives the reader more to think about.6  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 6 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  6. 6. 4. ReviseWhen you revise, consider how the content, organization, andstyle of your writing work together. Then make changes thatwill improve your composition. At this stage, you can ask apeer to review your work if you would like additional feedback.6. PublishAt the end of the process, share your writing with readers bypublishing it. You may do this in a variety of ways, such asturning in your writing to your teacher, sending it to friends orfamily to read, or posting it online in an official venue.5. EditTo edit your writing, carefully read and correct errors inspelling, punctuation, grammar, and usage. Your finished workshould follow standard English conventions.Writing AssignmentThe following prompt asks you to write a personal narrative. Refer to this promptas you work through the various steps of the writing process.Write a narrative about a favorite memory from childhood. Use descriptivedetails and sensory language to set the scene, introduce the people involved,and tell an entertaining story. Explain why the memory is a favorite, and whatyou learned from the experience.Lesson 1  •  The Writing Process 7CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 7 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  7. 7. BrainstormTypically, you begin the writing process by brainstorming. The prompts yourespond to will vary: you may be asked to make an argument, explain a process, tella story, or write a response to literature. Sometimes, you will have to come up withan idea entirely on your own. In every case, though, you will brainstorm ideas inorder to choose and narrow your topic. When you put effort into this brainstormingstep, you are likely to develop a topic that you can write about successfully.When you brainstorm, you quickly collect ideas about a topic, getting yourthoughts flowing without judging them for quality. Just write down what comes tomind. You can pick and choose the best idea or ideas later. As you brainstorm anarrative, the thoughts you write down might be events in the story, character traits,or details about the setting. All of these parts will be used to construct a completestory later.Take look at how a student brainstormed a topic and supporting ideas for thefollowing prompt.Brainstorm a TopicDifferent topics demand different brainstorming methods—you will need to choosethe method that works best for you. For instance, a graphic organizer works well fora narrative prompt. An informational prompt might simply call for a table.Write about a time you had a rite-of-passage experience. Use descriptive detailsand sensory language to set the scene and introduce the people involved.Explain what events happened, and what you learned as a result.8  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 8 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  8. 8. Here’s how the student brainstormed a topic for her personal narrative.Topic: rite-of-passage experienceEvent: cat died in4th gradeI learned: I felt as if I’dlost a friend; seemeddifferent afterEvent: stayed withMrs. Bagby duringsuperstormI learned: I’m oftenself-centered; enjoyedhelping someone elsefor a changeEvent: went to Camp Sousafor bandI learned: I missed myfamily more than I thought Iwould; improved on thetromboneEvent: started RossElementary SchoolI learned: I could makenew friends; missed oldschoolLesson 1  •  The Writing Process 9CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 9 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  9. 9. Writing AssignmentNow it’s time for you to brainstorm for a response to the personal narrativeprompt on page 7. On a computer or on a separate sheet of paper, use a graphicorganizer, a list, or another method to brainstorm ideas for your writing.Brainstorm Supporting IdeasChoosing a topic is a great starting point, but you still have some work to dobefore you can begin writing. The next step is to brainstorm supporting ideas thatdevelop and explain your topic. Use webs, lists, charts, or outlines, or do somefreewriting—whichever method works best for you.For example, as you brainstorm for the assigned prompt in this lesson, youshould figure out who is involved in the story, list the main events that take place,and roughly describe where the action occurs.Here is how a student used a graphic organizer to brainstorm supporting ideasabout her chosen topic.PROMPT  The prompt asks thestudent “to set the scene andintroduce the people involved.”She begins to do that in herbrainstorming by recordinginformation. Circle the sectionsof the chart that address thispart of the prompt.DETAILS  The details writerscollect when brainstorming willoften be developed throughoutthe writing process. Jot downadditional details the studentmight add to the chart.TOPIC  The prompt asks writers todescribe a rite-of-passage momentand tell what they learned. Whatdid this student learn from thatrite-of-passage moment?Chosen Topic stayed with Mrs. Bagby duringsuperstormWho memy parentsMrs. BagbyWhere my houseMrs. Bagby’s houseWhen during the stormworst part of the stormWhathappenedelectricity went outdidn’t care about coming stormstayed with and talked to Mrs. Bagbystorm got seriousWhy itchanged meI learned that I enjoyed helpingsomeone else.I realized I didn’t need to have TV orInternet all the time.I learned about someone else’s life.10  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 10 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  10. 10. Once you have a strong thesis statement, you can begin organizing. The mostcommon kinds of organization for narratives are chronological, or time-order, andproblem-solution, in which the characters in a story have a clear problem at theoutset that they must solve in order to reach a resolution.This statement doesn’t suggest to the reader what kind of story will follow it. Yourthesis statement should be as specific as possible in order to keep the scope of yourwriting manageable. A strong thesis statement will also keep your readers readingpast the first paragraph, wanting to learn more about what you have to say.Now look at a revised version of the thesis statement, which offers details aboutthe story and indicates its message:PlanWhen you plan your writing, you put the information and details you have gath-ered into an organized structure. An effective organization will make it easier to writea draft, and it will improve your final product.At this point, it is important to develop a thesis to guide you in your planning anddrafting. A thesis statement is a sentence declaring your position on the topic ofyour writing and may contain major supporting ideas. The thesis is usually includedtoward the beginning of a work, giving the audience an idea of what they can expectto read. All of the ideas in a written work should relate to the thesis. In a personalnarrative, the thesis is often an indication of the meaning of the story to the author.In a persuasive piece, the thesis would be a statement of the author’s opinion ona topic along with significant supporting evidence. Although you may adjust yourthesis as you write, you need to come up with a solid working thesis for now.A thesis statement needs to be interesting to the reader. Thesis statements thatare specific, clear, and intelligible usually capture readers’ attention. Take a look atthe following weak thesis statement:The summer my dog died, I learned a lot of important lessons.The summer my dog died in the country, I came to value the ties of loveand friendship that stretch beyond death.Lesson 1  •  The Writing Process 11CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 11 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  11. 11. After deciding on an organizational pattern, develop an outline. A standardoutline, with Roman numerals, letters of the alphabet, numbers, or bullets labelingdifferent levels of ideas, works well for a narrative composition. You could createone section on characters, one on setting, and one on plot. Or you could organizethe outline according to the different stages of the plot. You can also make a lessformal outline, as long as it clearly shows the different parts of your narrative. Themost important thing is that you are able to follow it when you begin drafting.Here is the outline the student used to organize her personal narrative.THESIS  In the thesis statement,the student expresses the mainidea she wants to convey to thereader. What makes this studentsthesis statement interesting? Howis it specific?SUPPORT  In this outline, the stu-dent records notes about the basicideas and supporting details shewill include in her narrative. Howdoes the student denote the majorsupporting ideas she will be writ-ing about? Draw a star next tothese letters or numbers. Howdoes she indicate the details shewill include? Circle these letters ornumbers.I. IntroductionA. Thesis  When I came out of the storm, I was adifferent person.B.  