Artifact Analysis: Daily Lesson Plans

Posted on June 19, 2017


One of the artifacts that has a lot of information in it is the document with my Daily Lesson plans. I make one Google document for each class for each trimester, and I project it on the screen each day, displaying the day’s learning goal, instructions, due dates, and announcements. I haven’t yet, but in the coming school year, I’ve decided that I will post this document in the Google classroom, so that if a student is absent, s/he can see what we did that day. Combined with the individual assignments posted in GClassroom, students will be able to find out what they missed and get it done before they come back.

I had been wondering about the scheduling and pacing of the units, if they are optimal for my classroom. I remember that Nancie Atwell suggests a 3-day Writing Workshop and 2-day Reading Workshop schedule, saying that it’s worked well for her and her students for 40+ years in her talk at MCTE of October 2016. (I couldn’t believe I was finally seeing the teacher who has had the 2nd greatest impact on my career! After 25 years of using her ideas from In the Middle, which was the text for my English Methods class with Cathy Fleischer at EMU, I was able to take a workshop with Nancie! WOW. dscn0171Nancie’s in the photo above, still using an overhead projector, but she said that it was probably the last workshop she’d do with it, since she was learning to use Power Point.) With Nancie’s workshop in mind, I looked at Unit 1 WW to see how it compares with hers. I was pleased to discover that the WW unit moves naturally back and forth between WW and RW:

reading the world,


reading literature as readers,

and reading literature as writers.

By studying mentor texts, students learn the techniques used by published writers and try the techniques in their own writing The mentor texts are well-chosen to demonstrate the text features and author’s choices, but can be replaced by texts of similar quality by teacher choice.

In place of reading logs, my students watch for the writing techniques under examination in class in their at-home books and record examples they find in their notebooks. These examples can be discussed in class, helping students become aware of layers of meaning and practice articulating literary concepts and explaining evidence. By sharing examples from their at-home books, students introduce one another to titles they can put on their Someday Book list. I will also be using Status of the Class next year.

I’ve made a table to look at what texts MAISA suggests and what I’m thinking about using:


Writing Workshop


Reading Workshop Now  

I’m considering…


Notebook writing Cisneros “Eleven” Memoir

“Champion of the World”-Angelou (already in curriculum in a later unit; read as writers now & readers later)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Woodson (Read-aloud & poetry)

Sensory detail Poetry “Skater” or “Tattoo” by Ted Koosier




Woodson (Read-aloud)

Selections from Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander (modeling: “three authors take turns emulating their idols”)

Write about an emotion

Teacher Demo memoir “Righteous Anger”

“The Moustache” by Robert Cormier Fiction

YA Prose ? All American Boys? (Something from my classroom library)

Writing memories “The Bike” by Gary Soto Storycorps?


Reveal characters by describing physical characteristics, behaviors, mannerisms, and dialogue Persepolis?: girls playing with veils at recess in beginning

Zen Pencils?



Key Questions: What story do I find compelling? What moment, what memory holds meaning? What are the sensory details of time and place? Who are the characters and how can you use description to bring them to life for readers?
Draft 1 Key Questions: Mentor text(s)? Genre? Blended genre? Multi-genre? Structures? Features?


Make connections across texts (above)


“The Moustache” by Robert Cormier



Contemporary YA memoir or fiction
Response Group
Notes , Draft 2
Draft 3




As I look at the design of the MAISA units, I can see that they are rooted in authentic literacy practices that maintain voice and choice for students and teachers. I am happy to find that they align quite nicely with Atwell’s suggested workshop schedule.

As I think about the texts in this unit, I want to broaden the genres and subjects of the mentor texts we explore, and now that I understand how we’re reading them, I will locate texts of my own choice from a range of perspectives. Now as I read YA books, I’ll be “auditioning” them to replace the ones here. By choosing texts from YA, I can introduce students to more books from the classroom library. I’d like to include examples of fiction, poetry, graphic, and memoir–to show various ways that narrative can be structured.

“What happens when I make Independent Reading a high priority in my classroom?”

I look for ways to weave together WW and RW through a variety of genres of YA, so that the reading reinforces the writing lessons and the writing reinforces the reading lessons.

I think carefully about scheduling TIME for reading in class AND at home. I talk with students about scheduling reading and about reading “in the margins,” when they have a few minutes to wait–for someone to arrive, for dinner to be ready, for a dentist appointment or haircut…

I schedule time to read and color-mark the in-class texts before I teach them. I study the writing moves that authors make to be able to point them out to my students in mentor texts.

I practice the writing tasks in my Writer’s Notebook.

I write a memoir, share my writing, and discuss my decision-making process with my students.

I find books by the authors in the mentor texts and display them on the chalk tray, so that if the short piece creates an interest in the author, I can put a book by them into the student’s hands.

This is the 6th post in a series on ELA9. The links to earlier posts in the series are below:

#1 Growing Readers–Through READING!

#2 Organizing the Archive for Research

#3 What’s here? What am noticing?

#4 Artifact Analysis: Finished Book Lists 2017

#5 Photo Essay: Artifact Analysis