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Penning Change: Elevate Your Writing for a Better Society

March 18 - May 3, 2024


Grades 7



Skills Learned:

Cite text evidence when analyzing a text.
● Provide objective summaries of both informational texts and literature.
● Generate hypotheses on an author’s theme(s).
● Determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary, choosing flexibly from a range of
● Analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
● Strengthen writing by revising, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
● Research Skills
○ Identifying the genre we are working in.
○ Structure of the empathetic autobiographies (similarities and differences with
other genres)
● Language Skills
○ Use of past tense
○ Orientation
○ Record of events/sequence
○ Creating paragraphs
○ Verbs (verb variety)
○ Noun groups
○ Adverbial phrases of time
○ Evaluative language
○ Use of dialogue
○ Use of clause complexes
○ Finite to non-finite clauses
○ Text connectives
○ Reference ties


Classtimes will be coordinated between the Lead Teacher and Teacher Fellow

Session Length:

March 18 - May 3, 2024

Number of Sessions:

2 of 2

This course will be part of an ongoing research study by AIR, in collaboration with CWW, the CERES Institute for Children & Youth at Boston University, and the Rennie Center. The study aims to understand teacher and student experiences in the CWW initiative, including factors influencing effective implementation, and outcomes.


Course Program:

Using systemic functional linguistics (using Dr. Maria Brisk’s approach), students will write
argumentative essays that are guided by nonfiction American Revolution mentor texts
(supplemented by the study of international revolutions as well). Studying all aspects of
functional language in the mentor text and supplemental text, and using common core reading
standards, students will master the development of well-structured arguments/persuasion.
Halfway through the unit, we will create a jointly-constructed argument, and the culminating task
will be an independently-constructed argument answering: What event from the American
Revolution period had the greatest impact on the United States?. The unit will provide
accommodations and modifications for a wide range of moderate disabilities and ELD levels 1-5.

Nakia Navarro.webp


Tommy Simmons

I have been in the classroom for 16 years, primarily in middle school as a humanities teacher. I have taught in Boston, Savannah (Georgia), and Mozambique. I have seen
too many motivated, creative, dedicated teachers leave the profession because they
did not feel supported. This partnership with Campus Without Walls allows me a chance to provide those supports for teachers who want it, hopefully disrupting the
systemic burnout in our profession. I am currently teaching at Mario Umana
Academy and am fully invested in the lifelong benefits of a dual language program.
Metalinguistic awareness and rollerblading are two of my favorite things.

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