We heard about the storm four days in advance.C.  I didn’t pay attention; I was distracted:1. wanted to watch a new movie2. cross-country team had race coming up3. two papers due at schoolII. SupportA.  My parents prepared for the storm.1. bought batteries, flashlights, food and water2. put sandbags around basement windowsB.  During the storm1. I texted with friends.2. We watched TV coverage.3. Mom saw an explosion.4. Power went out.C.  First response to the storm1. Frustrated when I couldn’t use electricityor Internet2. Dad said we needed to check onMrs. Bagby.D.  We went to see Mrs. Bagby.1. Background on Mrs. Bagby2. We found Mrs. Bagby terrified in the dark.3. I talked to her.4. She asked me to stay.E.  I stayed with Mrs. Bagby.1. Mom brought food.2. We played cards and talked.12  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 12 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  12. 12. Writing AssignmentNow it’s time for you to plan your personal narrative. Using the thesis statementand the supporting details you generated during your brainstorming, organizeyour thoughts on a separate sheet of paper. Use an outline form you arecomfortable with.Write a narrative about a favorite memory from childhood. Use descriptivedetails and sensory language to set the scene, introduce the people involved,and tell an entertaining story. Explain why the memory is a favorite, and whatyou learned from the experience.III. ConclusionA.  Life went back to normal.1. school2. track3. electricityB.  Lessons learned:1. I didn’t feel the same after spending timewith Mrs. Bagby.2. I felt older, ready to help other people more.ORGANIZATION  The student’soutline reflects the organizationalpattern she has chosen for her nar-rative. Consider how the eventsare presented. What pattern doesit look like she is planning to use?Lesson 1  •  The Writing Process 13CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 13 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  13. 13. DraftYou have brainstormed a topic and thesis and gathered your ideas into a writingplan. Now it’s time to turn all that work into sentences and paragraphs in a well-developed draft. The first draft is called a rough draft for a reason. As you write,you’re still thinking, so you will probably make some changes to your outline andeven your thesis.• Your introduction should present the main idea of your composition in anengaging and interesting way. The first sentences of your introduction shouldgrab your readers’ attention and keep them invested in your work. For example,you might open a narrative with a line of dialogue, a shocking event, or a flash-back. An informational piece, on the other hand, might begin with a startlingfact or a quote from an expert on the topic. Remember to include your thesis in the introduction in order to let your readersknow what to expect in your piece. Also consider that, while the introductionmight seem like the most logical place to begin writing, some people find iteasier to develop the body of the composition or narrative first, and then usethose developed ideas to help formulate the best way to write the introduction.• Develop the body of your composition by presenting support in well-constructed paragraphs that focus on a central idea or event and specificdetails connected to that central idea. To support the structure of a personalnarrative, develop characters and events through sensory details, description,and dialogue. Remember that without adequate support, your thesis serves nopurpose, and your writing will not have a proper shape; the story will ultimatelyleave the reader disappointed.• Use your conclusion to wrap up the story and provide your readers with addi-tional thoughts to consider. For example, if you are writing a personal narrative,you might offer final details about an event as well as your own reflections onthe event. In an argument, you should reassert your position and make a finalappeal to the reader to accept your argument.Use transitions such as first, next, however, after, additionally, because, andtherefore to help readers make connections between ideas as they read, bothwithin paragraphs and between them. Transitions help your ideas flow smoothlyand logically.14  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 14 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  14. 14. Here is a draft of the student’s personal narrative about a rite-of-passageexperience. This is a late draft, after the student had time to revise and edit.We heard the first weather forecasts on a Thursday eve-ning in mid-October, almost four days before the storm waspredicted to hit. But I didn’t really pay attention. My mind wasfocused on other things. I really wanted to watch a new movieover the weekend. My cross-country team had an importantrace on Saturday, and I had two papers due for school thefollowing Monday! None of that, however, stopped the storm.Although it only lasted a few days, I came out of the storm adifferent person.By Sunday, I realized the storm was really coming. My par-ents, usually very relaxed people, had bought batteries, flash-lights, candles, and a lot of food. They had even put sandbagsaround all the basement windows.The storm really got going on Monday afternoon. I textedwith my friends while Mom and Dad watched coverage ontelevision. They kept looking outside, especially toward MainStreet. At about eight o’clock, my mom stood in front of thewindow and gasped. A huge explosion lit up the sky. We allstared in shock. It looked like a light show. Then the lights inthe house went out.My first thought was to get online to find out more infor-mation. But our Internet, just like our electricity, was out.Frustrated, I daydreamed about the funny things I could Tweetabout later. Then I heard my dad shout from the other room,“Mrs. Bagby! Simona, come help me with Mrs. Bagby!” Heraced toward the front door.Mrs. Bagby has been our neighbor for a long time. When Iwas young, she always had a piece of candy to give me. But asshe got older, she seemed to become afraid. “Who are youand what are you doing on my porch?” she’d snapped at merecently, even though she had always called me by name. I’dheard her grown children and grandchildren describe her as“stubborn and difficult.” Now Dad wanted us to go see her inthe middle of a terrible storm.When we entered Mrs. Bagby’s house, I did not find a stub-born and difficult woman. I found a terrified one. Mrs. Bagbysat wide-eyed and shaking in a rocking chair in her livingroom. The room was dark—no candles, no flashlight. I lookedtoward Dad, and he nodded at me. Carrying my flashlight, Imoved closer to her. Finally, I leaned down and put my hand onher shoulder.Introduction  The studentsets up the situation of the stormin an intriguing way in the firstparagraph. Underline the wordsthat tell you her focus.ORGANIZATION  In paragraph 5,the student provides importantbackground information for thereader. Draw two lines under thesentence that connects the back-ground information with thepresent situation.DETAILS  The student developsthe events in the narrative throughdescription and dialogue. Inparagraph 6, she describes Mrs.Bagby’s condition when she findsher. Draw boxes around thedescriptive details that paint apicture of the situation.central IDEA  Within a cohe-sive paragraph, all the supportingsentences work together tostrengthen the central idea orrelate to a sequence of events.What is the central idea of para-graph 2? Circle the sentence thattells you.Lesson 1  •  The Writing Process 15CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 15 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  15. 15. “Mrs. Bagby, it’s me, Simona. I live next door, remem-ber?” I tried to speak as gently as I could.Slowly she raised her head and looked at me. I could seetears sitting at the very edges of her eyes. Both her fists wereclenched around the edge of a frayed blanket. She smiledweakly and grabbed my hand.