Reflection: Positive Reinforcement Tinkering as Final Revision - Section 3: Tinkering with Language: A Model


The modeling was the key to the whole lesson.  The students did a very nice job of thinking about word choices and re-phrasing in particular, and I was able to refer back to a number of previous lessons.  One in particular was our memoir unit when we talked about how writers show scenes, then analyze those rather than trying to do both at the same time; if the story is shown well, the reader can interpret.

I also reminded students that while they are a good ways toward finishing this, they aren’t actually doing their applications until the fall—meaning they have time to tinker, or even try another topic.  And, they have the tools to do that well, and I’ll be around in the fall to help them.  This seemed to ease some of the anxiety I could feel with a few students who were still struggling with the topic, wondering if it is the right one.  The first prompt choice on the common application asks students to write about something from their lives that need to be known to get a full picture of them as a person.  This begs for divorce stories and other such family and personal challenges, some of which can actually detract from showing “another side.”  I talked with kids individually about this in the days after this lesson in the library, asking them what it was they wanted the admissions officers to feel about them after reading it.  This question gave entry into talking about how to restructure the essays, or to find a new topic that didn’t seem so sullen.  From a teaching standpoint, this showed how important the transcript analysis lesson was, because it allowed students to see for themselves what an admissions person might see, and allowed for more candid conversations about topics for this essay.

  Modeling A Key to Success
  Positive Reinforcement: Modeling A Key to Success
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Tinkering as Final Revision

Unit 15: Writing the College Essay
Lesson 6 of 6

Objective: SWBAT use their knowledge of syntax and word function to revise their college essays for tone and consistency of topic.

Big Idea: Removing excess words and tinkering with syntax can yield stronger writing.

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