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When reporting changes your story


In this lesson challenging them to analyze their work, students will consider how what they’ve gathered through reporting may have changed their thesis.


  • Students will analyze their own writing to determine if their reporting has supported their thesis or if their thesis needs revision.
  • Students will provide constructive criticism about their own work.
  • Students will revise their own work and rewrite as needed.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grades 9–10 here.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.



50 minutes


Student feature materials from previous lessons

Lesson step-by-step

1. Connection — 20 minutes

Sometimes we think we know where a story will take us, but the reporting gives us information we didn’t expect. Today you will take a critical look at your reporting and what it means for your thesis.

On a separate sheet of paper, direct students to answer the following and explain their responses.

Does your initial thesis still stand up now that you’ve done your reporting?

Should it be revised?

What data that you’ve gathered supports that thesis?

After a few minutes of personal response time ask students to explain and defend their responses to the class. Encourage students to provide constructive criticism and ideas.

2. Assignment — 35 minutes

Update your thesis/theme/focus statement and include a list of points that support it. This is not your outline. It’s an analysis of your work to date. Show your outline to the teacher as your exit ticket today (ideally teacher shouldn’t keep these so students may continue their writing at home).


  • Lede
  • Nut graf(s) that establish story and summarize main point
  • Section that establishes context
  • Sections built around like ideas (thread/spine/theme)
  • Anecdotes/scenes that support ideas and continue to reintroduce main character
  • Example to support each main story point
  • Summary of research that supports thesis
  • Personal statement that explains what gaps still remain and how they will be filled.