“Please stay with me, Simona. I am so afraid.”For three days, I lived with Mrs. Bagby. My parents tried toconvince her to stay at our house, but she was too nervous toleave. Her relatives were unable to get to her because of closedroads and airports. Several times a day, my mom brought overmeals. Most of the time, though, it was just Mrs. Bagby and me.We played cards when it was light out. Mrs. Bagby took a lot ofnaps in her chair. And we talked—a lot. Mrs. Bagby told meabout serving as a nurse during World War II. I told her aboutmy cross-country team and my dream of becoming a socialworker when I grow up.By the following week, I was back at school and runningwith my team again. We had electricity, fresh food, and accessto the Internet. After the storm was over, my life seemed to goback to normal on the outside, but I did not feel like the sameperson. The experience of living with Mrs. Bagby for thosedays—of seeing her fear and sharing her life—had changed me.I no longer felt like Simona, just another teenager. Instead, I wasSimona, a young adult ready to go into the world and make adifference for the sake of other people—people like Mrs. Bagby.CONCLUSION  In the conclusion,the student reflects on her experi-ence and what she has learnedfrom it by contrasting what washappening in the real world withwhat was happening inside herhead. Underline the sentence thatshows when the student movesfrom external experiences tointernal ones.Write a narrative about a favorite memory from childhood. Use descriptivedetails and sensory language to set the scene, introduce the people involved,and tell an entertaining story. Explain why the memory is a favorite, anddescribe what you learned from the experience.Writing AssignmentNow it’s your turn. Write a draft of your personal narrative on a computer or on aseparate sheet of paper.TRANSITIONS  In paragraph 10,the student uses transitionalphrases to show the sequence ofevents over three days. Draw starsbeside the transitional phrases inthe paragraph.16  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 16 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  16. 16. Formal Style and Objective ToneWhen you are writing, your audience and purpose influence the content of yourtext. You are frequently asking yourself if your readers will understand what you aresaying and whether you are saying it as well as possible in order to reach youroverall goal.Audience and purpose also affect the style and tone you use in writing. Forexample, you know the difference between the language you use in an e-mail to afriend and the language you might use in a school assignment. The first usesinformal language; the language in the latter is formal. When you are writing foracademic and work purposes, use formal language, which avoids slang andnonstandard grammar. Maintain an objective tone, as well, which is straightforward,impersonal, and unbiased. The only exception would be, for instance, when you aredeveloping dialogue in a narrative. In those cases, you may use informal language.The student has used a formal style and objective tone in the following excerptfrom her personal narrative. If she were using an informal style, how might shereword the second sentence?By Sunday, I realized the storm was really coming. My parents, usually veryrelaxed people, had bought batteries, flashlights, candles, and a lot of food.They had even put sandbags around all the basement windows.Read the sentences below. Rewrite each sentence so that it uses the appropriateformal style and tone for writing in a school setting.1. That experience was, like, so life-changing, it was amazing. 2. I couldn’t stand my next-door neighbor because he was just so, so weird. Try ItLesson 1  •  The Writing Process 17CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 17 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  17. 17. ReviseWhen you revise your draft, you improve its content, organization, and style.Revising is more than correcting simple mistakes—you will do that in the editingstage. Revision can involve substantial changes that add insight to your draft, and youmay adjust your content to fulfill your purpose for writing. Many writers go throughseveral rounds of revision before they begin editing and publishing their work.Look at the types of sentences you have used in your composition. Thinkabout the ways all the sentences in a paragraph work together. Do they all soundthe same? You should always provide sentence variety for your readers by mixingsimple, compound, and complex sentences. Vary the way you begin sentences, aswell. They should not all begin with simple subjects. You might begin sentences withtransitions, prepositional phrases, or dependent clauses. Use short sentences whenyou want to convey an idea forcefully or summarize a complicated idea. Use longersentences to provide more information and complex ideas.Precise Language and Concrete DetailsVague or general language can keep readers from understanding—or envision-ing—what the writer intends. Look for places where you can provide more preciselanguage and concrete details. Replace vague or general terms with descriptiveand sensory details that give life to characters, settings, and events. Use vocabularythat is specific to a subject area or field to make your work more authentic. Provideexplanations to give readers the clearest possible understanding of concepts,processes, or arguments. Here is a sentence from an early version of the mentor text:Mrs. Bagby looked sad and scared.Can you really see or understand Mrs. Bagby’s condition from this sentence?Take a look at the sentence with sensory details and vivid action verbs:I could see tears sitting at the very edges of her eyes. Both her fists wereclenched around the edge of a frayed blanket.As a reader, you suddenly see the frightened, elderly woman in her dark home.Rewrite the following sentence using more precise language.I looked at the sky.Try It18  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 18 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  18. 18. When you revise a draft, ask yourself the following questions:• Are my tone and level of formality appropriate for my audience and purpose?• Does my descriptive language create a clear, vivid picture?• Have I used precise verbs, nouns, and adjectives?• Have I varied my sentences by adjusting how they begin and by using simple,compound, and complex sentences?• Have I used devices such as parallelism, repetition, and figurative language togive certain parts of my composition a greater impact?• Would changing the point of view of the piece be helpful?• Are there places where I should delete, add, or rearrange material?• What additional supporting details do I need to include?• Where might I include transitional words, phrases, andsentences to help connect my ideas?First DraftI lived with Mrs. Bagby for three days. My parents triedto convince her to stay at our house. She was too nervousto leave. Her relatives were unable to get to her becauseof closed roads and closed airports. Several times a day, Mabrought over munchies for us to chow on. Most of the time,though, it was just Mrs. Bagby and me. We played cards whenit was light out. Mrs. Bagby took a lot of naps in her chair. Andwe talked—a lot. Mrs. Bagby talked about her life in the past.I told her about my cross-country team. I told her my ideasabout becoming a social worker.SENTENCE STRUCTURE Varying the sentence structurehelps to connect ideas and keepreaders from getting bored. Youcan do this by starting sentencesin different ways or by combiningsentences. Underline the sentencesin the student’s composition youwould revise.FORMAL STYLE  Compositionswritten for school assignmentsneed to use a formal writingstyle. Circle the sentence that istoo casual for this type of writing.PRECISE LANGUAGE Authors use precise languageand concrete details to maketheir writing come alive for read-ers. What words or phrases mightthe student use to better conveyher conversation with Mrs. Bagby?Lesson 1  •  The Writing Process 19CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 19 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  19. 19. Revised DraftFor three days, I lived with Mrs. Bagby. My parents triedto convince her to stay at our house, but she was too ner-vous to leave. Her relatives were unable to get to her becauseof closed roads and airports. Several times a day, my mombrought over meals. Most of the time, though, it was justMrs. Bagby and me. We played cards when it was light out.Mrs. Bagby took a lot of naps in her chair. And we talked—alot. Mrs. Bagby told me about serving as a nurse during WorldWar II. I told her about my cross-country team and my dreamof becoming a social worker when I grow up.SENTENCE STRUCTURE  Thewriter adjusted the first sentenceof the paragraph by putting theintroductory phrase “For threedays” at the beginning so the firstfew sentences don’t all begin withthe subject. Underline anotherchange in sentence structure.FORMAL style  To make thestyle more formal and objective,the student replaced “Ma” with“my mom.” Circle another phrasethat was changed to be moreformal.PRECISE LANGUAGE  Noticethat the student included a moredetailed description of whatMrs. Bagby discusses with her.Draw a box around these precisedetails about Mrs. Bagby’s life.Revise a DraftThe following paragraph did not make it into the final draft of the student’spersonal narrative. Read the paragraph below and then revise it on a separatesheet of paper.My parents had to rescue me after two hours. I remembered a storm fromabout five years earlier. I totally freaked out during that storm. I crawledinto my closet. I cried. I took my stuffed animals and books into the closet.I had some real big issue-type things with storms. I wasn’t one bit excitedabout another one.Try It20  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 20 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  20. 