Friday students turned in their final writing assignment for the semester--an op ed. I’ve started grading them already, and I’m really enjoying them! We worked hard on using different rhetorical strategies to persuade and the students did a great job. Please encourage them to let you read their writing. Students will receive their scores by Wednesday at the absolute latest; in the meantime, they can check their uploaded essays in turnitin.com for my comments. I’m about halfway through so if they don’t see comments yet, they should check back later!
This upcoming week will be dedicated to our final speeches for the year. Students will be giving a persuasive speech about one of the independent novels they read this year. On Friday I gave a sample speech about a book I read. I also gave them a graphic organizer (available for the students on Google Classroom) to help them plan their speeches. Those need to be completed by Monday so that we can spend the entire class period practicing on Monday. Speeches will be given Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
After speeches, we will return to our work with analyzing informational texts for rhetorical strategies. Now that they’ve written their own op-eds, I predict this type of analysis will be easier for them. They will do some in class practice on Friday and Monday and then do the final short answer assessment of their informational text reading on the exam day.
As I have told the students in class, this Thursday will be my final day with them as I have been selected to attended the AP Language and Composition grading conference in Kansas City, Missouri. While they’re happily finishing out their final week of school, I’ll be locked away in a conference center grading thousands of essays!! Luckily, I’ve secured a phenomenal guest teacher for the last week of school. Ms. Gina Mendola is an experienced ELA teacher; she and I have been working together on developing lesson plans that will best help her assist the students with their final prep for the exam.
Please let me know if you have any questions! Students’ grades will be completely up to date by Thursday in MiStar.
Thanks for a great year with your students. I’ve enjoyed working with all of them and hope that I’ll get the chance to work with them in future years at the high school.
Have a great summer! (and READ! please, please...encourage them to read! They can always email me if they need suggestions!)
Students are in the home stretch with their final writing piece--the op ed. I am very happy with the progress many of them have made, and I hope our final week of writing workshop helps the students perfect and polish these pieces!
If you’d like to review the assignment sheet and scoring rubric, please click here. Also, please encourage your students to make use of the short instructional videos I’ve been sharing with them on Google Classroom for the past week.
Developing your counterargument
Organizing your rough draft
Citing your sources and backing up your claims
Improving your word choice
Students need to bring complete, PRINTED drafts of their op-eds to class on Tuesday.
The other thing we’re beginning work on this week is our final speech of the year. Students will be giving a persuasive speech about one of their independent novels from the year. Please click here for the assignment sheet. Students should have a book in mind already that they will use for this assignment, and we will begin drafting those speeches next week as well.
One final, very important thing about this upcoming week: Reading and Books.
On Friday we will have our end of the year reading party to celebrate all the reading we’ve done this year and make plans for the reading we’ll do this summer. I have a list of books I’m planning to read that I’ll share with the students and a list of suggestions I’ve gathered from the staff at the high school. We’ll revisit the reading resolutions we made in December and think about what we need to do to make time to read this summer. And, of course, we’ll read. Hopefully, it will be outside in the sunshine. If you’d be willing, I’ve found that reading parties are always more successful with snacks! We’ll take any donations you’d like to send in with your students. You can sign up here if you’re willing: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f054fa8aa2eaafc1-summer
Also, it’s time for kids to start returning my books!! I am happy to share my collection with them all year, but I always get nervous this time of year when I see how empty my shelves are. I know some of my books are buried under beds or piles of laundry. If you could help me out by reminding them to start bringing those back, I’d appreciate it! And, if someone is in the middle of something and can’t finish it before summer, I’m happy to check it out to them over the summer--I’d just like to know who has what!
Enjoy the long weekend!!
This past week was a little crazy with all of the students in and out for NWEA testing and field trips, but we still managed to get some solid work done on the students’ op-eds. This is their final writing piece for the year and will count toward their final exam grade. It’s very important that students invest a good amount of time and energy into making these their best piece of writing from the year.
We brainstormed topics and I spoke with each student individually; students also worked on a graphic organizer to plan their piece and develop their claims. By Monday, students need a complete rough draft. Many students had enough time in class this past week to get a solid start on their drafts in class, but some students have a little more work to do this weekend. We will spend the upcoming week revising, editing citations, and looking for rhetorical strategies in the drafts. Each student will conference with me one on one at least once this week and should be prepared with questions!
Students who missed classes last week or those who need a refresher of the steps we took in class to work on the rough draft should watch the two guided videos I made last week. The first one helps students figure out what to do with the counterargument to their position. The second gives advice for organizing and beginning writing. Please encourage your students to make use of these videos as they are a good reference as they work on their drafts this weekend.
Video #1: Counterarguments
Video #2: Organizing and beginning writing
Have a great weekend! I’m looking forward to reading those drafts on Monday!
This week we will shift from studying and reading op-eds to writing them. Last week the students practiced a number of strategies last week to help them “read between the lines”:
Your students should be able to show you how to do all these things when reading editorials; it would be great if you could read one together at some point this week! Our goal with all of these strategies is to look closely at the writer’s intended message in order to decide how much we believe it.
This week, as students shift to writing, we’ll work on applying all of those strategies to their own writing. Monday and Tuesday we will brainstorm topics and begin outlining our arguments; by the end of the week, students will have a very rough draft of their op-ed.
We are also beginning NWEA testing this week so students will be missing some classes in small groups to complete their testing. In order to keep them on track, I’m experimenting with some short, videotaped lessons that will be available for the students on Google Classroom starting Wednesday. If all goes as planned, I’ll send the links to those lessons in next week’s blog post as well.
Have a great week!
We will start the week with our final literary analysis annotation assessment. Students did lots and lots of practice in the past two weeks with many different types of texts. We’ve practiced identifying and analyzing instances where an author uses character development, point of view, parallel structure, and manipulation of time to help us better understand the story. On Monday, students will read a new short story independently and annotate to show their understanding of those four elements of an author’s style. This will be a graded assessment and should be in MiStar by the end of the week.
On Tuesday, we will get back to our study of rhetoric and the different tools writers use to persuade their audiences. Last week we studied one op-ed in depth; this week we will look at a number of different op-eds and identify the different strategies the writers use. With each piece we read, we’ll look for logos (appeals to logic), pathos (appeals to emotion), and ethos (appeals to credibility). The goal is for students to recognize the different ways a writer is attempting to persuade, evaluate how effective those tools are, and then decide how persuaded they are by the claims made in the piece. There isn’t a “correct” opinion for the students to have about the pieces we read; rather, I want them to be able to justify whatever opinion they have. I’m looking forward to some great discussions about the pieces we read this week!
Their analysis of these pieces and their ability to evaluate the different elements of logos, pathos and ethos will be assessed throughout the week with various practice assessments. Students will answer short answer questions and work in groups to identify and evaluate the different elements. After we’ve practiced this week, we’ll have an assessment next week that “counts”. Look for practice (4/3/2/1) scores to start appearing in MiStar this week.
Finally, students should still be reading an independent novel, and they should begin thinking about which independent novel they will use for their final speech presentation. Students will do a persuasive presentation the final week of school about an independent novel they’ve read this year. They’ll use the three rhetorical appeals--logos, pathos, and ethos--to persuade their audience either to read (or not read!) the book.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
Just a brief update this week! I'm battling some painful carpal tunnel and trying to avoid typing as much as possible!
Last week we finished Of Mice and Men and our practice with identifying an author’s purpose regarding parallel structure, manipulation of time, character development, and point of view. Over the weekend, students practiced on their own with a portion of Steinbeck’s short story “Flight.” We will finish that practice on Monday in class and you will see practice scores in MiStar by Monday afternoon. Depending on how the practice goes, we will either do the “counted” assessment on Tuesday or Wednesday. I want to wait and see how much extra practice they need!
In the second half of the week we will shift back to nonfiction reading and we will begin examining Op-eds and author’s purpose in that type of writing. Specifically, we will be looking at different tools of persuasion and the way an author employs classic rhetorical strategies--ethos, pathos and logos--to convince an audience.
Enjoy your week!
Last week we started our final unit and I’m happy to say that (I think) the kids are enjoying John Steinbeck and Of Mice and Men so far. I told them it’s one of my all time favorite books, so perhaps they’re just humoring me, but they seem pretty invested in the characters already. Ask them to tell you about it!
