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Curriculum: English Language Arts: Research & Technical Writing  [ 110.53(b)(1)]

The Texas Legacy site hosts a variety of educational curricula, lesson plans, keys and ideas, and supporting media, including video, databases, transcripts and other material.  Below you can find the TEKS standards for Research and Technical Writing, section 110.53(b)(1) with relevant activities drawn from this archive.

Goal:  The student develops skills necessary for writing persuasive and informative texts such as essays, reports, proposals, and memoranda:

  

Excerpts of TEKS Text

TexasLegacy.org  Relevance

Suggested Activities

 

(A)  write informative and persuasive texts, including essays, reports, and proposals;

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the narrators in the TexasLegacy.org have found themselves in situations where they need to write persuasively about an environmental problem that concerns them, using the correct format, voice and style, aimed at the appropriate audience, and presented in logical and coherent manner.  Their work can provide a good model for students.

 

Watch the video excerpt from Lou Dubose's interview, to help understand the basic tenet of good essay writing, which, in Thoreau's view, was to simply tell the truth.

 Look at the video excerpts from journalists  Betty Brink and Andy Sansom, to better understand the value of the truth, and at times, the high stakes that truth-telling involves.

Practice what you've learned!  Take Alma Burnam's suggestion, and write a persuasive essay about a conservation-oriented or other civic issue that concerns you, and send it to your political representatives.

 

 

(B)  use the distinguishing characteristics of various written forms such as essays, scientific reports, speeches, and memoranda;

 

 

 

TexasLegacy.org narrators include journalists who write essays, scientists who write technical reports, and politicians and ministers who prepare speeches.  Examples from their work can help students compare and distinguish these different ways of communicating.

 

Look at the video excerpt from novelist John Graves, to help understand the distinction between argumentative writing or propaganda, and more creative forms of literature.

 

 

(C)  write in voice and style appropriate to audience and purpose;

 

The TexasLegacy.org archive includes numerous scientists who must straddle the high-tech world where they do their research, and the broader world where they must operate to explain the value and meaning of their research.                        

 

Consider the challenge for the many scientists in the TexasLegacy.org project who must decide how to describe their work - in the technical terms of a peer-reviewed paper, or in the layman's terms that would be seen in a newspaper or magazine.  If they are overly technical, will they fail to reach part of their audience?  If they are overly "user-friendly", will they be accused of oversimplifying the issues? 

As an example, consider the video excerpt from Dr. Clark Hubbs' interview, where he laments the failure of the lay public to protect the creatures that scientists have found to be most endangered.  How would you write a persuasive article for Dr. Hubbs in a way that would fit the scientific facts, follow the protection purpose, and reach the general voting public?

 

 

(D)  organize ideas in writing to ensure coherence, logical progression, and support for ideas.

 

Many of the TexasLegacy.org narrators are faced with challenges of explaining complicated and technical issues, whether they involve the complexities of ozone formation or the ethical dilemmas of population growth.  They need to be clear, coherent, logical in their writing to convey these ideas.

 

Supporting information is critical to include, especially in a time when many environmental concerns become fraught with accusations of "junk science".  Read the transcript of Roy Malveaux's experience with citizen air pollution monitoring.

Having a logical progression from supporting information is equally important in writing.  The biologist Jim Earhart points out how an essay's executive summary can sometimes fail to lead logically from, and be supported by, the main ideas in the body of the text.

 

 


 
Conservation History Association of Texas
Texas Legacy Project


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2007