20. Having a peer read your writing can be a great help when you are revising yourwork. Conducting a peer review gives you the opportunity to work with a classmateto evaluate and improve your draft. Focus on providing your peer with constructivefeedback. When you are critiquing someone else’s writing, you are also developingyour own writing skills, so be sure to take the time to analyze carefully.As you critique your classmate’s work, first explain the strengths of their writing.For example, “I think this sentence is strong because it communicates the maincharacter’s personality so clearly.”Then identify specific weak areas and suggest solutions. Never say, “This partjust isn’t very clear to me. I got confused.” Instead, ask specific questions that yourclassmate can answer. For example, “I don’t understand what you mean by signifi-cant experience. What was the experience exactly? Why was it important? Can yourevise to clarify that idea?” You could also ask questions about the writing choicesyour classmate made, such as the processes they used to choose a topic anddevelop an outline and a draft.Here are some questions that you can ask as you review a peer’s writing:• What are the strengths and weaknesses of the introduction? What effect doesit have on me as a reader? Can I identify the main idea or thesis?• Does each body paragraph support the main idea or thesis?• Does each body paragraph include strong supporting or descriptive details?• Does the writer connect ideas in the composition fluidly?• Does the conclusion summarize the main ideas and offer something toconsider?• Are the language and writing style appropriate for the audience and purpose?Writing AssignmentExchange your draft with a peer and use the peer review forms providedby your teacher to review each other’s work. Remember to be thoughtful andconstructive in your comments, and take a few minutes to discuss your feedbackwith your classmate.Once you are finished with your peer review, it’s time to revise your draft.Read through your draft with a critical eye and make changes using the revisionchecklist your teacher has provided or one of your own. Be sure to incorporateany helpful comments or suggestions from your peer review. You may composeyour revised draft on a computer or a separate sheet of paper.Write a narrative about a favorite memory from childhood. Use descriptivedetails and sensory language to set the scene, introduce the people involved,and tell an entertaining story. Explain why the memory is a favorite, and whatyou learned from the experience.Lesson 1  •  The Writing Process 21CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 21 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  21. 21. EditWhen you edit your writing, you read it carefully to be sure your grammar, spell-ing, punctuation, and capitalization follow all the conventions of standard English.You have probably already developed some of your own strategies for editingyour work. Thoroughness is the most important part of editing, however, so youneed to slow down and look at the composition in several different ways. For exam-ple, you might read through your revision one time to find spelling mistakes, anothertime to check for correct grammar, and a final time to make sure you have punctu-ated and capitalized correctly. If possible, read your text out loud slowly, so that youcan hear grammar mistakes. Or, you can ask someone to read the text to you asyou read along, marking noticeable errors as you see or hear them.Conventions and grammar rules occasionally change over time. For example, inthe past, commas were always used after each item in a series except for the lastitem. (Sheree used her birthday money to buy books, headphones, and movie tick-ets.) Now some style guides allow the final comma, before the conjunction in thelist, to be removed. (Sheree used her birthday money to buy books, headphonesand movie tickets.) Be sure to find out which conventions your teachers prefer, orwhich style guides to refer to for usage rules.Use the following editing marks to correct errors you find. Insert parentheses Insert em dash Close up space# Add space Indent ^ Insert Delete ^ Insert hyphen Transpose Period ,^ Insert comma ^’ Insert apostrophe^“ Insert quotation marks Capitalize Lowercasen Insert en dash New paragraph22  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 22 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  22. 22. We heard the first whether forecasts on a Thursdayevening in midOctober, almost four days before the stormwas predicted to hit. But I didn’t really pay attention. My mind isfocused on other things. Ireally wanted to watch a new movieover the weekend. My cross-country team had an importantrace on Saturday, and I had two papers do for school  thefollowing Monday! None of that, however, stopped the storm.Although only it lasted a few days, I came out of the storm adifferent person.By Sunday, I realized the storm is really coming. My parents,usually very relaxed people, had bought bateries, flashlightscandles, and a lot of food. They had even put sandbags aroundall the basement windowsweather#-wasduet,.SPELLING  The student confusedthe words whether and weather.These two words sound the samebut have different spellings andmeanings. How can the studentmake sure she has spelled theword correctly?HYPHENATION  The studentdid not originally use a hyphen tojoin the prefix mid- with the wordOctober. However, the word didnot look right, so she reviewedthe rules about the use of hy-phens. List some other prefixesthat require hyphens to connectto words.VERB TENSE  The student madean error here in verb tense. Shereread the sentence and realizedshe had used the present-tenseform of the verb to be rather thanthe past-tense form, so shereplaced is with was. Underlinethree other past-tense verbs usedin the draft.This excerpt from a draft of a student’s response shows how the student usedediting marks to make corrections.wasLesson 1  •  The Writing Process 23CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 23 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  23. 23. SyntaxSyntax refers to the way sentences are structured. The English language allowsfor a variety of sentence structures, but they need to follow certain conventions.The four basic types of sentences include:• simple (an independent clause):My mind was focused on other things.• compound (more than one independent clause):My cross-country team had an important race on Saturday, and I had twopapers due for school the following Monday!• complex (one independent clause and at least one dependent clause):When we entered Mrs. Bagby’s house, I did not find a stubborn and difficultwoman.• compound-complex (more than one independent clause and at least onedependent clause):After the storm was over, my life seemed to go back to normal on the outside,but I did not feel like the same person.Make sure you have used correct syntax in your writing. Additionally, it is impor-tant to vary your sentence structure. Using a variety of sentence types helps to keepyour reader from getting bored. One way you can add variety to your sentencetypes is to express related ideas in a single sentence. For example, if you have sev-eral sentences with the same subject or verb, consider combining them.Example: Kaila was interested in pursuing a degree in marine biology. Douglas was interested in pursuing a degree in marine biology. Combined Subject: Both Kaila and Douglas were interested inpursuing degrees in marine biology.Example: Cynthia walked into the library. Cynthia climbed the stairs to her favorite reading room. Combined Verb: Cynthia walked into the library and climbedthe stairs to her favorite reading room.Sentence structure can also link ideas within a composition. As you revise andedit a draft, look carefully for ways to combine or separate sentences so that yourideas are clear. Your composition should show a logical progression of thought.Grammar Review24  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 24 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  24. 24. Writing AssignmentNow it’s time for you to edit your narrative, using the editing checklist yourteacher has provided, or one of your own. You may work either on your computeror on a separate sheet of paper.Revise each set of sentences below into one or two stronger sentences thatshow the connection between ideas as clearly as possible. Remember that youdo not have to make all the sentences long and complicated, but you should usecorrect syntax.1. I had a terrible bike accident. I learned that I was not as indestructible as Ithought. I also learned that I was happier recognizing my limitations. 2. All the things I hoped for were now within reach. Adopting a new puppy waswithin reach. My mom’s desire for a new job was within reach. Also, my future ata good college was within reach. My whole perspective was changed. 