Neighborhood Rubrics

By Alberto Romero, July 5, 2007

Grade Level

  • High School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

Two forty-five minute class periods


In Language Arts class, students utilize grading rubrics to analyze their writing and other work. In this lesson, students will use rubrics to analyze their neighborhood and bridge the gap between concrete and abstract. This lesson will familiarize the students with rubrics so that they can confidently use them in other classes.

National Standards

Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, and people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
Describe and compare how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, government policy, and current values and ideals as they design and build specialized buildings, neighborhoods, shopping centers, urban centers, industrial parks, and the like.
 Common Core Standards

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes1:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Knowledge of Language:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.



Students will:
  • utilize rubrics to grade/rate their home neighborhoods
  • learn about neighborhood design and the maintenance of neighborhoods
  • explore their neighborhood
  • make decisions about what elements of their neighborhood should be celebrated and what may need improvement
  • write a persuasive essay detailing what design changes should be made in their neighborhood and what aspects should stay the same


Google maps


Neighborhood rubric (attached) Writing rubric


Dilapidated Opulent Desolate Disarray Navigable Dismal Manicured Serene Hesitant


  • Pass out copies of the rubric for rating/grading student’s neighborhoods. Each student should have one copy.
  • Review the rubric with the class and make sure all of the students know the vocabulary words and what they will be looking for in their neighborhood. Make sure they understand how to use the rubric.
  • Tell the students that they will be taking a field trip for homework around their own neighborhood. They will use the rubric to analyze what they see and will then draw conclusions about what elements of their neighborhood should be celebrated and what may need improvement. Provide a map of the city with the locations of various neighborhoods including the students’ and teacher’s neighborhoods.
  • For homework, ask students to take a walking tour around their neighborhood using the rubric to grade what they see. Make sure they take notes about what they notice in their neighborhood to present to the class.
  • In class, students should share their rubrics and compare/contrast each neighborhood’s ratings.
  • Brainstorm as a class what the students would want to see improved in their neighborhoods. List any common positive or negative aspects seen throughout the neighborhoods.
  • Then have each student write an essay using their completed neighborhood rubric. They should focus on the positive and negative aspects of their neighborhood, detailing aspects that should be celebrated and changes that should be made. Once they have finished writing their essay, they can use a writing rubric to analyze their writing.
  • Brainstorm as a class various ways that rubrics can be used in the classroom. Make sure that each student understands the rubric as a helpful tool.


Students will participate in a class discussion utilizing their completed neighborhood rubrics. Students will complete an essay utilizing information from their neighborhood rubrics. Students will then utilize writing rubrics to analyze their writing and make improvements in a second draft.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Have the students try to formulate reasons why their neighborhood is different from others. Students should focus on both positive observations and negative ones, thereby making connections to Social Studies via community analysis. This could be done as a personal essay or in a class discussion.

Teacher Reflection

This was a very successful lesson. Students were able to analyze their neighborhoods and compare and contrast their current living conditions. Students were able to complete essays about their neighborhoods of the informative and/or persuasive type. Most importantly, students were able to make connections between their neighborhood rubrics and their writing rubrics and were able to handpick which elements of their writing needed improvements and which area showed strength.

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