Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Personally Speaking

Janice Wilkins
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students reflect on the choices they have in society today and compare them to Kit's choices in the novel, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by writing expository essays in which they discuss these choices.


The student uses a prewriting strategy suitable for the task (for example, brainstorming, using a graphic organizer, listing ideas).

The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student uses devices to develop relationships among ideas (for example, transitional devices; paragraphs that show a change in time, idea, or place; cause-and-effect relationships).

The student uses supporting ideas, details, and facts from a variety of sources to develop and elaborate topic.

The student demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject that engages the reader.

The student demonstrates a command of the language (including but not limited to precise word choice, appropriate figurative language).

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, sequencing events, choosing effective words; using specific details to clarify meaning).

The student explains or demonstrates how phrases, sentences, or passages relate to personal life.


-Novel, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND, by Elizabeth George Speare, 1988, McDougell Littell, Inc.
-Chart paper for group lists
-Magic Markers
-Paper, pencils,pen


1. Complete reading of the novel.
2. Teacher obtains copy of FL/FCAT Scoring Rubric found in the latest issue of Florida Writes .
3. Make transparency of Scoring Rubric.
4. Have chart paper and markers ready for each group to use.
5. Florida Writes Book.


BACKGROUND: Students complete the classroom reading of the novel.
Students have had prior introduction and practice in using the FCAT FLWrites! Scoring Rubric.
1. Teacher divides students into small groups of three or four.
2. Teacher supplies chart paper and markers to each group.
3. Students brainstorm about and list the kinds of choices they have in society today, such as in areas of education, behavior, occupation, dress, and the choice of a mate. Also, they should consider and list the cultural factors that might affect their choices in some way and the results of those choices when not sanctioned by society.
4. After students thoroughly discuss items mentioned in #3 above, they individually write an expository essay discussing their conclusions on at least two of the above examples.
5. Students complete essays and read aloud to class if they so choose.
6.Teacher scores essays using the FL/FCAT WRITES! Scoring Rubric.


Students writings are assessed using the FL/FCAT WRITES Rubric.
The rubric can then be converted to a numerical grade for grade reporting purposes. Teachers would use their judgment on this.
See Weblink.


The discussion of personal choices would lead into a discussion of freedom and the importance of obeying authority. Students could further explore their understanding of these concepts by debating one of these statements: Individual freedom is more important than doing things for the good of the community. A person should follow his or her own heart, even if it means disobeying rules or going against the rest of the group.

Web Links

Web supplement for Personally Speaking
FL Writes! Homepage

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.