1:1 Devices

3 Class Periods with ThinkCERCA

This video will guide you through using ThinkCERCA across three sessions.


Session 1

In small groups, ask students to discuss their personal connections to the topic of the Writing Lesson. If you choose to differentiate (recommended), arrange students in groups with classmates who are reading the same passage as them to help facilitate discussion.

Using their devices, have students write a response to the short answer prompt in Step 1. Their answers can be referenced later when writing their formal essay in Step 6.

Next, ask students to read the text individually. Once everyone has read the passage, students could work in small groups to summarize the text paragraph by paragraph (optional).

After reading the text, ask students to complete the five multiple choice items in Step 2 to gauge their reading comprehension. Students can collaborate with peers to discuss why they chose the answers they did before or after submitting their work (optional).

Finally, have your class complete Step 3 of the Writing Lesson before moving on to Session 2. Model for students how to find evidence in the text and set explicit expectations for how much highlighting they should do. For example, ask students to highlight three pieces of aqua evidence and three pieces of pink evidence.

Assign Step 4 of the Writing Lesson (summarizing) as homework. If students are new to summarizing, ask them to use our built-in sentence stems for scaffolded support. Over time, set the expectation that students rely less and less on these stems. This step can be completed with or without technology depending on your students’ at-home technology access.

Session 2

For Session 2, once again, arrange students in small groups by readiness level. Have students discuss with their peers the evidence they found in Step 3, the notes they took, and any questions they may have. You can use this step an opportunity to engage students in one of our Speaking and Listening Routines such as Think-Pair-Share (optional).

Then, have students share the summary that they completed as homework after Session 1 with a partner from across the room. After sharing, students can take 3 to 5 minutes to revise and type their work into the platform under Step 4.

Ask students in small groups or as a class to discuss and debate the Class Discussion Question presented in the Writing Module. Be sure all perspectives are included for a well-rounded discussion. Refer to ThinkCERCA’s Debate Game for step-by-step instructions.

Students should then use the remainder of the time to outline their essay in Step 5 using our Argument Builder tool. Visit each student and provide any scaffolding necessary to help them structure their argument. Encourage students to use our built-in sentence stems if they need help getting started. As a reminder, Direct Instruction lessons on key skills and concepts can be assigned to students who need additional support (optional).

Session 3

When students return to class, ask them to discuss their claims, reasons, evidence, reasoning, and counterarguments in small groups (arranged by readiness level) for 10 to 15 minutes.

Next, ask students to complete Step 6—writing their CERCA essay. Show exemplars and set expectations so students know exactly what you are looking for. Circulate around the room to provide each student with additional support.

After completing a draft of their essay, ask students to do a self- or peer-assessment using our built-in rubric. If any parts of the evaluation criteria are missing, ask them to rework their essay before submitting. Consider giving students additional time at home to rework their essay.