3. We drove around the small town of Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln livedthere for 25 years as a lawyer. We visited several of the historical sites. I wantedto learn more about Abraham Lincoln’s early life. I also wanted to read moreabout his presidency. Grammar Review continuedTry ItLesson 1  •  The Writing Process 25CC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 25 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  25. 25. PublishPublishing is the final step in the writing process. At this point, you produce afinal draft for others to read. If your final draft is handwritten, your handwriting mustbe neat and legible.At this point, you can add a title that will grab the reader’s attention. You mayalso want to divide your composition into smaller chunks of text by using subhead-ings to make your writing easier to follow. Many authors add photographs, illustra-tions, maps, or diagrams to a composition to enhance the reader’s understanding ofthe topic.Your teacher may have specific guidelines for submitting your work, such asdouble-spacing the text and using a certain margin width to allow for comments.You may be asked to submit a stapled hard copy of your writing, or to submit a digi-tal copy as an email attachment. Carefully follow your teacher’s or school’s publish-ing guidelines, or you might not get proper credit for your work. In addition to givingyour work to your teacher, consider other ways to share your writing with a wideraudience:• Submit creative writing, such as narratives, to a writing contest for a literarymagazine.• Submit pieces like arguments and informative texts to your school or localnewspaper.• Exchange writing with classmates and discuss both the content and format ofyour completed writing assignment.• Print copies of your writing and distribute them to friends and family.• Read your writing aloud to a librarian or author you know.Technology Suggestions• Post your writing to your class Web site or blog.• Create your own Web site to feature your writing and that of your friends.Provide hyperlinks of art and information related to your topics.• Develop a wiki with classmates on a topic covered in your writing.• Record an online video or podcast in which you and your classmates read anddiscuss a specific type of writing.• Create a video tutorial on writing the type of text you wrote. Use your ownprocess and final text as an example.Writing AssignmentOnce you have finished revising and editing your work, follow your teacher’sinstructions for publishing your final draft. Be sure to follow any formatting andsubmission guidelines your teacher or school may have.26  Lesson 1  •  The Writing ProcessCC13_ELA_L2C_U1_L1_SE 26 5/7/13 2:17 PM
  26. 26. Have you ever been so curious about a person or a place thatyou went online or to a library to get more information? Maybeyou wanted to find out about a musician’s life or look up fun waysto spend time in a faraway city. Your curiosity would lead you toinformative texts that answer your questions. In this lesson, you’lllearn how to write an informative text—from brainstorming andorganizing, drafting and revising, to editing and publishing. As youwork through the lesson, you’ll develop a thesis and learn how toresearch to gather facts and details to support your thesis.WritingInformativeTextsLesson4Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 75CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 75 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  27. 27. What Is an Informative Text?An informative text provides information about a topic. Facts, details, examples,or quotations support the text’s central idea. A biography of Alexander Hamilton,Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, a history of the Roman Empire, The New YorkTimes, NASA’s Web site, your textbooks, an essay on wildflowers, and an articleabout a newly discovered planet are all examples of informative texts. Informativetexts are nonfiction and are based on research from outside sources.Writers of informative texts weave together various pieces of information fromdifferent sources. However, they don’t simply provide information; they also offeranalysis and interpretation. For example, an informative text about Qin Shi Huang’sburial site in China would not only provide information about the archaeological site,but also an interpretation suggesting how and why the site is significant. Even read-ers already familiar with Qin Shi Huang should come away with a new understand-ing of the topic because of the writer’s unique presentation and analysis.In the process of writing an informative text, you will research to learn about anew topic in order to become an expert. You’ll consider what you have learned,draw conclusions, and present your knowledge to readers in a way that allows themto become experts, too. Because of this, you need to keep your audience in mindas you write. If you’re writing about Qin Shi Huang, for example, your readers maynot have any background knowledge of him and you will need to provide it. Con-sider whether it is necessary to provide descriptions, definitions, and explanationsin order for readers to best understand the topic. You will also need to keep in mindwhat level of language, formality, and detail is appropriate for your readers.Regardless of its topic, every informative text should have a compelling intro-duction that provides a thesis for the text, body paragraphs that contain detailssupporting the thesis, and a conclusion. The flowchart on the following pageshows how to present information effectively in an informative text.76  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 76 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  28. 28. IntroductionBegin with a surprising statement, a little-known fact, or anunexpected question to catch your readers’ attention. Thenstate the thesis for the text—the main idea you want to conveyto readers about the topic. The introduction also indicates themost important supporting details you will use.Supporting DetailsEach paragraph in the body of an informative textcontains its own thesis sentence, supported byfacts, details, examples, and quotations from yourresearch. These paragraphs are meant to convincereaders that your thesis is accurate.ConclusionThe conclusion summarizes your main points and offers finalthoughts or information about the topic. It should followlogically from the information you presented in the text. By thetime your readers finish your conclusion, you want them tofeel that you have proven your ideas thoroughly.Writing AssignmentThe following prompt asks you to write an informative text about anarchaeological site. Refer back to this prompt as you brainstorm, plan, draft,revise, and edit your response.The abandoned remains of past civilizations provide information about thepeople and cultures of human history. Think of an archaeological site thatinterests you. Research the site to learn more about it. What is the originalhistory of the site? How and when was it discovered? What does it tell usabout the people who once lived there? Then describe the site and explainits significance.Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 77CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 77 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  29. 29. BrainstormWhen writing an informative text, pay close attention to what the prompt requiresyou to do. Review the writing assignment on the previous page. The prompt clearlydefines the expectations of the assignment: you are going to research an archaeo-logical site, describe it, and explain its significance.The first stage of writing is brainstorming. In this stage, you come up with topicideas and write down your thoughts about the topic. When writing an informativetext that requires research, you should also think about the most important ques-tions you want to answer about your topic. Your readers may have the samequestions. You also want to consider what sources you will need and whatkeywords or phrases you can use in an online or library search.A student was asked to write about the archaeological site of Emperor QinShi Huang’s burial site and what it reveals about the people living at that time.Take a look at the chart the student developed while brainstorming for theinformative piece.IMPORTANT QUESTIONS The student’s questions drive herresearch and writing. Underlineone question you might also useas you brainstorm for your writingprompt in this lesson.KEYWORDS AND PHRASES You will use keywords and phrasesto research your topic. Draw a circlearound the keywords and phrasesthe student brainstormed forher topic.What are the most importantquestions I want to answer?What questions might myreaders want to haveanswered?Who was Qin Shi Huang?When, where, and how wasthe burial site constructed?Why did the emperor havethis kind of burial site? Whatwas the size and expenseof the project? How was itdiscovered? What does it sayabout the people who livedthen? What did they value?Where will I look for sources ofinformation?Internet, books, libraryWhat keywords or phrases willI use to search?Qin Shi HuangQin Shi Huang’s burial sitepeople of ancient Chinaculture of ancient China78  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 78 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  30. 30. After brainstorming questions to guide your research, select print and electronicsources that might contain useful information. Evaluate each source to be sure it isrelevant, reliable, credible, and accurate. Avoid sources that depend too much onpersonal opinion.Once you have solid sources, read and take notes. Continually review the maintopic so that you can eliminate unrelated material. Keep asking yourself questionsabout the topic. Focus on the most important ideas, facts, details, examples, andquotations that answer the main questions about your topic. Photographs and visualdata in charts and graphics can also be valuable. For example, you can include avisual of the archaeological site so readers can see what the site looks like or whereit is located. Be sure you record the sources of the information. You will need thisinformation later for your bibliography or works-cited list.After you have read a good amount of source material and taken notes, thinkabout what you have learned. What ideas have come out of your reading? Use thismaterial to develop a thesis statement, which presents the main argument of youressay. In this case, ask yourself, What have I learned about this archaeological siteand its significance?Below is a list of potential thesis statements the student came up with for herresponse to the prompt about the significance of Qin Shi Huang’s burial site.Possible Thesis StatementsQin Shi Huang’s impressive tomb was guarded by clay warriors,showing a respect for power.The clay soldiers in the terracotta army show how wealthy theempire was.The extravagant burial place for the emperor shows that theculture believed in life after death.Final Thesis StatementThe vast terracotta army guarding the tomb ofEmperor Qin Shi Huang revealed a culturethat revered its powerful leaders and valuedcraftsmanship by those in service to such leaders.Writing AssignmentOn a separate sheet of paper, brainstorm a response to the prompt given earlierin the lesson about archaeological sites. Conduct research to find additionalinformation to use in your essay. Use whichever brainstorming method works bestto help you organize ideas. Then write a thesis statement to guide your response.Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 79CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 79 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  31. 31. PlanAfter brainstorming questions, researching your topic, and developing a thesisstatement, you can organize your ideas and information. Choose an organizationalplan that best presents the ideas you want your readers to understand. Here areseveral organizational patterns that can be used to present informational text.OrganizationalPatternDescription Examplecause-and-effect describes the cause ofan event and explainsits effect or effectsan article in which the authorexplains what happened in NewOrleans in the aftermath (theeffects) of being hit by HurricaneKatrina (the cause)compare-and-contrastexplains how two ormore things or ideasare alike or differentan essay illustrating how thephilosophies of capitalism andcommunism are alike anddifferentchronologicalorderpresents events in theorder in which theyoccurreda biography written in time order,starting with the subject’s birthand ending with his or her deathproblem-and-solutionstates a problem andthen describes asolutionan article describing thedifficulties involved in the study ofcancer and how those issuesmay be overcometopical arranges information insections according topoints that support thethesisan essay describing music stylesas represented in different partsof the worldBased on your organizational plan, develop an outline that shows the differentparts of your essay. If you use a formal outline, list main points next to Romannumerals. Write the topics that form the main points of the composition next to cap-ital letters. Then list details about each topic, denoted by numbers. You can alsowrite a less formal outline that includes headings for each paragraph with a list ofsupporting details on separate lines or beside bullet points.Your structure should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.Each body paragraph should focus on a specific reason that develops your thesis andthe evidence that supports it, including facts, details, examples, or quotations.80  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 80 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  32. 32. Writing AssignmentNow, using your thesis and the information you gathered while researching yourtopic, organize your thoughts for your essay on a separate sheet of paper. Usean outline form you are comfortable with.Here is how the student writing about Qin Shi Huang’s burial site plans toorganize her essay.ORGANIZATION  The studentintends to devote a section to“historical background.” Whichpoint would be most helpful forreaders unfamiliar with thetopic? Explain.SUPPORT  The student lists thesources she plans to use to sup-port her ideas. Draw a star nextto the sources she includes inher outline.DEVELOPMENT  The studentplans to talk about two aspects ofcraftsmanship. Circle these aspects.I. IntroductionBackground information about Qin Shi HuangDiscovery of the terracotta warriorsA. Thesis The vast terracotta army guarding thetomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang revealed a culturethat revered its powerful leaders and valuedcraftsmanship by those in service to such leaders.II. Historical BackgroundA. Thesis  Who Qin Shi Huang was and whathe didB. What the terracotta army was and why itwas builtIII. Reverence for Powerful LeadersA.  military might1. UNESCO quote2. quoteB.  wealth—UNESCO quoteIV. Respect for CraftsmanshipA.  the size of project—UNESCO quoteB.  technical and artistic qualities—UNESCO quoteV. ConclusionA.  restatement of thesisB. final observations connected to the people ofQin Shi Huang’s timeC. final idea to think about: how we bury leaderstodayLesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 81CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 81 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  33. 33. DraftOnce you have organized your ideas and research information, you can draftyour informative text. Your outline and research notes are your roadmap, so refer tothem often. You may want to adjust the organization of your composition as youwrite. It is not unusual to find a better way to organize your materials at this stage.Later, you will revise your draft.Each paragraph of your text must support your thesis. This support comes fromthe facts, definitions, details, quotations, and other information you gathered duringresearch. If you use direct quotes from a source, be sure the wording is accurateand that you set it apart with quotation marks. You can also summarize or para-phrase information from a source, restating the author’s ideas in your own wordswhile maintaining the author’s meaning. Whether you use direct quotes, summaries,or paraphrases, be sure to cite the source.As you draft your informative text, keep your audience in mind. Use appropriatetransitions to connect ideas, and make sure your ideas follow a logical flow. This willhelp readers understand the concepts you present.Read this student’s draft of her response to the prompt about Emperor Qin ShiHuang’s burial site. This is a fairly late draft, after the student had time to reviseand edit. Later in the lesson, we’ll look at earlier versions, so you can see howthe draft reached its current form.Cultural SnapshotQin Shi Huang’s Terracotta ArmyWhen Chinese farmers stumbled across a life-size claywarrior while trying to drill a well in 1974, they had no ideawhat they had discovered. The life-size terracotta figure waspart of a vast army of statues created to honor the life of thefirst Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who reigned over thefirst-ever unified China from 221 to 210 B.C. Archaeologistsinvestigated the site, quickly unearthing three pits with thou-sands of terracotta soldiers and horses. The vast terracottaarmy guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang revealed aculture that revered its powerful leaders and valued craftsman-ship by those in service to such leaders.Introduction  The studentbegins her draft by describing thediscovery of Qin Shi Huang’s burialsite and terracotta army, whichleads to her thesis statement.Underline the thesis statement.82  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 82 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  34. 