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SCOPE AND SEQUENCE (Week Two): Common Terminology

Jane’s #4 Non-Negotiable: Common Terminology for the Paragraph and Essay Helps Students Learn.

In my years of teaching, I have witnessed the frustration of students who go from one class to another and are required to learn new terminology for the exact same skill. I highly recommend, whether you use Jane Schaffer or not, that you develop a common terminology for writing across-the-curriculum. For those of you who are JSWP aficionados and aficionadas, my recommendation for week two is to present a sentence-by-sentence PowerPoint® presentation like we do in our trainings. In a 50-minute class, I would divide it this way:

Day 1: 15 minutes — Indenting, Topic Sentence, Concrete Detail (Students have a paragraph form. They copy the sentences and take notes about each one – pick it up at the end of the class and check that they are copying correctly and taking notes — put a value on i — if we don’t value it, they won’t — 10 points toward the end of the week formative assessment grade.)

Day 2: 15 minutes — Commentary, Concluding Sentence (Continue with copying and note-taking — 20 points)

Day 3: 15 minutes — Ratio and Chunking (30 points)

Day 4: 15 minutes — The Terms Chart (Have the students highlight each column in the correct color and discuss the sports analogy for play-by-play announcer and color commentator.)

Day 5: 40 minutes — Definitions (20 minutes – Review Activity: Create a carousel around the room; or divide them into groups of four and have them jigsaw Topic Sentence, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Concluding Sentence); 20-minute quiz — 40 points

You notice that I do not do all of it in one day. Writing is about Thinking.  Let me say this again: Writing is about Thinking. Students need some time to internalize these terms. Also, we know that varying activities engages students. So, you wouldn’t want 7-16 year olds taking notes for 40 minutes at a time (Day 1, 2, and 3 above).

However, if you’re asking me, “What will I do the rest of the class?” My answer is to go to a nonfiction article, one that is well-written (published, copyrighted) and has content about which the students will be engaged and 1) Day 1 –Color-code in blue the TS and in red the concrete details; Day 2 — Take the same article and color code the CMs and CS’; Day 3 — Present one to three prompts to the students on a novel or drama they are about to undertake and show them how to decode it into ratios and chunking; Day 4 — Divide the students into cooperative learning groups of CDs and CMs. While you use video to show highlights of a recent television presentation of a national baseball or football game, have the CD students listen and write in red the play-by-play announcements. After the video, let the CD quads (four at at a table) discuss their findings and select the top two to share with the class (If you have ClassFlow or something like it, they can send it to the interactive white board — if not, you or a scribe write it on the board or doc camera; likewise, have the CM students listen and write in green the commentary from the announcers. After the video, let the CM quads discuss their findings a and select their top two to present to the class. You, the facilitator, make sure they understand the difference.


Dr. Deborah E. Louis

Ph.D. in Humanities

Dr. Deborah E. Louis' passion for educational excellence began as a classroom teacher. For sixteen years, Deborah taught On-level, Pre-AP®, and Advanced Placement® English Language Arts to secondary students of diverse ethnicities and learning styles. In 2010, Deborah purchased the Jane Schaffer Writing Program®, and along with her non-profit organization, Center for Educational ReVision (CerV®), her goal and that of her national team of experts is to provide the highest quality professional learning and mentoring to teachers in the areas of writing, advanced academics, high-stakes testing, and educational technology. Through webinars, workshops, job-embedded training, and teaching materials, Deborah strives to ReVision the educational system, combining traditional and flipped approaches to professional learning for teachers of grades K-12; and differentiating for Special Education, English Language Learners, and Gifted and Talented. Although her mission takes her all over the United States and abroad, Deborah lives in Dallas, Texas USA. She loves music, dancing, archetypal psychology, and continuous learning opportunities.

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