We are using Of Mice and Men to work on our first unit goal--reading literature to recognize the impact of the author’s choices on the text. Specifically, we’re looking at how the author uses point of view, parallel structure, character development and manipulation of time. We’ve been reading and discussing these things together. This week students will start doing some independent annotations to show me what they can do on their own. After we’ve practiced a few times--watch MiStar for practice scores--we will do a graded assessment with a new short story by Steinbeck.
Please click here to see our unit 4 learning goals. After OM&M we will transition into examining rhetoric and writing op-eds to practice our argumentative and informative writing skills at the same time. We’ll end the semester with one last speech--this time each student will speak about one of the independent novels he or she has read this year. More on all of that in later weeks! In the meantime, have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine!
We survived testing week and, hopefully, things will start to go back to normal this week. Students are finishing up their final in class essays at the beginning of the week and then we will begin our final unit--Author’s Style--in the second part of the week.
Unit 4 is dedicated to revisiting, refining, and deepening our understanding of the skills we’ve been working on all year: analyzing literature, analyzing nonfiction writing, argumentative and research based writing, language variety, and public speaking. We will do all of that by considering the choices an author makes when he or she writes a piece. First we’ll study some classic stories by John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men and a number of short stories). We will examine his style as our model and use that to consider the choices we make in our writing.
Assessments will run much like they did in the last unit: lots of practice with feedback followed by a final assessment of each individual skill that “counts.” Next week I’ll share the unit learning goals with you and give a brief overview of the unit assessments.
Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!
Welcome back from spring break and welcome to crazy testing week! In case your student hasn’t shared this week’s schedule with you, here it is:
Monday: Normal school day
Tuesday: PSAT 10 testing + parent teacher conferences in the evening from 5-8pm
Wednesday: late start in the morning; periods 1-3 beginning at 11am
Thursday: Normal school day
Friday: Half day; periods 4-6
Don’t worry; we have lots of important things we will do despite the crazy schedule!
Monday will be dedicated to finishing up social norms speeches and refocusing on our final unit learning goal: argumentative writing. Students will receive their practice essays back with three scores on them. All of these are formative (practice!) scores only and are intended to help the students see where their skills are right now. They received a score for their Focus, Organization, and Use of Evidence. All of these scores are recorded as 4/3/2/1 and checked as “not graded” in MiStar. We will look at a sample high scoring essay and students will compare their essays to the sample. What went well? Where do they need additional help?
Thursday we will continue our work with the essays and students will be working in small groups based on the skill level they demonstrated with the practice essay. Some students will be working on improving one or more of the three skills (focus, organization, or evidence) and some students will be working on pushing their writing to the next level with some additional challenges.
Friday students will take a second stab at the timed, argumentative essay. This essay score will count! If, prior to Friday, students feel like they need extra help, they are welcome to come see me for some extra feedback. I will be available every day this week before school and Wednesday and Thursday after school. Students need to let me know they are coming in so that I can plan appropriately!
Hopefully I will see many of you Tuesday night at conferences! I encourage you to look over your student’s MiStar progress with your student prior to Tuesday. They should be able to give you a good idea of how they’ve been doing with practice work vs. assessments.
Have a great week!
We have been hard at work wrapping up loose ends in ELA 10 last week, and we will continue that this week. If you have been watching MiStar, you’ll notice that in addition to all the practice assignments, some of the final (counted) assessments for the unit have now been entered. Students have received scores for assessments measuring the following three learning goals:
There are the two remaining learning goals for the unit:
I hope this breakdown helps you understand where your student stands with his or her grade at this point in the card marking. On Monday this week, I’ll be giving the students printouts of their current grades along with some reflection questions that ask them to think about how well they’ve engaged with the practice activities this unit. For many students, I have been happy to see them embracing the formative, practice assessment even though they don’t “count”. Now that we are getting to the scored assessments, those students are very happy with their results. Some students have struggled with pushing themselves to engage in practice and they are less pleased with their scores right now. I’m hopeful that reflecting on the effort they’ve put forth will help them set some goals for the remainder of the unit and the year.
I’m off to go fill some Easter baskets! I hope you have a wonderful Easter if you celebrate it this weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire