Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Entering Conversations On Algebra II and Literature - Section 3: Mining the First Paragraph


As expected, most of the students immediately had a strong disliking for Francine Prose.  While they picked up on her condescending voice in the first paragraph (“I find myself, each September, increasingly appalled by the dismal lists of texts that my sons are doomed to waste a school year reading, for example), they really took offense at the end of the fifth paragraph when she calls To Kill a Mockingbird a “sentimental, middlebrow favorite” of high school English classes.  They all read that book as freshmen, and all but one of them in the class loved it. 

The work on the first paragraph, I felt, was also a valuable exercise.  Besides the clear tone, we were able to discuss the persona, and determine that her argument will have something to do with how she thinks high school English classes aren’t taught correctly.  Also, students discussed how she thought the audience was, at least in part, parents, because she starts off by writing “like most parents,” trying to identify with the audience.  I feel like this was a good adjustment in teaching them how to closely read a text; I will continue to do this to reinforce the importance.  

Reading out loud and discussing the language also served its purpose of interesting them, and in fact some were already excited that they will get to write a “letter to the editor” in response to it.  I haven't done much of this so far, but I think I will do more of it in the future.

  Analysis of Paragraph One a Good Step
  Adjustments to Practice: Analysis of Paragraph One a Good Step
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Entering Conversations On Algebra II and Literature

Unit 4: Thematic Unit: Education
Lesson 9 of 18

Objective: SWBAT establish ethos of an author by conducting a rhetorical analysis of the first paragraph of an essay.

Big Idea: The first paragraph of an essay is packed with information for understanding the essay as a whole if you take the time to look for it.

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