Who is to blame?
Lesson 11 of 12
Objective: SWBAT craft an argumentative essay that establishes and proves who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
Today, the students came in knowing that they were going to do a timed writing as their final assessment for Romeo and Juliet. Yesterday, I introduced them to the Writing prompt (which we had been talking about for a while), and students had some time to take notes and come up with a strategy for their argumentative essay.
Basically, the topic was "Whose fault was this tragedy?" This question is not original at all -- I am sure that a million teachers have asked the same question. Though I have taught Romeo and Juliet many times, I have never used this question as a final assessment. This year, I decided to do it because my students were really "into" the topic. There has been a lot of debate and very emotional responses to the events of the play. So, I decided to ride the wave. I also made that choice because I feel confident that my kids have really been immersed in the study of this play, so the additional "motivation" provided by a reading test was not necessary.
So, as I mentioned before, the students came in knowing that they would be writing. They were allowed to use their notes and their books, and I took questions about the essay format/Rubric and also reviewed how they could choose to include a concession (a "formal" concession in paragraph form is not mandated by our county rubric, nor are the students ready for such a demanding assignment.
I circulated while they wrote, just to monitor progress. This is the first "real" timed writing that they have had, and they did a great job. I gave them warnings at 30 minutes and again at 10-15. Everyone finished with no whining (except that their hands hurt -- Yes, this old teacher made them actually write it. How barbaric!)
The results? Overall, the papers were really, really good. Some kids missed the mark because I still have a few who spend WAY too much time summarizing plot and regurgitating our talking points from class. But, for the most part, students took the ball and ran with it.
Here's a really good example. Great argumentative essay: "Tybalt's Chain"