Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12

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Summary of Main Points and Arguments

The primary reading for the class is Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12, Preparing Students for College, Career, and Workforce Demands, Chapter 7, by Zygouris-Coe (2015).

It is essential for a teacher to set clear goals for each part of the topic when building a formal Lesson Plan. Such preparation by a teacher is core to creating a thorough process of teaching students the information that is most useful and interesting to know. Ensuring a lesson is constructed according to established norms and standards is very important. Additionally, a formal lesson plan and classroom strategy are developed for the time allotted. For example, a 45-minute class may not be enough for a comprehensive presentation, an individual approach to every student, implementing each of the common types of activities, or testing any form of students’ understanding. However, neglecting the components of a lesson plan will adversely impact learning outcomes. Therefore, success depends on the focus, the allotted time frame, appropriate activities, and assessments of the student’s knowledge.

Components of the formal plan include:

  • Question-answering, in which a student answers the questions posed and is given feedback afterward (Zygouris-Coe, 2015, p. 223).
  • Cooperative learning is a practice in which readers contribute to the knowledge of each other in the context of reading.
  • The need for summarization, as a comprehension strategy that enables identifying of the main ideas and integration of others, is intended to be addressed during this lesson connecting it to CCSS standards.

Independent reading assignments are essential to expose students to a variety of content, structures, and genres while developing fluency skills. Comprehension is built through text by involving a reader in the process of paying attention to how its written, its meaning, and its purpose (Zygouris-Coe, 2015, p. 227). Discipline-specific comprehension instructions also need to assess the student’s understanding of the content. Testing is one common approach to evaluate a learner’s individual performance and measure the knowledge obtained. It also allows the teacher to provide important and detailed feedback to the student. Finally, it is important for teachers to identify a point-of-view strategy for students so that they are best equipped to examine and interpret assignment text. Independent reading teaches students to appreciate historical perspectives.

Practice is the most time-consuming and useful part because the entire lesson is built around engaging students to master their skills and apply the knowledge they have obtained. For instance, two short exercises can materially increase a student’s abilities. Finally, it is recommended to use both group and individual activities to promote and enhance independent thinking as well as work in teams, which also helps build collaborative student relationships.

An Explanation of Discussion Strategy

Based on Chapter 7 of Zygouris-Coe’s book, we suggest the following strategy for a Social Studies/History class.

  • Independent reading
    • Based on provisions of disciplinary literacy and CCSS standard, reading is intended to boost expert thinking (Zygouris-Coe, 2015, p. 37).
    • It includes identifying multiple points of view and providing evidence that supports their view
  • Practice stage
    • Based on the reading, each student will complete a Fact vs. Opinion worksheet. This is intended to increase the student’s understanding of the lesson.
  • Discussion strategy
    • A student break-out group activity designed to think through a complicated question that American politicians had to make in the past.
      • It addresses such standards and crucial skills for grades 9-10 students by requiring them to present logical arguments and learn and evaluate complex information and ideas in small group and whole-class settings.
      • This activity also teaches students to apply ways of thinking to real-world problems by asking asks them to find sound solutions for a past challenge (Zygouris-Coe, 2015, p. 32).
      • Based on the size of the class, we would split the class into two groups.

A Formal Lesson Plan

Addressed Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.10: By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.8: Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5: Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas (English Language Arts Standards: History/Social Studies Grade 9-10, n.d., para. 2, para. 5, para. 8, para. 9).


The following materials are to be used during the lesson:

  • Laptop
  • Checklists/forms for feedback

Introduction and Objectives

  • We will welcome the students and share our topic for the days lessons is “Americans and the Holocaust.”
  • To set the context for the lesson, we would share the following quote from the 10 Facts About the Holocaust, Ethnic Cleansing and Race in World War Two:
    • “The plow is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for the generations to come” (Parkin, 2018, para. 3).
  • We will share the 3 three main objectives for the days lesson:
    • To understand the impact of World War I with relation to World War II.
    • To discover about Lend-Lease Act.
    • To discuss the rationale for the US to participate in World War II.

Students are told that they will watch the presentation and have independent reading. The exercises they are expected to participate in this lesson will be individual Fact vs. Opinion strategy form filling and roundtable.

At this stage, we provide each learner with a paper with a teacher-generated checklist for evaluating each part of the lesson. Introduction, warm-up, presentation, practice, assessment, and three objectives will have boxes where students can mark the level of satisfaction with their expectations from the lesson meeting. At the bottom of the page will be empty fields for commenting and proposing improvements. Learners are asked to fill out the checklists during the lesson or at the end of it. They are welcome to write down their opination and recommendations for further improvements.