34. Historical BackgroundQin Shi Huang became the king of the feudal state Qinwhen he was a teenager. By the time he had unified thevarious—often warring—states in China into the ChineseEmpire, he had already chosen a spot for his burial site. Forabout 40 years, until Qin Shi Huang’s death, laborers workedon the burial complex and the terracotta army. The site covered820,000 square feet and included 7,000 warriors, chariots,horses, and 40,000 weapons, such as swords and arrows. Theclay soldiers were designed to escort the Emperor into theafterlife, where he planned to rule eternally.Reverence for Powerful LeadersIn ancient China, an emperor held complete authority. QinShi Huang had united China into a vast empire through hismilitary might, which was reflected in the terracotta figuresthat bore “unique testimony to the military organization inChina at the time” (UNESCO). The pits of terracotta soldiersrepresented the forces that had “triumphed over all otherChinese armies and who were the decisive factor in forming aunited China” ( Honoring an Emperorlike Qin Shi Huang in a worthy manner required great wealth.As of yet, the actual tomb remains closed, but writings sug-gest that it is filled with great treasures, including “replicas ofthe area’s rivers and streams made with mercury flowing to thesea through hills and mountains of bronze. Precious stonessuch as pearls are said to represent the sun, moon, and otherstars” ( The decision to open thetomb rests with the Chinese government. At this time the tech-nology does not exist to excavate the tomb without causingdamage to its contents. In addition, the land around the tombcontains high levels of mercury, which poses a serious healthrisk to humans.BACKGROUND  A fact is a pieceof information presented as accu-rate and true. Circle the facts thestudent includes to help readersunderstand the size of the terra-cotta army.TRANSITIONS  Transitions makeconnections between ideas withinand across sentences and para-graphs. Underline any transitionalwords or phrases in paragraph 3.ORGANIZATION  The studentuses subheadings to help organizethe complex ideas in her writing.How do these subheadings makethe text easier for readers?SUPPORT  The student uses directquotations to support the mainidea of her paragraph. How doesshe cite her sources?Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 83CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 83 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  35. 35. How effectively does the student present facts, details, examples,or quotations?How does the student present the connection between theterracotta army and the culture of the time?How successfully does the student implement an organizationalstructure? Explain.CraftsmanshipThe terracotta army could never have been built withoutthe labor of many talented craftsmen. Work on the site took 40years, and was not complete by the time of the emperor’s death.According to UNESCO, as many as 700,000 people from all overthe empire worked to create the site, which depicted the palaceand the empire modeled to scale. “Automatically triggeredweapons” even guarded the many riches housed at the site.Not only are there a vast number of figures, but each of thelife-size clay warriors is unique, with different facial expres-sions. Although most of the figures have lost their color, it isobvious that their clothing was brightly colored at the time itwas painted. Clearly, the craftsmen who made these figureswere devoted to their work and to their emperor. The UNESCOWeb site explains that the statues’ “exceptional technical andartistic qualities” make them major Chinese artworks.Because powerful leaders were held in such high regard, itmakes sense that the craftsmanship of the emperor’s burial sitewould reflect both majesty and authority. China’s first emperorwas honored in a way unlike any rulers before him, and visitorsto the site today must wonder about the leader who could com-mand such a project. Thousands of years from now, what willpeople think of the way we bury our culture’s leaders?ConsiderSTYLE  The student uses a formalstyle, with objective, precise lan-guage. Suppose she had used amore casual, familiar style. Whateffect would that have?SUPPORT  Photographs, graph-ics, and multimedia are usefulways to enhance and aid compre-hension. Draw a star at pointswhere the student could includea photograph, graphic, or pieceof multimedia if this essay werepublished online.CONCLUSION  A conclusionshould revisit the thesis in a clear,succinct way. Underline therestatement of the thesis state-ment in the conclusion. Whatother information does the studentinclude in the conclusion?84  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 84 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  36. 36. Domain-Specific VocabularyWriters of informative texts often use domain-specific vocabulary, orvocabulary related to a specific subject area. Domain-specific vocabulary is oftenunfamiliar to readers, so be conscious of when you use it. You need to make surethat the meanings of these words are clear to readers.For example, read this sentence about Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s burial site.When archaeologists began exploring the strata, they made a variety of dis-coveries that offered keys to the past.The sentence uses the word strata, which specifically relates to the topic of thetext. Readers who do not understand the word may not be able to comprehend thewriter’s meaning. See what happens in this revision.When archaeologists began exploring the strata, or layers of earth, theymade a variety of discoveries that offered keys to the past.The writer includes a definition of strata so readers can understand how the termis used in the sentence. When you think readers might be confused by terminology,offer definitions or other clues to make a complex topic more comprehensible.Read the sentence below. Circle the domain-specific vocabulary. Look the wordup in a dictionary and rewrite the sentence to include a definition or clarification.Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum symbolized his power in life and his hope for the afterlife. Try ItWriting AssignmentWrite a draft in response to the following prompt. You may compose your drafton a computer or on a separate sheet of paper.The abandoned remains of past civilizations provide information about thepeople and cultures of human history. Think of an archaeological site thatinterests you. Research the site to learn about it. What is the original history ofthe site? How and when was it discovered? What does it tell us about the peo-ple who once lived there? Then describe the site and explain its significance.Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 85CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 85 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  37. 37. ReviseAfter completing a draft, it’s time to revise your informative text. When yourevise, you read your draft, looking for weak spots and ways to strengthen orimprove them. Here are several important considerations:• Be sure you have stated your thesis clearly. If you find that it’s not as clear as itcould be, adjust your thesis so it says exactly what you want it to say and issupported by the information in your essay.• Check that you have provided enough necessary background or context soreaders are not confused.• Review the facts, details, examples, or quotations that you used to supportyour thesis. Are they providing essential support? Eliminate any weak evidenceand replace it with a stronger example. Consider how you have approachedquotations, summaries, and paraphrases. Have you provided source informa-tion when needed?• Review the organization of your draft. Is it arranged clearly? Will readers be ableto follow the logic of your composition? Does each paragraph clearly supportyour thesis? Do your transitions help readers move smoothly from one idea tothe next? At times, you may discover that it is best to combine two paragraphsinto one; at other times, you may need to break up a paragraph. The sameholds true for sentences within paragraphs.• Evaluate your word choice. In an informative text, your style should be formal. Ifyou use technical terminology or domain-specific vocabulary, be sure to definethese terms.• As you read your draft, make notes on the page so you can go back and makerevisions.Take a look at the following paragraphs from the first draft of the essay aboutEmperor Qin Shi Haung’s burial site. Then compare it to the same paragraphsfrom the final draft to see what kinds of changes the student made when sherevised her essay.First DraftIn the long ago times of ancient China, an emperor justheld onto complete and utter authority in a really powerfulway. Qin Shi Huang had united China into a vast empirethrough his military might. That was reflected in the terracottafigures, which bore “unique testimony to the military organi-zation in China at the time” (UNESCO). The pits of terracottasoldiers represented the forces that had “triumphed over allother Chinese armies and who were the decisive factor inLANGUAGE  The language inthe first sentence is awkward andrepetitive, and the style is tooinformal for the task. Circle thewords and phrases that are repeti-tive or reflect a casual style.86  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 86 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  38. 