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Lesson Plan

Modeling Academic Writing Through Scholarly Article Presentations

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Modeling Academic Writing Through Scholarly Article Presentations

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions, plus additional sessions for continued presentations
Lesson Author

Laura Hennessey DeSena

Sparta, New Jersey


National Council of Teachers of English



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Students prepare an already published scholarly article for presentation, with an emphasis on identification of the author's thesis and argument structure, as well as an examination of source integration (the critic's engagement with primary and secondary source information). The class first analyzes a sample article of literary criticism and discusses how to annotate it for presentation. Each student then uses an online database to access an appropriate article of literary criticism connected to a work of literature they have already read as a class assignment. They analyze the article, and then prepare the article for presentation by highlighting key elements of its structure and content. Finally, they present the article to their peers.

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Guide to Annotating the Scholarly Article: This printout gives detailed instructions for annotating an article of literary criticism.

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Analyzing a published piece of literary criticism supports literacy learning because it is a research task (using a database); it introduces the idea of critical discourse in the field of literature (that many understandings of a masterful work of literature are possible); and it is a review of sound academic argument, highlighting its conventions but also revealing the individual style of the writer. This lesson reinforces the concept that writing is not a template. Students will encounter scholars who prefer first person voice to third, scholars who offer implied thesis statements rather than explicitly stated ones, scholars who bury their thesis within a paragraph of introduction, and scholars who do not restate thesis in conclusion but offer a final provocative thought. Students are encouraged to reflect on how their learning through this process can inform their choices as writers.

Further Reading

DeSena, Laura Hennessey.  2007. Preventing Plagiarism: Tips and Techniques. (Chapter 2). Urbana, IL:  NCTE.

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