Using Unit Plans

teacher using a mind map to create a curriculum map


I used this lesson during our creative writing unit in October. I chose this lesson because I am always looking for creative ways to keep teenagers engaged in my lesson content. I use a reward system so when we are learning vocabulary or specifics about grammar and sentence structure it is all business and they are working in their notebooks and receiving explicit feedback.


This lesson series is at the end of the creative writing unit where we can have some fun and play. My students expect this style from me where I start with high skills and intensive work and feedback (Levels 1-3 with Bloom’s Taxonomy) and then more relaxed and fun activities for creating their own work (Level 6 Bloom’s Taxonomy). I found this style works well for them to maintain attention on the lesson work to meet the learning outcomes.

My Approach to Classroom Management with Teenagers

Generally speaking, I take a conversational approach with my high school students for two reasons. First, I like to give them the opportunity to practice the English they already know along with what we have learned in previous lessons because I feel this helps them to trust the process of reaching higher-level English use each class. The second reason is rapport. My class has 24 students and they all like to have a lot of fun. When one makes a joke or comment the others respond and it becomes a runaway train very quickly. By using conversation, I can facilitate the flow of the discussions to ensure we are focused and on task for each lesson.

Types of Formative Assessment

For my lessons use formative assessment in basic pen and pencil testing to assess the memory of the elements of a creative writing piece, as well as assess the structure of the process. I use a blend of multiple-choice questions to assess the language used in the lessons (theme, setting, characters, conflict, and plot). Then I use matching and pairing questions, along with putting content in order, for how to organize a creative writing outline. I will also quiz them about the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action (denouement), and conclusion in stories and ask them to write short examples in fill-in-sentence format. Another quiz at the end of the unit includes asking them to read a short story where I have organized the paragraphs out of order they arrange the paragraphs in the correct order.

Student Engagement in the Assessment Process

For all my tests and exams I currently do in class, I ask my student to grade them with me, we review their responses and discuss any questions they have then I take them back and review their comments and register their grades. I will use the same structure for grading with these assessments as it works to reinforce learning, provides opportunities for students to see what they did incorrectly as well as correctly, and gives them responsibility to take ownership of their own learning. 

Unit Plan Template 

Unit Name:  Roll-a-Story

Subject and Grade Level:  Writing Grade 10

Standard: 1) Explain the elements of creative writing.2) Develop a topic for creative writing.3) Develop a storyboard for creative writing.4) Create a video demonstration of creative writing work.

Overarching Goals: What would you expect for mastery? 

SS will create visual content, plot, theme, and story for creative writing.

Objectives: Identify the objectives for the unit and a table that shows 21st Century skills addressed. Use the objectives that you created in Unit 1.

Objective21st Century Skills Addressed
To explain the 5 elements of a story (setting, characters, conflict, plot, and theme).​Creative Thinking
To develop a plot for a story.Writing
To create a storyboard for creative writing.Writing
To create a video presentation of story with visuals. Media Literacy

Prerequisite Skills: What skills do students need to have before beginning this unit?

Reading English short stories and fairytales.

Reading Comprehension.

Grammatical structures for English writing. 

Summative Assessment: What evidence or project will students submit to demonstrate that they have met the standard and objectives? How will you assess these products? How will you differentiate the assessments based on varying reading levels of students?

PBL Assessment- At the end of the unit SS will create a video presentation using Splicer that includes their audio, written content, and visual aids for their creative writing project. 

Formative Assessment: How will you monitor and track student progress? 

A Rubric will be used to evaluate the development of their story and project. 

Each lesson will have short quizzes to assess:1) Lesson 1: memory of the elements of a creative writing piece, as well as assess them on the structure of the process. 2) Lesson 3: multiple choice questions to assess the language used in the lessons (theme, setting, characters, conflict, and plot). 3) Lesson 4: matching and pairing questions, along with putting content in order, for how to organize a creative writing outline. 4) Lesson 5: short answer about the introduction, rising actin, climax, falling action (denouement), and conclusion in stories and ask them to write short examples in fill in the sentence format. 5) Lesson 6: quiz at the end of the unit will be to ask them to read a short story where I have organized the paragraphs out of order and ask them to put the paragraphs in correct order.

Lessons: What are the lessons that you will teach for this unit? How will you sequence the lessons that you will teach for this unit? Will your lessons be goal oriented, theme-based, or project-based? What strategies will you use to teach vocabulary to students of varying reading levels? Mention any other literacy skill covered in a lesson. What follows this unit?

1. Lesson 1- Elements of a Short Story (My Guided Notes)

Students will compete the following notes in their handout while Teacher presents a powerpoint presentation with examples for each section: Setting, Characters, Conflict, Plot, and Theme)

Students will discuss ‘An Example would be….’ in think-pair-share (t-p-s) and present their examples to the class in review discussion following t-p-s.2. Lesson 2- Roll- a- Story!

Students will work in pairs do roll the dice and create their Character, Setting and Conflict and share their results in Padlet. 