38. forming a united China” ( Honoringan Emperor like Qin Shi Huang took a bunch of wealth, ifyou wanted to do it in the right way. It was not a good idea tospend those kinds of resources on one human being. Theactual tomb remains closed. Writings suggest that it is filledwith great treasures, including “replicas of the area’s riversand streams made with mercury flowing to the sea throughhills and mountains of bronze. Precious stones such aspearls are said to represent the sun, moon, and other stars”( The great effort and cost of theterracotta were borne by a culture devoted to its mighty leaders.Revised DraftIn ancient China, an emperor held complete authority.Qin Shi Huang had united China into a vast empire throughhis military might, which was reflected in the terracotta figuresthat bore “unique testimony to the military organization inChina at the time” (UNESCO). The pits of terracotta soldiersrepresented the forces that had “triumphed over all otherChinese armies and who were the decisive factor in forming aunited China” ( Honoring an Emperorlike Qin Shi Huang in a worthy manner required great wealth.As of yet, the actual tomb remains closed, but writings sug-gest that it is filled with great treasures, including “replicas ofthe area’s rivers and streams made with mercury flowing to thesea through hills and mountains of bronze. Precious stones suchas pearls are said to represent the sun, moon, and other stars”( The decision to open the tomb restswith the Chinese government. At this time the technology doesnot exist to excavate the tomb without causing damage to itscontents. In addition, the land around the tomb contains highlevels of mercury, which poses a serious health risk to humans.LANGUAGE  Why did thestudent revise and adjust thelanguage in the first sentenceof the revised draft?TRANSITIONS  Where could thestudent add a transition to make aclearer connection between ideas?SUPPORT  The student hasincluded an irrelevant opinion inthis paragraph. Underline the sen-tence containing this opinion.SUPPORT  The student deletedthe sentence that expressed anopinion. Why delete that type ofsentence?TRANSITIONS  Notice how thestudent used transitions to joinsentences and connect ideas.Circle two transitions.Writing AssignmentA peer review is an opportunity to get a different perspective on your writing.Exchange your current draft with a classmate. Read your partner’s draft andmake suggestions to improve it, using what you’ve learned so far as a guide.Then revise your draft, either on a separate sheet of paper or on the computer.As you revise, consider your partner’s comments and add any improvements ofyour own. Then use a revision checklist to double-check that you have improvedyour writing as much as possible.Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 87CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 87 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  39. 39. Edit and PublishIn the editing stage of writing, you verify that your spelling, grammar, punctua-tion, and sentence structure are correct. You may need to read through your textseveral times to make sure you have correctly applied the conventions of the Englishlanguage. Keep a dictionary or grammar textbook on hand to look up the answersto questions about conventions that come up as you revise.Reading aloud can be an effective way to edit carefully. When you read a textaloud, you will often hear errors that you would miss if you were reading silently. Lis-ten for awkward phrasing and inconsistencies in style and logic.Since you have used research sources in your informative text, you will also needto double-check that all your quotations and sources have been cited correctly.After you make final changes to your informative text, you are ready to publishyour work. Print a clean copy and turn it in to your teacher. You may also want toshare your work with friends and family members. Ask them to read your work andtell what they learned about the topic of your informative text.Look at this excerpt from a draft of the student’s response to the prompt aboutEmperor Qin Shi Huang’s burial site. The student has used proofreading marks toedit her response.The terracotta army could never has been built withoutthe labor of many talented craftsman. Work on the site took40 years, and was not complete by the time of the emperor’sdeath. According to UNESCO, as many as 700,000 people fromall over the empire worked to create the site, which depicted thepalace and the empire modeled to scale. “Automatically trig-gered weapons even guarded the many riches housed at the site.VERB TENSE  The tense of a verbmust be consistent throughoutsentences and paragraphs. Circlean example of an error in verbtense that the student fixed.SINGULAR AND PLURALNOUNS  Double-check that youhave used singular and pluralnouns correctly, especially whenthe plural form is irregular.Underline an irregular plural noun.PUNCTUATION  When usingdirect quotations, insert the quota-tion mark at the end of the exactwords used in the source. Fromwhat source did the student getthis quote?vee”88  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 88 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  40. 40. Not only are there a vast number of figures but each ofthe life-size clay warriors is unique, with differentfacialexpressions. Although most of the figures have lost their color, itis obvious that there clothing was brightly colored at the time itwas painted. Clearly, the craftsmen who made these figureswhere devoted to their work and to their emperor. The UNESCOWeb site explains that the statues’, “exceptional technical andqualities artistic” make them major Chinese artworks. Becausepowerful leaders were held in such high regard, it makes sensethat the craftsmanship of the emperor’s burial site would reflectboth majesty and authority. China’s first emperor was honoredin a way unlike any rulers before him, and visitors to the sitetoday must wonder about the leader who could command sucha project. Thousands of year from now, what will people think ofthe way we bury our culture’s leaders?theirSPELLING  Some words areeasy to misspell because thereare other words that sound andlook similar. Explain why thereis the incorrect spelling.PUNCTUATION  Commas belongat the end of introductory phrases.What does a comma tell you to doas you read?PUNCTUATION  Why did thestudent delete the comma before“exceptional technical . . . ”?PARAGRAPH  Paragraphs areused to separate ideas in a text.Why did the student start a newparagraph here?WORD ORDER  Read your sen-tences aloud so that you can hearwhether you have reversed theword order. Circle the words thatthe student reversed.SINGULAR AND PLURALNOUNS  The student added an sto year to make it a plural noun.Circle other plural nouns in thisparagraph.,^sLesson 4  •  Writing Informative Texts 89CC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 89 5/6/13 8:40 AM
  41. 41. Hyphenation and DashesPunctuation marks such as hyphens and dashes can help you communicateyour ideas more clearly. Use a hyphen to join two or more words being used asan adjective before a noun, and with the prefixes ex-, self-, and all-. Look at thechart. The first column shows the original words. The second column showsthem written correctly.Revise the following sentences, inserting hyphens and dashes where appropriate.1. The archaeologist’s conference presented current information about Qin ShiHuang’s terracotta army one of the most impressive finds in the last 50 years.2. The human like quality of the statues completely unique mesmerizes many visitors.Try ItThe enormous burial site of Qin Shi Huang it covers 820,000 square feetincludes many thousands of statues and weapons.The enormous burial site of Qin Shi Huang—it covers 820,000 square feet—includes many thousands of statues and weapons.Mechanics Reviewlife size warriors life-size warriorsreddish brown clay reddish-brown clayUse a dash to indicate emphasis, a summary statement, or clarifyinginformation. For example, read this sentence.This sentence is not correct as it stands. The words “it covers 820,000 squarefeet” represent a sudden change in thought that is different from the rest of thesentence. You should use long dashes called em dashes to set off this information.To show a span of numbers, use a shorter dash called an en dash. For instance,to show the dates 221 to 210 b.c.e., you would write the following: 221–210 b.c.e.Writing AssignmentNow use what you have reviewed to edit your informational text, using the editingchecklist your teacher has provided or one of your own. You may either work onyour computer or on a separate sheet of paper. When you have finished editingyour informative text, you may publish it.90  Lesson 4  •  Writing Informative TextsCC13_ELA_L2C_U2_L4_SE 90 5/6/13 8:40 AM