Subject(s): Language Arts & Literature

Grade Level: 10

Overview: Students will utilize video processing as a tool for defining an abstract idea/concept in preparation for writing definition essays.

1.02 Respond reflectively to written and visual texts by:
  • relating personal knowledge to textual information or class discussion.
  • showing an awareness of one's own culture as well as the cultures of others.
  • explaining how culture affects personal responses.

1.03 Demonstrate the ability to read, listen to and view a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print expressive texts appropriate to grade level and course literary focus, by:
  • demonstrating comprehension of main idea and supporting details.
  • identifying and analyzing personal, social, historical or cultural influences, contexts, or biases.
  • making connections between works, self and related topics.

6.01 Demonstrate an understanding of conventional written and spoken expression by:
  • employing varying sentence structures and sentence types
  • analyzing choice of words, sentence structure, and use of language.
  • using language effectively to create mood and tone.

6.02 Edit for:
  • subject-verb agreement, tense choice, pronoun usage, clear antecedents, correct case, and complete sentences.
  • appropriate and correct mechanics
  • parallel structure

Materials Needed
  • flip cameras (4-5)
  • small post-it-notes
  • butcher paper or giant post-it-notes
  • markers


Step 1:
  • Students will read the children's book Courage by Bernard Waber and keep a list of all of the different ways that Waber defines courage.
  • Teacher will use this discussion as an introduction to definition writing in preparation for the Grade 10 Writing Assessment.
  • Teacher will explain that definition writing incorporates all of the previously learned formatting skills of essay writing, and the goal is to define an abstract concept without using that concept in the definition. (thesis statements, topic sentences, examples, elaboration, closing sentences, and transitions.)

Step 2:
  • Individually
    • Students will brainstorm and create circle maps that reflect their personal definitions of courage. The inner circle will reflect examples of people or events that reflect courage, and the outer circle will reflect the actual behaviors or traits that define courage based on the examples.
  • Partners
    • Students will share their examples with a partner (students are allowed to add to their own definitions during this process)
    • Students will generate a list of all of the traits identified in their circle maps
  • Groups
    • Students will now collaborate with another pair and complete the same steps that they completed while in partners.
    • Students will write a song that defines courage, but they cannot use the term "courage" in the song
      • Students must include examples that support their definitions.
      • Students will edit for parallelism, appropriate and clear mechanics.
      • Students will edit for clarity and accuracy.
    • Students will perform and use the flip camera to videotape their songs and performances.
    • Students will edit videos.
    • Students will share videos with the class (videos will be assessed using a rubric)
Step 3/Closing
  • Whole Class
    • Students will generate a class circle map that includes the various definitions of courage along with the examples given
  • Individually
    • Students will write a definition essay on the term courage. (Students will be assessed based on the North Carolina Writing Assessment rubric.)

  • Formative
    • goal setting
    • observations
    • self and peer assessment
    • student record keeping
    • rubrics