Length of the Parts of the Lesson

Considering that the time frame is strictly limited to 45 minutes, it is possible to stick to the further distribution:

  • Formal lesson plan – 45 minutes.
  • Introduction and objectives – 5 minutes.
  • Warm up – 5 minutes.
  • Presentation – 10 minutes.
  • Practice – 15 minutes.
  • Assessment– 10 minutes.


The second part of the lesson implies checking homework or answering questions that might arise from students. We ask students about questions that were raised during the homework preparation. It is possible to devote a minute or two to clarify some points for individuals who have found them to be challenging. It is possible to conduct an oral examination of knowledge about the past lesson’s topic by asking the auditory a few questions to evaluate the level of engagement in the discussion. The time available should be added to the section “practice” as it is likely that this activity will be the most time-consuming.


In this part of the lesson, students receive primary information about the topic from two sources. First, we show the presentation about the Holocaust (A Commandant’s View, n.d.), supporting it with comments. During the process, students may ask clarification questions that should be responded to during or after the presentation is over. Then, all the students are given a printed version of the article, which complements the insight into the topic and the Fact vs. Opinion strategy forms. We explained what was expected from the students, and they read the text for the next five minutes.


The first stage of the practice is completing the Fact vs. Opinion strategy form provided by us previously. Based on the Discipline-Specific Comprehension Instruction by Zygouris-Coe (2015), it is possible to outline further examples of questions:

  • List 3-5 top facts from the reading.
  • What evidence does the author provide to support statements made?
  • What opinions are present in the reading?
  • Did facts support the opinion? (p. 272)

The length of this part of the practice is limited to 5 minutes, so only a few questions can be asked to enhance thinking and evaluate the degree of comprehension as per the mentioned above standards.

During the roundtable, one of two teams can be formed based on the number of students. There are two options to consider for the success of the activity. First, each learner may argue for his own point of view about the decision that should have been made, providing rationale and supporting with reasons. The second option is letting each of the two teams decide the decision they would argue for. The groups will be given 4 minutes to discuss the preferable choice. The choices between teams should not coincide. Then, the team members will explain their rationale to other participants. Each group will be given another 3 minutes for their presentations. It is expected that rational thinking and abilities for teamwork will be enhanced during the practice, along with the understanding of the topic.


The final stage of the lesson will be devoted to the evaluation of knowledge obtained during the past presentation and practice. The students will complete a comprehensive 10 questions test examining the key points that derive from the topic (A Commandant’s View, n.d.). The time available after all the students finish their work can be devoted to clarification of any points raised during the lesson and filling out the checklists.

The lesson provides three types of blanks that should be examined after the class is over. First, the test sheets are the primary source of information about the level of understanding of the topic of students. Each question answered correctly is marked respectively on the sheet, and the number of right answers is summarized. Test scores are processed in accordance with the routine procedure. The next blank is the Fact vs. Opinion strategy form that was filled in the “practice” stage. It should be examined in another way and potentially is not scored, but rather comments about the level of a particular student’s understanding are to be made. For instance, some learners may need their analytical skills to be improved. Finally, the checklists/forms for feedback are examined to ensure that all the objectives are fully achieved by each learner. The feedback received should be approached with the highest possible attentiveness to improve the outcomes of further lessons.

Addressing the Need for Individualization

During this lesson, the need for individualization is addressed multiple times. First, when the practice participants are allowed to express their point of view freely, that enables them to show their individual approach to the discussion. Then, at the end of the lesson, students are able to ask for clarification in case any is needed. Finally, checklists and feedback gathering ensure that the opinion of every learner is taken into consideration. The Fact vs. Opinion strategy forms can also provide data for each of the students that can be used to enhance their skills by advising one or another approach to improve after the next lesson.


Americans and the Holocaust (n.d.). [PowerPoint slides].

English Language Arts Standards: History/Social Studies Grade 9-10. (2017). Web.

Parkin, S. (2018). 10 Facts About the Holocaust, Ethnic Cleansing and Race in World War Two.Web.

Zygouris-Coe, V. I (2015). Teaching discipline-specific literacies in grades 6–12. Routledge A Commandant’s View. (n.d.).

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ChalkyPapers. (2023, January 31). Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12. Retrieved from https://chalkypapers.com/teaching-discipline-specific-literacies-in-grades-6-12/


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"Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12." ChalkyPapers, 31 Jan. 2023, chalkypapers.com/teaching-discipline-specific-literacies-in-grades-6-12/.


ChalkyPapers. (2023) 'Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12'. 31 January.


ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12." January 31, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/teaching-discipline-specific-literacies-in-grades-6-12/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12." January 31, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/teaching-discipline-specific-literacies-in-grades-6-12/.


ChalkyPapers. "Teaching Discipline-Specific Literacies in Grades 6-12." January 31, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/teaching-discipline-specific-literacies-in-grades-6-12/.