English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Digital Devices
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Identity
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Challenges of the Digital World

    Challenges of the Digital World


    In this lesson, you will share your experience disconnecting from the digital world, analyze research on the challenges teens face as they try to use their devices responsibly, and learn about writing a strong body paragraph.

    In this lesson, students will share their experiences disconnecting from the digital world, analyze research on the challenges teens face as they try to use their devices responsibly, and learn about writing a strong body paragraph.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Find the article “AT&T Teen Driver Survey Executive Summary” on the AT&T website and share it with your students. If you do not have Internet access in the classroom, you can print and distribute the summary.
    • Compare the Sample Essay to the Unit Accomplishments assignment and the Argument Rubric in advance. Students will apply the rubric to the essay in this lesson, so you should be prepared to clarify your priorities for their writing.
    • Pull some key example sentences from the essay that you think will help students understand the requirements of the assignment and the rubric. You can use these examples to model the process if you feel your students need it.
    • Decide how you will pair students to compare their argument essay scores.
    • Decide how you will provide the Argument Rubric to students so they can apply it to the Sample Essay in Task 3.

    Experiment Results Share

    • Put the students in the same teams you will use for the museum exhibit project.
    • Some students will have difficulty gaining perspective on their own reliance on technology. Since some of them are almost constantly connected, they may have had great difficulty staying disconnected for a sustained period.
    • Others may have had a very easy time disconnecting, since some students don't use social technologies very much or at all. Make sure students all have a chance to have their preconceptions challenged.
    • Choose an appropriate number of responses to require from each student based on your judgment of the time available for the rest of the lesson.
    • Project or display the questions for easier viewing.


    Working with your small group, share your Digital Connection Log from Lesson 2 and the results of your digital disconnection experiment.

    Be sure to make a note of any part of your partners’ experiences that might provide personal evidence for your argument paper. Use these questions to guide your discussion.

    • What ideas about digital connecting do you see in your partners' experiences?
    • What key lessons did your partners draw from this activity?
    • What new perspectives did you learn about from your partners' work?

    Open Notebook

    Survey Analysis

    • This survey can help students gain perspective on the degree of influence the desire to connect can have over their actions. Try to let them realize that organically as they work and guide them where appropriate.
      • SWD: If it works for your students, you can allow students whose reading level is below proficiency level to work with more advanced readers. Or they can focus on a limited number of questions.

    Work Time

    In your museum exhibit teams, read the “AT&T; Teen Driver Survey Executive Summary” together. This survey attempts to isolate the factors that lead teens to engage in texting while they’re driving and offers some potential solutions to lessen the problem. It’s highly relevant to your work on digital culture because the texting and driving problem is a great example of an area in which people’s urge to connect often outweighs their better judgment.

    Discuss the questions below and write down key ideas and insights as needed. For the last two questions, be sure to note a quotation or a piece of data from the survey to support your ideas.

    • What do the words fielded ,survey , andrespondent mean?
    • What are the biggest predictors of whether a teenager will text and drive?
    • What does the survey tell you about the difference between what teens believe about the dangers of texting and driving and what they choose to do when they are actually driving?
    • How do the visual representations of the information in the article help you understand teenagers’ motivations when they make decisions about texting and driving?
    • What does this survey tell you about Digital Natives’ urge to connect constantly with each other?

    Open Notebook

    Argument Essay Scoring

    • Depending on your class's needs, you may want to model a few key concepts from the Unit Accomplishments assignment and the rubric by demonstrating examples from the Sample Essay. Gauge how much support your group will need before engaging in the process themselves.
      • SWD: Make sure students understand the specifics of the rubric and provide concrete examples so students know what to look for.
      • ELL: Sometimes rubrics can contain language that is hard for ELLs to understand. If this is the case, review the rubric and define and explain terms before asking the students to assess the Sample Essay.

    Work Time

    Before you continue writing your essay, be sure you fully understand the requirements of the Unit Accomplishments and the assessment criteria in the Argument Rubric. (You can find the Unit Accomplishment documents in Lesson 3.)

    Your teacher will get you started applying the Argument Rubric to the provided Sample Essay.

    • Score the essay with the rubric. Examine each of the five categories in the rubric and judge how well the essay accomplishes them. For each of the five categories, find one example in which the writer at least attempted to meet the requirements and discuss how well he or she did it.

    Open Notebook

    Essay Score Comparison

    • Let the students compare notes with a partner (if they worked with a partner in the previous task, assign them to a new partner for this task). This activity doesn't need more than a few minutes, but the opportunity to converse should allow students to find out if they're applying the rubric in a useful way.
      • ELL: When ELLs talk with a partner, allow them to use their primary language if they are paired with a student who shares it.
    • This activity also gives you a chance to circulate to see if any students need more support in understanding any of the assessment criteria.

    Work Time

    work time Essay Score Comparison

    Now compare your scoring and your examples to your partner’s. Use the questions below to spark discussion, and take notes for yourself as needed.

    • Did you arrive at identical or similar scores to your partner’s?
    • Where were you and your partner the most similar and most different?
    • Do you feel you have all of the information you need to write the paper successfully? If not, why not?
    • What areas will you need to focus on the most?
    • Do you need any help from your teacher so you have a clear idea of the requirements before you continue to write?

    Open Notebook

    Body Paragraphs

    • Students can begin writing body paragraphs during class if there's time, or you can have them spend more time working with the Unit Accomplishments, Sample Essay, and Argument Rubric and save the first body paragraph for homework.


    It’s time to begin to write body paragraphs.

    Here are some elements of a strong body paragraph for you to consider as you write:

    • The topic sentence acts as a mini-thesis that states the goal of the paragraph.
    • The topic sentence acts as a connection between the main thesis and the claims of the paragraph.
    • Evidence is blended elegantly with a sentence that makes its purpose clear.
    • The claims of the paragraph are clearly based on the evidence, using a valid line of reasoning that your reader can follow.

    Draft your first body paragraph.

    When you have finished, look at your thesis. Now that you’ve examined some specific evidence within your writing, what can you do to make your thesis more specific, challenging, and creative?

    Open Notebook

    Argument Essay Writing

    • Review the main requirements of a good paragraph with the class.


    • Revise your introduction and finish at least one body paragraph by the next lesson.