Problem-Solution Paragraph Writing: A MS English Language Arts Lesson

Title of Lesson:  Diagnose the Problem

Course Name:  English Language Arts

Grade Level:  6th Grade Learning Support

Author’s Name:  Kerri Litz

School District:  Palmyra Area School District

PA Academic Standards for English Language Arts
CC.1.4: Writing
CC.1.4.6.A.  Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information clearly.
CC.1.4.6.F.  Demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

CC.1.5: Speaking and Listening
CC.1.5.6.A.  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, on grade-level topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
PA Academic Standards for Career Education and Work
13.2. Career acquisition (Getting a Job)
13.2.5.A.  Apply appropriate speaking and listening techniques used in conversation.
13.2.5.E.  Apply to daily activities, the essential workplace skills, such as, but not limited to, technical literacy and communication.

13.3. Career Retention and Advancement
13.3.5.C.  Identify effective group interaction strategies, such as, but not limited to, communicating effectively and listening to others.
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Observe an object to identify, analyze and diagnose a problem.
  • Use appropriate speaking and listening skills to present a detailed observation to his/her peers.
  • Edit their own writing.
Instructional Procedure
5 MinutesTeacher Model
  • The teacher models what the students will be doing. The teacher will take a flawed object (preferably something different from what the students have) and show the students what analyzing an object looks like while talking out loud.  
  • The teacher will say things like, “What is the flaw of this object and what solution can I use to solve the problem?”  Teacher will think out loud, “This is a green Expo marker.  I looks a little beat up, some of the prongs are missing on the bottom and the cap looks bent at the top.”  Teacher opens the marker and looks at it then tests it on the board.  The marker barely works.  Teacher says, “So I’m thinking the flaw of this object is that this marker has dried out and might need to be thrown away and replaced with a new one.”
5 MinutesStudent Observations
  • Pass out one object to each person (you could do this in groups as well).
  • The teacher will say, “Please keep silent as you take a look and observe/analyze the object in front of you.”
  • Each student should  pick up the object and analyze, again with no talking.  
5 MinutesIntroduce Graphic Organizer
  • Teacher will pass out the graphic organizer and read each topic to clarify and answer students’ questions.  Students need to write a paragraph describing their object.  Each informational paragraph should include the details from the graphic organizer and have a topic sentence, descriptive details, and a conclusion which should include a solution. Teacher will also pass out the rubric, so the students understand how they are graded on this paragraph.
  • The teacher will remind the students that this lesson needs to be detailed and include specific details about the object.  Students must use CUPS (capitalization, usage, punctuation, spelling) to edit their writing.  See graphic organizer.
10-15 MinutesStudent Writing
  • Students will complete the graphic organizer, based on the observations and analysis of their object. Using the graphic organizer, the students will write a complete paragraph describing the issue/flaw of the object and remind the students that they need to end their paragraphs with solutions to their problems.
10 MinutesSharing Writing
  • Once paragraphs are completed the teacher will call on each student and ask him or her to read his or her paragraph out loud to the class. The students will listen to the paragraph explaining the object’s flaws, determine if an appropriate solution was made, and add any other possible solutions.  
5 MinutesDebrief
  • Students will hand in the paragraph for the teacher to grade (see rubric attached).
  • The teacher will ask, “How will finding a problem, then a solution to the problem help you in the future?” The teacher will listen to the answers, then mention how problem solving is an essential skill in life and at a workplace.  At a workplace, when there is a problem employees must be able to problem solve to find a solution that works best for the problem.
  • For example, a mechanic is brought a car or truck with a problem and they must diagnose the issue.  The computer can only do so much, the mechanic has to determine the correct way to fit the problem and write it up so the customer knows what’s wrong with the car/truck, using terms they will understand.  If you work in a grocery store, sometimes things are open or break and you must complete a write up describing what happened to the product and why it’s not able to be sold.  If you are a doctor, you must be able to describe treatments to the patients and write them down in terms they will understand. Much like the paragraph written describing the problem/flaw of your object, with a solution. Future employers what to be able to rely on their employees to write up problems and come up with solutions to those problems.
  • Teacher will end the class with this question to the students, “Think about any problem that you face today, decide how to solve the problem.”
Formative Assessment
Students will present their write-up to the class by reading it aloud to everyone.  They will then turn in the paragraph be graded using the rubric.
Materials Needed
  • Familiar items that can be found around the classroom, or home, with a flaw (e.g., a pencil with no tip, a pencil without an eraser, a marker that doesn’t work, a chair that wobbles, a tape dispenser with no tape, a matchbox car with a missing wheel, etc.)
  • Paper
  • Writing utensil
  • Rubric (included below)
  • Graphic organizer 
Rubric created with the help of

Download: KLitz_Attachment_1.pdf

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