Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 10: Making Evidence-Based Claims about Literary Technique – Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost

Rating: Five apple rating


Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from text.

RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail 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.

RL.9-10.4 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail 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.

RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.


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.

W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.9-10.9 (a) Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

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.

Description of Unit

This Grade 10 unit titled, “Making Evidence-Based Claims about Literary Technique – Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost” from odelleducation.com is part of a developing core proficiencies literary program. This unit is intended to be completed in 6-14 sessions of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy with a primary instructional focus on making evidence-based claims (EBCs) as both readers and writers. From the first activity on, students are introduced to and then use a set of criteria that describes the characteristics of an EBC. Using the selected poem, in pair work and class discussions, students use the first five of these criteria to discuss and evaluate EBCs made by the teacher and their peers. Later in the unit, students learn about and use six additional criteria for writing claims about another poem. As the culminating activity, students are given a choice of options to write and develop EBCs that look more globally at the works they have studied, the authorial choices and techniques they have analyzed, and the meanings they have derived. They are encouraged to emphasize analysis of craft and expected to reference specific textual evidence. However, they are allowed to make claims about what they have come to understand from the texts and the various meanings they have found in them - which may take some students into claims that are more thematic in nature.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that extensive teacher notes and preparation materials require familiarity to be used effectively. Due to the rigor required for student success, additional supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. On page 3 of the unit document, one of the targeted standards is mislabeled; it should be W.9-10.9(a) as it is in the rest of the unit. On page 25 of the unit document, the descriptors for the targeted standards are listed at the wrong grade-level band for this unit. The standards listed above are accurate.

Rationale for Selection

The design of this unit is exemplary. Instruction pushes students beyond general thematic understanding of texts into deep engagement with textual content and authorial craft. It includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time as it gradually removes supports and requires students to demonstrate their independent capacities.  In addition to reading and writing, it incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans tools, and checklists, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials. Varied modes of assessment provide direct, observable evidence for interpreting student performance. The unit parts can be taught as short stand-alone units to introduce or develop key student proficiencies. Teachers can also integrate them into larger modules that build up to and around these proficiencies, or apply the activity sequences and unit materials to different texts and topics.