Happy Hanukkah to all of you that celebrate it! I’m trying to keep homework to a minimum this week for those that have family celebrations going on.
The focus this week is shifting to synthesis and research writing. Last week students were given a list of questions related to our gender unit. They have chosen one (hopefully! If not, they need to choose NOW!) and will spend Monday and Tuesday immersing themselves in the topic in the media center. I say “immersing themselves in the topic” rather than “researching” because it is imperative that students do that rather than simply look for evidence they can cherry-pick to answer the question. Engage your students in conversations about those questions if you can! My hope is that they will consider the complexities of the question they’ve chosen and challenge their preconceived ideas about what they believe the answers to be. Good research requires tons and tons of readings. Lots of students struggle with that because they want to quickly skim/skan and find an “answer”.
After our research Monday and Tuesday, we’ll work on outlines and drafting the essays. As with the last essay, I’ll be encouraging the students to set goals for their writing process and figure out what they need to do to work on these essays over time. Many of them did a pretty good job with that “water buffalo mindset” with the last essays; others need more practice. Students who plan well should be able to finish them prior to break. They are due after break, but I’ll happily accept them before!
Rhetorical analysis essay rewrites are also underway. Those students who have chosen to take a second stab at the unit 2 analysis essay should plan to come see me before school or during AA in the next two weeks for some feedback on their drafts. Those revised essays will be due December 18.
As promised, we started some targeted grammar study last week by looking at semicolons and commas. The kids did well with the small bites of practice I gave them, but grammar and punctuation always need lots of good reinforcement. Encourage your students to review these rules as they begin writing their drafts. For students who would like some extra practice, click here or here for online practice quizzes.
Last thing: The students are getting excited about our New Year’s Eve-themed Reading Resolutions party on December 16. Well, I’m excited and I’m pretty sure they’re humoring me :) If you’d be willing to send in some snacks or drinks, please sign up here. And, if you’re interested in helping me craft a few decorations (I’m working on a photo booth and ball to drop!), shoot me an email!
Have a great week!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire