Argumentative Writing “Egg Proj-chick”: A Chick Hatching Unit of Study for Teaching 7th grade Argumentative Writing Skills

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Virginia Tech

This project introduces lessons using animal-assisted education techniques as an approach to reengaging students in the classroom. An informal observation of children who were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) yielded preliminary evidence that the disengaged students began to gain self-control and be more cooperative with others. A more comprehensive examination of this phenomenon seemed to be a worthwhile endeavor, which was the impetus for this project. The animal-centered unit of study designed by the author is the first-known, formal attempt to utilize the beneficial, therapeutic effects of animals in a non-science, academic unit to maximize learning potential. This project is a compilation of lesson plans that can be used in a unit for 7th graders on argumentative writing using chick hatching as the topic. The persuasive writing unit uses a chick-hatching project as the axis around which its lessons revolve. The aim of the unit is to provide a framework around which data pertaining to children’s learning can be collected and analyzed. The Ewing Township District Language Arts Supervisor evaluated the lesson plans and determined that they met Standard W.6.1 in the 2010 Common Core Standards for English Language Arts. It is recommended that research be conducted to determine whether or not there are correlations between the use of animals for academic purposes and the cognitive development of youth.

animal-assisted education, therapeutic animals, literacy, writing, exceptional learners