Content-Area Literacy

C3WP Mini-Units


Mini-units are:

  • designed to build capacity for students’ argument writing over time
  • focused on one or two skills in argument writing
  • intended to build on routine argument writing and lead towards extended research argument
  • limited in duration, usually from 4-6 class periods

Mini-units help students:

  • curate information
  • participate in conversations that matter
  • understand multiple points of view
  • use evidence from nonfiction sources
  • take reasonable stands and seek thoughtful action

How to use the chart of resources:

  • This charts assists teachers in selecting and sequencing mini-units based on specific instructional goals. Each mini-unit focuses on a specific set of skills identified by the title. Because each unit is focused on a different area of emphasis, the unit set provides multiple entry points to develop and stretch student skills with argument. The charts are organized from left to right, beginning with a focus on the area of emphasis and argument skills in each mini-unit. The last column in the chart provides a sample text set. While the texts have been carefully chosen, if you would like to create another, see the guide to Creating Text Sets.
  • The charts are not meant to suggest that a teacher should move from top to bottom through the sequence of mini-units, but rather that the selection and sequencing of mini-units can depend upon a variety of factors such as students’ experience with entering skills, area of emphasis, written product, student engagement, or need to reteach or go deeper into an area of emphasis.
  • One primary function of these charts is to identify Next Steps based on a needs assessment, the Using Sources Tool, or another protocol for looking at student work.
  • Definitions of Key Terms:
    • Entering Skills: Skills that students should have experience with prior to beginning the mini-unit.
    • Foundational Skills: Essential skills that are transferable across argumentative tasks and that are likely to be circled back upon multiple times over the course of a year or years.
    • Going Deeper: More complex and nuanced skills that take the Foundational Skills to the next level.

View the Chart of C3WP Resources