The class will debrief the results in Padlet together with the Padlet displayed for the class on the overhead projector from the Teacher’s device. 

3. Lesson 3- Roll-a- Story Planning Sheet

Students will complete the handout, using the Padlet on display from last class. 

Students will t-p-s for The Plot and choose a Theme for their story. They will also mindmap possibleevents and endings for their story to get their ideas written down for next class.

Students will debrief with the Teacher and class to discuss the Theme they have chosen. 4. Lesson 4- Write

Students will take the information they have gathered and write their stories on two lined sheets of paper. They will include their Story Title, Name and Date.5. Lesson 5- StoryBoard and Visual Presentation

Students will take their stories and create visual aids through drawing, painting, visual media, or playdough. They will then capture images of their visual aids and upload into the Splicer app. They will then create an audio clip of them reading their story and add it to Splicer to create a video presentation of their story.

Differentiating Instruction: How will you differentiate the product, content, and/or process for the various needs, preferences and readiness levels of your students? How will you differentiate the lesson for students with varying reading levels, disabilities and English language learners?

Students will have opportunities for feedback with each other during discussions and t-p-s as well as feedback from the teacher with the rubric used and hands on discussion between student and teacher. 

Next Steps: What will you do after the unit? Review, re-teach, extend, or move to the next unit?

The video created will be shared on our classroom portfolio page on Little Red Book social media for others to see. 

Personal Reflection: What key concepts from the readings in this unit did you consider and operationalize in your content-based approach?

The unit readings provided context for my understanding around content based instruction. I like how what we have learned so far has been around taking a student centred approach and content based instruction. For me this means having content in my lessons that are relevant to my students’ experience that is engaging and meaningful. 

This one quote resonated with me because of the point the author makes about students interacting with the new language:

‘When a student learns, they must process information and respond to it appropriately. To help your students to learn a new language, you need them to not only understand the theoretical concepts of language, but also interact with it. To achieve this, ESL instructors need to take great care in the ways they communicate new ideas.’

Chou, 2018

Interacting with a new language is important as it helps to build experiences for the learner. It also helps provide opportunities for building comprehension and proficiency in language development. Finding the right fit for comprehensible input is dependant on our learner profiles and our own understanding of what will connect with the students to promote engagement and meaningful experiences. 

Explain how these concepts will be put into practice.

I enjoyed reading how including content that is challenging and a level above what the learner already knows helps to progress the learner to proficiency in language development. 

‘Comprehensible input doesn’t mean that the input contains words and phrases the students already know. Rather, comprehensible input seeks to effectively integrate new and unknown linguistic data (words and phrases) with familiar ones to make the received input just a bit more difficult.’


This quote resonated with me because I use synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms with my high school students when we are working on vocabulary. I also provide them opportunities to practice all four aspects of the vocabulary and we discuss the difference between formal and informal language use. For example, a student may make a statement with a new vocabulary word in the context of talking to a superior or someone in authority. I would provide feedback to the student about the appropriateness of their statement in the context presented. Then, we would practice this idea with me asking them to use a vocabulary word when talking with friends and then the same word when talking with a teacher or elder. I find this teaching strategy for vocabulary helps to provide students with real world examples of how to use the language we are discussing, as well as providing a level up for comprehension and different options of vocabulary words they can choose from when making their statements.

What choices did you make in selecting and embedding this resource/tool?

As previously discussed, the technology is limited in my classrooms. However, I am doing more research over the summer and in particular around VoiceThread, Padlet, and 小红书 (Little Red Book-LBL) which is a Chinese app for social media. 

VoiceThread and Padlet will be used in class for projects development around debate, discussion, news media, novel studies, and film studies. 

LBL is a platform that captures what we would do on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It will provide opportunities for students to publish their progress in language proficiency to the social media world in China. We will use LBL to celebrate student successes and the growing edges of their English language learning. By using LBL as a goal for their learning and having completed summative and formative assessments prior to posting on LBL, they can work on their projects in class motivated to provide meaningful information to their followers. I decided to create a class profile and use this platform because of the cultural context of my students and their desire to share their progress and provide learning for others who are following on Chinese social media.

Further Reading

Principles and Practice in Second Language Teaching

Guiding Principles for Dual Language Teaching

Content Instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs)

8 Keys for Bringing Comprehensible Input into Teaching ELLs

Teaching Strategies Archives


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Chou, E. (2018, August 5). 8 Keys for Bringing Comprehensible Input into Your ESL Classroom. FluentU English Educator Blog.

hhawes. (2015, February 9). Content Instruction for ELLs. Colorín Colorado; Colorín Colorado.

Published by suzannemarie

Educator and published author of conflict management and children's books. Living life to its fullest. I believe in courageously honouring my truth and living my legacy. Lover of meaningful conversations, coffee, food, art, and building connections. I love writing about my fascination with culture, food, adventure, self-love, and living a healthy and fulfilled life!

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