Lesson Plan Title : This is Critical

Age Range: Grade 9 through Grade 12 (High School Level)

Duration: 45 minutes

Description: This lesson introduces students to critical thinking and writing rather than just summarizing a plot of a piece of writing.


Students will understand the difference between critical writing and thinking vs. summarizing.


Students will use items from a bag to teach students to associate with how they personally feel about precise issues.


One large bag filled with various items- could be candy, cookies, gum, etc.

A chalkboard/dry erase marker board and

dry erase marker

Pencils/pens and paper.


Teacher begins by telling students that what they are going to do is the beginning of response writing. It is assumed that this is a review or an introductory lesson.

However, instead of responding to a written work, explain to the students that for a first activity they are going to respond to something they can physically see, touch, and taste.

Pass the bag around the class and instruct the students to reach in and each take one.

As soon as each student has one instruct the students to write about what just happened. Meaning the bag was passed around the room and each student took a piece of candy, gum or whatever. Give them 3-5 minutes to do this and instruct them to write 3-5 sentences.

Next have each student share his paragraph with the person on their right.

They will notice that their paragraphs sound almost exactly alike. Point this out to them and explain that this is an example of surface writing. It is not very deep and it results in writing being very much the same.

Now ask students to write another paragraph that explains how they personally felt about the process. Tell them this is critical thinking and writing, also known as critical response.

Assessment: Discuss experiences and impersonations of the activity to ensure all students understand the difference between the two writing methods.

Evaluate the paragraphs by reading them to ensure that the students have demonstrated the different writing styles.