As you consider how to teach RI.6 in middle school ELA, take into consideration some of these learning targets, resources, and activities.
Author’s purpose! With the way that information is shared and spreads these days, being able to determine the author’s purpose for a text or message is more important now than ever!
The first thing that comes to mind as I start to write on this standard is political commercials and how each candidate or each group (on a candidate’s behalf) so clearly has a purpose or goal with their messages. By the pieces of information they choose to share or the pieces of information they choose to omit, we can see very clearly where they stand and what they want from us as a viewer.
As we begin to consider the author’s purpose within the context of informational texts, it is important to remember that every piece of information should be inspected thoroughly. From the sources they use to the information they choose to use or even the context of their original quotations and citations! All of these pieces make up the full message and get us closer to understanding what it is the author wants us to do with this information.
As we start talking about how to teach RI.6 in middle school, let’s start by breaking the standards down into learning targets!
By focusing on learning targets, we can model our lessons to hit very specific goals and skills. In this post, we talk about how we break down each standard and make a plan for learning, practicing, and reviewing the standards throughout the year using the checklists below.
Here are the learning targets on which we developed our resources for RI.6.
7th Grade Standard: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes their position from that of others.
7th Grade Learning Targets
- I can determine an author’s point of view/purpose in a text.
- I can identify how the author’s point of view/purpose is different from others.
- I can evaluate how the author distinguishes their position from that of others.
8th Grade Standard: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
8th Grade Learning Targets
- I can determine the author’s point of view and purpose in a text.
- I can analyze the author’s development of their point of view and the purpose of the text.
- I can examine how the author evaluates and responds to counterarguments (counterclaim & rebuttal).
Growing through Middle School
As students move through middle school, this standard starts to consider how one author’s point of view, argument, or statement compares to others within the same genre or topic.
In 7th grade, students are asked to identify how an author of one text tries to distinguish their ideas from others, but in 8th grade, students need to be able to identify how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or points.
In both of these grade levels, we are looking at how the author is dealing with points that don’t necessarily agree fully with their own ideas.
The Power of Opposing Views
This standard really dives into the concept of opposing views and how authors deal with opposing views within their work.
To practice this, a teacher can pick a text for students to work from, but you’ll want to make sure to give students time to consider and find opposing views to that text.
In our resources, we encourage students to chart out the opposing views by lining up (in a chart) the details and main points of the first text they were working from and then adding across the chart other views or claims from other sources that counter or support those initial claims.
What students are likely to find is that sometimes authors disagree on some points, but not necessarily all points. We also want to pay attention as to whether or not the author acknowledges the other viewpoint at all or whether they act as if another viewpoint doesn’t even exist.
This can lead to some interesting discussions among students about why they think the author made the choice they made.
Resources for teaching RI.6
When picking resources to help teach RI.6, you’ll want to make sure the resource teaches, practices, and reviews the standard at the appropriate level for the students you’re teaching.
Each of our resources for this standard works through the standard using grade-level-specific passages and activities that help the student develop the standard completely. Click on the links below to take a closer look at each standard.
The resources include all the pieces you would need to complete each unit, including digital files, answer keys, activities, handouts, and so much more!
Activities and Projects for Practicing and Assessing RI.6 in Middle School
Many of the activities for the RI.6 standard have to do with students learning by doing. Rather than just breaking down the writing of others, they are also participants in writing activities that allow them to be the author. Many of the activities and handouts in our 7th grade and 8th grade resources ask students to read a sample and then answer questions about that passage, but we also have some activities (like the ones below) where students are asked to do some writing and creating of their own!
- Writing Reviews: A review often has a very specific opinion that is being presented. Take students through the process of writing a review, and discuss and play around with what might be added in or omitted depending on the goal of the review. This is an activity found in both our 7th-grade and 8th-grade resources.
- Paragraph by Paragraph Breakdown: Consider the purpose of each individual paragraph within a text. Have students read the paragraph and identify the specific purpose that paragraph is serving. This is an activity in our 8th grade resource.
- Job Applications: In our 7th grade resource, we have a project where students write an essay for a job application based on a specific job description. As a part of the project, students have to decide what information needs to be a part of their application and what information they should omit or spin to improve the likelihood of a better outcome.
Ensuring your students understand and master the standards can feel like quite the challenge, but we hope to make it easier with these grade-level, standard-specific resources designed specifically to make teaching to the standards a whole lot easier!